This month marks nine years — !! — that I’ve been reviewing fragrance for Now Smell This. At, say, 50 reviews a year, that’s a whopping 400 fragrances I’ve written about. After all those perfumes and reviews, I thought it was time to talk about the fragrances that have stuck around in my perfume cabinet, those whose decants I drain and bottles I turn to again and again.
Chanel Cuir de Russie: At least three times a week, I wear Cuir de Russie. I started with a 10 ml decant, and when it was finished I thought I’d be fine relying on one of my many other leather scents. Not. Cuir de Russie stands alone. I ended up selling some of my other bottles to bag my own bottle. Even though Cuir de Russie isn’t freaky, I always feel like the most interesting person in the room when I wear it.
Parfums DelRae Mythique: I consider Mythique to be Cuir de Russie's hipper alter ego. She's less worldly than Cuir de Russie, but she knows how to take a joke. This is one of the few fragrances for which I keep a back-up bottle.
Chloé L'Eau de Chloé: L'Eau de Chloé is my answer when it’s hot out; I want to smell a touch retro but fresh; I don’t know who I’ll be with; or I just can’t decide and I may want to layer something floral over it later. L'Eau de Chloé is as close to all-purpose as I have in my perfume cabinet.
Rochas Eau de Rochas: This is another fabulous choice when it’s hot, but unlike L'Eau de Chloé, I wear it when I want more character. It’s a little more “cologne-y”, and its faint, lingering patchouli is wonderful. Next time, I'm buying the jug.
Christian Dior Miss Dior: It took me a while to grow into Miss Dior (I’m referring to the original or “Classic,” of course), but when I did I needed to wear it at least once a week. I crave it. I don’t know if it blends with my character or makes much of an impression on anyone around me, but I don’t care. Miss Dior's jolie laide allure keeps me engaged.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Ananas Fizz: How did this happen? I rarely think of Ananas Fizz, yet I must reach for it often, because the bottle is getting perilously low. Ananas Fizz — thank goodness it’s back in production! — is so easy to wear, yet still so interesting. I love its crisp wackiness and cool vetiver. It's a great perfume for going out in the evening.
Annick Goutal Duel: Duel is my all-purpose autumn scent. It’s warm and intriguing yet somehow still remains fresh as water. If a couple could only afford one bottle of perfume between them, this is the one I’d recommend.
Guerlain Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette: I used to be devoted to the extrait, but now I’ve come around to the crisper Eau de Toilette. Non-initiates to perfume don’t always understand my dedication, but to me Vol de Nuit Eau de Toilette is as basic as a shirtwaist, and just as versatile.
Looking over this list, I see that I come off as an octogenarian with a fat pocketbook, Gucci sunglasses and a matinee-length string of pearls. My most-used perfumes are grounded in the classics. (In reality, I drive a pickup truck and stock my living room and closet with thrift store loot. However, thanks to my friend Jacob’s grandma, R.I.P., I do have a pair of fabulous 1960s Gucci sunglasses.)
What surprises me most is that certain perfumes I adore — perfumes I consider definite old favorites — I don’t end up wearing much. Those include Ormonde Jayne Woman, Caron Tabac Blond, Rochas Femme and L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!. Go figure.
Which fragrances have gone the distance for you? Which bottles do you end up replacing? Are you ever surprised at which fragrances you use up first?