On the bed, a suitcase lies open. New Yorkers, Michelin maps, and a passport stuff the computer tote next to it. For the most part, I’ve nailed down my travel wardrobe — simple cotton dresses with cardigans and flat shoes since I’ll be primarily in the country — but the one thing I haven’t yet packed is perfume.
In the past I’ve tried to settle on one or two fragrances to bring on a trip with the idea that I’d buy something new on vacation and wear it often enough so that just a whiff later would bring back travel memories. This time I’m considering adopting an olfactory theme to the trip: iris and leather.
I figure as a foundation I’ll pack a large decant of Parfums DelRae Mythique. Its tender suede-iris is quiet and easy but delicious, and it’s equally at home in the city as it is in the rural, stone-floored house I’ll be staying in. I almost always have some Mythique handy anyway for when the day’s perfume wears off and I want something unobtrusive but wonderful all the same. Mythique will comfort me.
For when I venture to the village down the road for dinner out, or if I’m feeling particularly emotional, I’ll pack a little bit of XerJoff Irisss. Irisss is undeniably gorgeous but kind of a drama queen — think Elizabeth Taylor in her pill-fueled Cleopatra years. Irisss will radiate beautifully on top of a dusting of Mythique. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist could fill this role, too, but I lavishly used the rest of my decant on my birthday.
For times I feel fierce or plan to wander the national park abutting the village I’ll be staying in, I’ll pack a few drops of Vero Profumo Onda. Its earthy leather and vetiver will connect me to the forest. The woods are tame by Oregon’s standards but rich with Cathar history. Somehow I feel a little smarter and edgier when I wear Onda.
I should pack some Chanel Cuir de Russie, too, for outings to the city, when I’ll swap my old Pendleton 49er jacket and homely cardigans for a 1940s gabardine blazer and platform sandals. To me, Cuir de Russie is the ultimate fancy lady leather and iris. The Chanel treatment of aldehydes and attitude almost gives me the courage to brave chi-chi boutiques and to inquire at already-packed restaurants if they have room for another diner.
By the time you read this, I’ll be in Nice, France, getting ready to meet Denyse from Grain de Musc at the airport and drive to Cabris, home to Art et Parfum and of the late, legendary Edmond Roudnitska. After spending a day in Cabris, I’ll pass part of the next day taking the scenic route to the Black Mountains (seven and a half hours and a stupefying 18 pages of driving instructions) for a long writing retreat. Stay tuned for more!
How do you choose perfume for travel? And does anyone know a good restaurant in Nice for a Monday night?
[Ed. note: Since Angela is traveling, she may be slow to respond to comments!]