So. I have a series of little plastic drawer thingies (you can see a picture here if you scroll down) where I store fragrance samples that are waiting to be tried. Once I take a sample out of its drawer, it hangs around on my desk until I've given it a few tries. Then I have a large plastic cart with drawers (you can see a picture here) that holds fragrance samples I've already tried but want to keep. Every so often I try something a few times and still can't make up my mind about it either way. I don't give up easy; some of my very favorite perfumes were not love at first sight. So those samples go into what I think of as "the purgatory basket", and there they languish, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, yes, sometimes for years.
Recently the purgatory basket started to overflow. I thought about getting a bigger basket — that tells you most of what you need to know about my organizational style — but decided last week to make a concerted effort to clear an inch or so off the top. Most of the samples ended up in the "give away" box, a few got stored away in the "to keep" drawers, but a few sternly resisted categorization for the umpteenth time. Here they are*. Do tell me if you love them (or hate them), maybe you'll help me make up my mind:
D’Humeur à Rien ~ From the Les Sautes d'Humeur (Mood Swings) coffret by L'Artisan (shown above), this one is meant to represent the "spiritual mood". The opening is perfect: a deeper, more resinous and churchy incense than Passage d'Enfer, very brisk and cold, with a touch of something like fresh pine needles. Sometimes I wear it and it stays perfect throughout, other times, it goes damp and mildewy, and reminds me of clothing long forgotten in the washer, still other times, it goes damp and mildewy and sweet, and then I want to wash it off. I already have enough incense favorites for this lifetime, so I don't know why I don't give up and move on....
Spirit of the Tiger ~ This is by Heeley, and was inspired by Tiger Balm. Does anyone use Tiger Balm these days? When I was in junior high, I carried Tiger Balm around in my purse, and applied it (dramatically, no doubt) to my temples when I had a headache. I haven't smelled it in a long time so don't know if this is a dead ringer, but it does seem close enough to what I remember. The camphorous opening is fun, and while it doesn't quite pierce your brain the way that the ointment did, it has a nice spicy ring to it. The spices stay vibrant for hours instead of going flat, as they so often do. It sounds like something I'd love. Why don't I? Or do I? I can't seem to make myself discard the vial. (Notes: camphor, mint, clove and cardamom.)
Leiber Eau de Parfum ~ Leiber came out last year, and is the debut fragrance from Judith Leiber, who makes little purses, right? And I think there is a fancy name for the little purses, but I can't remember what it is. Leiber Eau de Parfum opens Big and Bright with a capital B, and with Lots Of Pineapple. The dry down is a mostly clean floral with the slightest edge of something off — not unclean, which I'd like, but off — in the dry down. It is an odd fragrance, and doesn't fit neatly into any current trends. I am pretty sure I hate it, but I'm fascinated by it nonetheless.
There are perfumes that smell expensive (Jean Patou Joy) and then there are perfumes that smell like they're meant to smell expensive, and Leiber is in the latter group. Spirit of the Tiger might be missing some element to make it perfect, but it's "me"; Leiber is not "me" in any possible way. So why do I still have this sample? I don't know. Here is March's take on Leiber from Perfume Posse: "This fragrance not just unsexy, it’s anti-sexy – in other words, to me it’s a perfect adjunct to Leiber’s fussy, absurdist, eponymous Swarovski-encrusted minaudieres". There, and now we know the name of the little purses. (By perfumer Karine Dubreuil, with bergamot, mandarin leaf, pineapple, osmanthus, pimento, rose, jasmine, mimosa, gardenia, cyclamen, cedar, amber, musk, patchouli and vanilla.)
Onda ~ Onda is one of the three scents by indie perfumer Vero Kern, marketed under the name Vero Profumo. It takes us back into "me" territory, as it's about the last thing you'd wear with a fussy little Swarovski-encrusted minaudiere. It smells like dirt. Lots of vetiver-ish dirt, nicely spiced. It is deep and rich, with leathery-animalic undertones that intensify the longer it is on skin. I adore vetiver, and I adore spices, and so I keep dabbing this on, waiting for it to grab me. Maybe I'm on vetiver-overload lately? I couldn't make up my mind about the new-ish Lubin Vetiver either. (Notes: vetiver, ginger, mace, coriander.)
Féminité du Bois ~ Yes, it's true: I keep a SERGE LUTENS CREATION in my PURGATORY BASKET. Some of you may find this heretical, but hey, I'm not sure I really like Shiseido Féminité du Bois. In fact, I'll go farther and say that I'm not sure I like any of the Bois series (that is, the ones that actually have the word Bois in the name) that followed under the Serge Lutens brand name. I tried Féminité du Bois again yesterday, and did find I liked it much better with a little dab of Rousse (Rousse turns out to be a wonderful layering agent in general) on top to help cut the thick peachy-fruity stuff, but still, I'd rather be wearing Chêne or Santal Blanc. There! Shoot me! I'm afraid this one goes right back in the basket, where it can hang around with Guerlain Mitsouko and whisper about what a boor I am. (By perfumers Christopher Sheldrake & Pierre Bourdon, with notes of cedar, orange blossom, rose, violet, honey, plum, beeswax, clove, cardamom and cinnamon.)
Are there any fragrances you just can't make up your mind about? Do comment!
* Yes, I know it's Valentine's Day, and this post isn't appropriately thematic. If you need some Valentine's Day lovin', check out Pia's post on the La Rose de Rosine candle or Erin's post on Three fragrances for a confident Valentine's Day.