Friday, March 29, 2013

Fragrance Friday: Full Bottles

My full bottle collection is rather small, given how often I ramble about perfume on here, and the ones I do have are not particularly representative of my particular favorites. I've tried ... a lot of perfumes in the past year, when I first fell down the smelly rabbit hole (that sounds wrong, sorry), but given my budget and flightiness, have purchased many fewer bottles than I've fallen in love with. Here they are, in order of least to most favorite:

Chanel Chance eau tendre
I got this some year and a half ago, when I ran out of my second bottle of Chanel Chance eau fraiche and wanted something different. I didn't like it as much as the eau fraiche, but it was pleasant enough. Now, I can barely wear it––again, it's pleasant, albeit somewhat synthetic, but I just don't find it happy-making enough to want to wear all that often. It's a nice fruity floral, but those of you who read the blog regularly know that fruity florals are not my favorite kind of perfume. Now that I think about it, I should probably just donate this or see if my brother's girlfriend wants it. Silly to have a perfume that I never wear when others would surely enjoy it!

Guerlain Mitsouko
Regular readers may recognize Mitsouko as both my one true love, and the bane of my existence. The first sample I got of Mitsouko was a revelation: it was complex, beautiful, sexy, interesting, intelligent, and incredibly personal. I loved that sample to the last drop, and decided to buy myself a full bottle on eBay with birthday money. The bottle arrived, I gleefully tore it open and sprayed it on, only to be devastated. It smelled powdery, and old, and musty, and spicy, and nothing like I remembered. I thought it might have been a fake bottle, so I ordered another sample, only to discover that no, that's just the reformulation. I don't know what version of Mitsouko I first smelled, as the vintage parfum I have smells quite similar to the full bottle, somewhat powdery and heavy to start, not the rich, complex brocade that I recall. Subsequent smelling of the current parfum have revealed that the Mitsouko I fell in love with is no longer anywhere to be found. So now I have a full bottle of something that reminds me enough of my beloved to remind me of the loss, but smells different (=worse) to the extent that it makes me angry. It's better after a couple of hours, when the powderiness mellows and the peach and "moss" come out to play more, but it's still not marvelous. Oh, Mitsouko, my first perfume heartbreak. (I did wear this once to the symphony, and it was very appropriate for that occasion––formal and fusty––but, unlike my Mitsouko, it does not make me feel like a better version of myself.) DSH Pandora is a suitable replacement, though quite different and not as fruity, with a very galbanum-y open, but it has some of the spirit and character that marked the former Mitsouko as a classic chypre, and I will definitely repurchase a sample vial when I run out. (See, I ended my tale of heartbreak on a happy note!)

Narciso Rodriguez for Her
This isn't really a full bottle, but it's quite sizable, and is much larger than my little sample vials, so I keep it with my full bottles anyways. For Her is pretty linear and uncomplicated, musk and rose, but that doesn't make it smell any less good. It's a perfume you can wear when you want to smell very pleasant, subtly sexy, and non-aggressive. Every time I wear it I'm reminded how nice it is, though it's not one I would put on my Top 10 list (oh god don't make me choose a top 10).

Diptyque L'Ombre Dans l'Eau
I purchased this from Hautelook when it was 50% off, due to the bottle being redesigned. Several other Diptyque scents were on sale, too, but L'Ombre was the only one I'd tried myself, and I knew I liked it enough to want a full bottle. It's a vibrantly, intensely green pallid rose. Pallid because it's quite watery––not aquatic calone watery, oh no, just, well, like a shadow of a rose on the water ("shadow over the water" is its literal name). It is SPRING, somewhat aggressively so, and as long as you can push past the first 5 minutes of sharp stems and leaves, you'll be left with a gorgeous, luminous green rose. (I say green rose here not like green floral, which is code for "powdery floral", but rather as a rose surrounded by leaves and grass and other such hayfever-giving things.) It's one of the few rose perfumes that I really like, as I find many of them to be too heavy, dense, sour, or cloying. When I smelled Hermes Rose Ikebana, I was reminded of this, so if you like that one, L'Ombre should work as well (though I've not smelled them side by side, or even temporally close to each other, so take that with caution).

Dior Eau Sauvage
I've yammered on about how much I love this perfume (it was my go-to last summer, and I anticipate it taking up that mantle again this year), so I'll just say: It may be a men's cologne, but it is awesome. It's citrusy, and woodsy, and light and happy and just smells so damn good. I want it to be warm again so I can wear it, damnit. Plus, I really like the bottle!

Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk
This is not a full bottle, but at 3 ml it is 3x larger than most of my other perfume samples, and I am counting it as a FB because I just love this perfume so much. It smells like wet woods and green plush moss and the forests I grew up and still live in, rich and opulent and just aaaaah it's so pretty. That's really all I can say.

Tauer Carillon Pour un Ange
I've worn this a few times since receiving it from the boy for Christmas, and every time I'm just astounded by how complex and beautiful it is. It's a floral, a lily-of-the-valley floral, no less, but it's so much more than that. The ambergris in the base gives it an almost salty, briny undertone, which coupled with the sweet-and-floral lotv makes for a truly unique, complex, arresting scent. It's insanely strong, lasting more than 24 hours (including shower!), and its breathtaking expense is matched by its beauty. Find a sample. Pronto.

If I had endless cashflow, there's a number of niche/high-end perfumes I would love to have in full bottle form (By Kilian Beyond Love, Chanel Coromandel, Guerlain Habit Rouge/Derby [I love their masculine scents, so sue me], Diptyque Volutes and Do Son, Arquiste Anima Dulcis and Flor y Canto, L'Artisan Safran Troublant [another rose!], Solstice Scents Manor, Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber...), but for the time being, I will content myself with sample vials. I do find the idea of a collection of tried-and-true, joyful-making perfumes to be an appealing prospect, but that will have to wait for a post-degree real job. Until then, I will swim in my samples and decants, and enjoy the few full bottles and larger decants I possess.

What does your full bottle collection look like? Do you prefer using lots of samples or just a few bottles? If you could have any perfume bottle, what would it be?
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