“Keep all of your samples!” This was one of the best tips I received when I first started out as a perfumista. If I didn’t like a fragrance, I would be tempted to pass my sample onto someone else. But the more I sampled, the more my tastes kept changing, and I can’t count how many times I’ve revisited a perfume and ended up liking it. What initially seemed liked a harsh note in Chanel Cuir de Russieended up fascinating me with its dark richness. The effervescent Estee Lauder Pleasuresis not something I wear often, but I use it on regular basis to compare against new green florals. As much as I like to keep things simple, having a well-organized library of samples makes exploring perfumes much easier.
So, I need your help. I know that all of you have your own tips on making the most of the perfume hobby. I thought that it would be fun and helpful to compile a list of our favorite perfume tips and tricks, or the A to Z of perfume advice, if you will! It can be as lighthearted or as serious as you want.
How does it work: simply select a letter and post your tip in the comments following the format of my examples below, and I will then transfer your tip into the body of the post, along with your name (and a link to your blog, if you have one). You are welcome to duplicate letters. I am very curious to see who will come up with a tip for Z and X!
I will add a link to this post in my Highlights bars on the right, so that you can add your tips even after the thread moves off the main page. You can also email your suggestions to me at editor at boisdejasmin dot com.
Do you have a discontinued fragrance that you long to see back on the perfume counter, and failing that, to replace with something similar? I receive many emails about long lost favorites, and most of the time I respond to them with my personal suggestions. However, I’ve decided that it might be better to post such requests here on Bois de Jasmin, so that readers can include their own recommendations. So, going forward, if you are searching for a discontinued fragrance and need help, you’re welcome to email me (editor at boisdejasmin dot com), and we will do our best to help.
After receiving several emails about Narciso Rodriguez for Her Musc Oil, I’ve decided to look into it. The oil form of Musc for Her was a limited edition that focused on the creamy musk facet of the original Eau de Toilette. The citrus, sharp amber, and woody notes were sheared out, with the elegant, luscious musk brought center stage. Musc for Her Oil smelled deliciously of warm skin and apricot flesh, with a hint of honey. Musc for Her collection, which also included Musc for Her EDT and Musc for Him EDT (black bottle) was launched in 2003. In 2009, Narciso Rodriguez added Musc for Her Intense Eau de Parfum and Musc for Him Eau de Parfum (iridescent violet bottle). Then in 2010, Essence Eau de Musc (silver bottle) appeared on the counters. These days we also have a limited edition called Essence Musc Intense Eau de Parfum. That is exactly why I dislike flankers—figuring out how they are related makes me feel like I’m solving some cognitive reasoning game.
As a graduate student I always loved the serendipity associated with research--when a random reference leads to an Aladdin’s cave of fascinating information. It’s been years since I left the halls of academia, but I’m still a student (read, a geek!) at heart. So when I spotted a mention of E.J. Parry’s Encyclopedia of Perfumery in Nigel Groom’s The New Perfume Handbook, I made it a point to check it out. My reward was a recipe for Armenian paper, which I would like to share with you and to add to Bois de Jasmin's collection of antique perfume recipes. Armenian paper is a home scent created in the 19th century by entrepreneur Auguste Ponsot and pharmacist Henri Riviere and sold as a natural air sanitizer. With its exotic and mysterious cachet Armenia was a perfect marketing spin for the incense based on benzoin, a resin redolent of sweet vanilla and spices.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,” wrote Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges. Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house, I decided that I will make my own version of an earthly paradise by investing efforts into my library. For years I have lived in apartments where the only pieces of furniture were the overspilling bookshelves. These days we have added a table and a bed to our Spartan living arrangements. An interior designer friend once drew up a plan that would maximize the use of space in our apartment. Her sketch was full of light, cream colored cushions and purple window dressings. She suggested that I move half of my books to storage. Her sketch is languishing behind one of the bookshelves. The books are still with me.
The question of quality is a complex one, especially with something as intangible as perfume. All of us have our own definitions of quality, and as such, I see this post as a place to share my reflections and hear your thoughts as well. As I mentioned in the previous post, I do not want to conflate the price of raw materials with quality. I do not believe that beer is inferior to wine, and in the same vein, I do not think that Tommy Girl is inferior to Shalimar. I simply do not want to pay the price of a great vintage for a bottle of Budweiser. Perfume is a luxury, and given the current economic climate, I want to make sure my pleasures are never guilty and that my dollar is spent wisely. When looking for a perfume that offers good value for my money, my personal take is as follows: