“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.
It is officially spring. The Bradford pear trees are draped in the foam of blossoms, its marine connotations echoed by the white petals' fishy odor. The sticky red buds on maple branches smell sweet and acidic, a mixture of hot metal and honey. On most mornings I step outside and feel uplifted by the bracing freshness. It works better than a cup of coffee!
As I enter the subway, I realize that these days I smell more perfume. Since people wear fewer layers, the sillage can be overwhelming. The usual green apple and peach scents of hair products are now supplemented with the fragrances I recognize. On Monday, I sat next to a girl wearing Dior J'Adore. On Wednesday as I was heading back home, a guy wearing Thierry Mugler Angel and tight black jeans complimented me on my perfume--I also wore Angel. Yesterday, my friend and I had to navigate the sushi bar to avoid a lady wearing half a bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. And this morning I smelled the dewy gardenia and coffee at Starbucks. Not much of a scent revelation, but it made for a more memorable morning.
Image: Pear Blossom by kellygifford via flickr, some rights reserved.
You may know Alyssa Harad from her contributions to Perfume-Smellin' Things and Now Smell This. This summer Alyssa is releasing her perfume memoir titled Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure and An Unlikely Bride. Alyssa's book tells how she fell in love with perfume through reading blogs and how her passion led her on an exciting journey. You can read her last essay for NST here. Meanwhile, I wish Alyssa luck as she continues her fragrant journey and look forward to her own blog going live on alyssaharad.com.
At thirty-six—earnest, bookish, terminally shopping averse—Alyssa Harad thinks she knows herself. Then one day she stumbles on a perfume review blog and, surprised by her seduction by such a girly extravagance, she reads in secret. But one trip to the mall and several dozen perfume samples later, she is happily obsessed with the seductive underworld of scent and the brilliant, quirky people she meets there. If only she could put off planning her wedding a little longer.
Thus begins a life-changing journey that takes Harad from a private perfume laboratory in Austin, Texas, to the glamorous fragrance showrooms of New York City and a homecoming in Boise, Idaho, with the women who watched her grow up. With warmth and humor, Harad traces the way her unexpected passion helps her open new frontiers and reclaim traditions she had rejected. Full of lush description, this intimate memoir celebrates the many ways there are to come to our senses.
Lovers of perfume themed books can anticipate another offering this year. Jan Moran is better known for her Fabulous Fragrances series, but in May the California based fragrance expert will publish her first novel titled Scent of Triumph. As Moran shares, "Scent of Triumph was inspired by my love of perfume and its creative process. It was based in part on research I did in creating Scentsa, the touch screen fragrance finder now in all Sephora stores, and in creating my own perfumes. But I also drew upon my own family history and my mother's memories of World War II. I imagined a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love."
Chanel is introducing a new flanker on Allure Homme, Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme. It is described by Chanel as "an aromatic musk cologne" with notes of mandarin, cypress, spearmint, clary sage, white musk accord, tonka bean, cedarwood, sandalwood, and black pepper.
"True to its origins, EAU EXTRÊME takes its cue from ALLURE HOMME SPORT but has a decidedly more aromatic personality. Launched in 2004, ALLURE HOMME SPORT EAU DE TOILETTE captures all of the elements of a body in motion. In 2012, ALLURE HOMME SPORT is pushing a new boundary with EAU EXTRÊME. With a composition of exhilarating sensations, the new sporty, edgy, avant-garde scent appeals to risk-takers and adrenaline seekers.
Mint kicks things off from the very first note, along with refreshing of Sicilian Mandarin rind and Moroccan Cypress. The impression is as icy as the chill that runs down the spine just before taking a leap. Discreet but present, Clary Sage adds a touch of warmth, an almost amber plant-like sensuality. While not as spicy as ALLURE HOMME SPORT, the composition nevertheless calls upon Black Pepper from Madagascar, suggesting a muted, rhythmic beat that resonates in the chest. Then comes the big moment: a White Musk accord selected by CHANEL Master Perfumer Jacques Polge for its cottony soft and subtly animal intonations. And above all, the round, almondy note of Tonka Bean is used to create intensity. Cedar, a conserved note from ALLURE HOMME SPORT, plays a supporting role of pure strength in a straight line underscored by milky Sandalwood. One thing is for certain: ALLURE HOMME SPORT EAU EXTRÊME gives a fresh boost on the skin."