Friday, January 25, 2008

Fragrance Rx

A million years ago, intrepid reader poetloverrebelspy left a comment for a post wherein I gifted myself some Lanvin perfume. She wondered aloud what perfume I thought she might like. "How fun!" I thought to myself. "Like an advice column with no real problems to solve...a doctor without a sickness to treat...A matchmaker with no heartbreak!"

So I asked her to email me three likes and dislikes and I would try to come up with some perfumes to try.

Her likes:

semiprecious stones, old photographs, citrus, cinnamon, bergamot

Her dislikes:

leather pants
(on anybody :), loud noises, Plax, heavy floral, chemical fruit scents (grape, apple, raspberry)

With these tidbits of preference I went thinking and smelling about, and came up with three suggestions sure to be winners. Here they are.

1.) Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens

I first learned of Serge Lutens perfumes years ago when I was a student in Paris. I was browsing the best department store in continental Europe and fell into conversation with a sales rep for Lutens's perfumes after smelling a number of paper samples. She had a rather complicated description of how his perfumes are so pure and refined and like silk on your skin, etc. etc. I listened politely and complimented the collection, but of course everything was way too pricey.

If I was a fine-perfume-and-fine-wine collecting type of girl and had a decent job, I would happily pick up something from this line. Whether or not you like a particular scent here, you'd be forced to agree that they are exceptionally well blended and thoughtfully balanced. Furthermore, the bottles are quite elegant, even if the type is slightly too frou-frou.

Assuming, dear Poet, that you are up for a splurge, do try Orange Flowers! It is incredibly warm and enveloping for a citrus scent (a good mix of the cinnamon and citrus you say you like). This perfume also starts out with a floral burst that quickly settles down into the rest of the mix, like with Rumeur. It is feminine without being the least bit cloying, like a perfectly tailored A-line dress. Go and read this lovely review by fellow perfume-loving blog, Perfume and Tea Make Me Happy (me, too!). It might well convince you that this hundred dollar treat for the senses is worth it.

2.) Bulgari's Thé Rouge

This perfume wins major points from me for daring to be different. It's a pretty ballsy little thing, don't be fooled by that delicate leaf decoration on the front of the bottle. Inside is a perplexing and original combination of fragrance notes: Pink Pepper, Orange, Bergamot, Red Tea Accord, Fig Pulp, Walnut, and Musk per Sephora's website. No strong floral overtones here.

I think Poet will like it because it's a little earthy and a lot eccentric, with a splash of bergamot to top it all off. At half the price of Fleurs d'Oranger, it suddenly looks like a bargain, right?

3. Heather by Demeter Fragrance

I. Love. Demeter. Nowhere else can you indulge your perfume whims for such a reasonable price. It's important to know that these perfumes are not the kind that will linger on into the evening; they have an alcohol base that fades quickly. You'll need to reapply somewhat frequently, but on the upside, you'll never reek. And luckily, their bottles are small enough to fit into a normal-sized purse or bag.

When I think semiprecious stones, quiet and old photographs, I think of Yorkshire. The moors, covered in heather. Ever-changing weather, a distant, beloved brooder and a lady's flushed cheeks. Gothic romance, in short! Perhaps you'll want to put a little bit of all that on your wrists.

There you go! By all means, Poet, write back and let me know exactly what you think of these perfumes if you decide to give them a sniff!

I'd be happy to do other prescriptions: just drop me a line with three of your likes and dislikes at


poetloverrebelspy said...

Oooh, I'm excited. I think the biggest challenge will be to find these scents somewhere in Berlin. Any suggestions on that? It appears that the Serge Lutens perfumes are especially difficult to find . . .

I was clicking around on the Demeter site and wonder why you didn't recommend Earl Grey directly, or if you've ever smelled Ginger Ale? If it's not too sweet, I can imagine I would really like that one.

And have you ever made it anywhere that sells those CB I Hate Perfume fragrances?

I will be certain to let you know what I think if/when I find these to try! Thanks Natasha!

Natasha said...

Hi P,

Douglas will have the Bulgari perfume. For the Lutens, try Wertheim on Ku'damm.

Never smelled Demeter's Early Grey or Ginger Ale, so I can't really say...I just thought Heather was a little more secretive and unusual.

CB I Hate Perfume: my short response is, don't buy them. Not worth it. I'll do a longer post on this subject later.

You're welcome!

Jennie said...

ooo... I am very interested in your take on the CB I Hate Perfume! I've been rather lusting after a bottle of "in the library"

LE said...

Oh! Do me! Do me!

No seriously, I have no idea about how to pick out a perfume, and whatever smells ok in the store (if not overwhelming!) always smells like yak sweat or a little kid the morning after.

Please help?

Natasha said...

Hi Le,

I'd love to prescribe you something, but you have to help me out a little bit more!

Send me three short likes and dislikes (just like poetrebelloverspy did) and an example of a perfume you tried and hated via the Puffery email address, okay?

poetloverrebelspy said...

Hey Natasha.

I wanted to thank you for your recommendations. I tried each of the first two perfumes the last times I headed out to a large department store carrying them (best bet here: KaDeWe, of course). Couldn't find the Demeter anywhere -- I'm guessing they might only be in the U.S.?

The Serge Lutens was too floral for me. I kept waiting for the more citrus elements to pop out, but I never found them under all the flowers. My friend who went with me and who swore that she had tried his perfumes before and didn't like them changed her mind and kept sniffing my arm and calling it a noble perfume. I'm sure if she had a broader perfume vocab, she would has also tossed your word "refined" in there as well. It hung on the shirt I wore (not unpleasantly) for days afterwards.

I sniffed the Bulgari on that day and have carried the paper in my wallet since, but not wanting to mix the two scents, I didn't spray it on my skin until today. Here's what I like about it: the initial scent has a lot of wonderful spice (probably the pepper and citrusy notes you know I like) and it doesn't have any of that floral weighing down the first one. But, there is something a little too light and sweet about it -- something almost, and I admit this is weird, embarrassing like a see-through blouse.

This is an impossible task since it is so personal -- but I really appreciate your suggestions and welcome any other recommendations from you, if you come across something you think I might like. And of course, if you're in town, we should head to KaDeWe together :)

Now I want to know what Le thought of the Garden line . . .