Perfume: When Everything Old is New Again

Yves Saint Laurent Champagne advert

Every once in a while I open my perfume cabinet’s doors and am overwhelmed by the rows of bottles crammed shoulder to shoulder like glass soldiers. When it gets to be too much, I start giving bottles away. Rochas Tocade is an example. I bought it at an online discounter ages ago, but it was so sweet that it annoyed me. I swapped it away not long after. Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse is another example. I told myself that liked it a lot, but I rarely wore it. When I met someone who liked it better, I gave it away.

Earlier this week I found both Tocade and Yvresse (in its earlier incarnation, Champagne) at Goodwill and snapped them up. It had been so long since I’d smelled either one, and I as soon as I saw their bottles I missed them. Well, I won’t be giving them away again any time soon. Instead of cloying, Tocade smells almost golden on my skin and is just trashy enough to be fun. Champagne’s nectarine is so much juicier than I’d remembered, and its abundant moss is a deliciously fusty contrast.

Over the past six months, I’ve had a good time “shopping” in my own perfume collection and rediscovering fragrances I thought I knew…

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Luckyscent Parfums Raffy

Perfume to Celebrate Labor Day

Estée Lauder White Linen, advert

Labor Day means so many things: among them, a day to commemorate the working class; the end of summer; the start of a new school year; and for the sartorially correct, the last day to wear white shoes and seersucker. What perfume feels right to you for Labor Day?

Here are a few choices of the top of my head:

Estée Lauder White Linen: O.K., I admit I chose this one for its name. From the sound of it, White Linen should herald summer and tea parties on long, sloping lawns with people dressed like Jay Gatsby playing croquet. The truth is, White Linen is sharp and clean and infinitely more versatile than its name implies, as long as its wearer has combed her hair and powdered her nose.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Piment Brûlant: Time for summer salads and barbeque! Piment Brûlant smells like a freshly snapped red bell pepper on a bed of vanilla-scented rose petals and cut grass…

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Bunch o’ limited edition collector bottles 2013, part 8

More limited edition collector fragrance bottles, with the usual disclaimers: in most of these cases, the juice is unchanged, just the bottle is “special” (or not, as the case may be), and some of these may not be available in the US.

Cartier, Baiser Volé Volé d'Amour edition

From Cartier, Baiser Volé in the Volé d’Amour edition: “Let the magic of an extraordinary lily transport you to the streets of Paris with Cartier d’Amour. The limited edition Baiser Volé, or stolen kiss, features an exquisite gold engraving of the Rue de la Paix.” 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $145 at Nordstrom

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Fragrance gifts for Mother’s Day 2013, part 1

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, 12 May. Don’t procrastinate! Here are a few early gift ideas.

Annick Goutal Les Colognes Discovery Set

From Annick Goutal, a Les Colognes Discovery Set: “Annick Goutal twists the olfactory architecture of three representative in-house creations with temperance, timelessness, and intimacy offering three vibrant infusing but discrete colognes.” 50 ml each of Eau d’Hadrien, Vétiver and Néroli, $175 at Neiman Marcus

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Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2013

Springtime Landscape, Béla Iványi-Grünwald

I can’t believe it’s been five years since my last Top Ten Spring Fragrances list, but yes, a look back confirms that fact. My tastes haven’t shifted much since then, yet I can somehow come up with plenty of new favorites. Of course, there are the fragrances that I consider part of my springtime “hall of fame”: Guerlain Apres l’Ondée and Chamade, Frederic Malle En Passant. These come into rotation every March or April, come rain or come shine (and lately, it’s been mostly rain). But, beyond these classics, I’m easily able to compile a list of other fragrances I’ve been wearing or will be wearing over the next month or two.

What to wear when the calendar says Spring, but the weather is still chilly and damp and dreary? I love to don Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver during that indecisive kind of weather, perhaps because it walks a fine line between warm and cool, soft and crisp…

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