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5 Perfumes for: Nerds

classic nerd glasses

In a recent post at Perfume Posse, Musette described her adolescent self as “Geek before Geek was cool”. During a week when I watched The Social Network and contemplated buying a Gregory Brothers / Auto-Tune the News t-shirt, her description was just another sign that we have lived to see the day my mother was always promising me would come: nerds have inherited the earth. We’ve come a long way since the 1980s and nerdom has evolved: gone are the high pants and the pocket protectors (as well as most of the pens), nerds of every gender and race are acknowledged, and globalization and the internet have opened up new, niche fields of nerd inquiry. No longer restricted to math, science, computing and Star Trek conventions, nerds are becoming foodies and bespectacled mixologists, pop musicians, graphic novelists and film bloggers, beekeepers, adventure travelers, market watchers, reality television competitors and whistle-blowing website activists. Nerds have money. They own the best home theatre equipment and make the coolest Halloween costumes. They know the only coffee place in town with a Clover. And, increasingly, some of them are smelling really good.

Perfume is a great hobby for geeks and systems wonks. It can involve hours and days and weeks of research into a secretive, trend-driven and detail-oriented industry. You end up collecting bottles and vials, ordering or swapping rarities through the mail and building storage units or furniture to organize your collection. You exhibit a lot of mavenish behavior, like checking currency conversion websites multiple times a day. Almost every perfumista of long-standing I know keeps a spreadsheet or electronic notepad full of data on sample testing count, fragrance notes, prices, perfumer names or vintage scent markers…

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Parfums DelRae Panache ~ fragrance review

Cyrano de Bergerac

Just as everyone’s clothing wardrobe benefits from a few low-key, comfortable items to pull on without thinking, perfume wardrobes need the same.

It is present, yet close to the skin — me, but better. I almost feel it rather than smell it.

But if you want a perfume to rest lightly around you, like a second skin…you could do a lot worse.

Those lines were pulled from Angela’s review of Mythique, by Parfums DelRae. Now let’s say that all sounds awfully good to you, but Mythique wasn’t exactly the second skin you were after (as was the case with me: I thought Mythique was lovely, but it did not move me). You’ve got your second chance with Panache, the brand’s latest release. It’s named for a line from Edmond Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac:

One thing is left, that, void of stain or smutch, I bear away despite you … My panache.

Panache is meant to be a unisex fragrance “centered around” vetiver. I don’t think your average vetiver fiend will find it passes muster as a vetiver scent, and by the same token, if you hate vetiver you needn’t necessarily cross Panache off your list…

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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2010


To me, perfume has a texture. Some fragrances wear like silk velvet, others like a practical gabardine, and still others — unfortunately — like double knit polyester. In summer, I want to wear perfume that feels like chiffon, linen, the fabric of a well-worn tee shirt, or even nothing at all. Here are the 10 fragrances I’ll be probably be wearing most this summer:

When it’s sizzling out, when lifting the bedroom window feels like opening the door of a convection oven, I want perfume that is crisp, cooling, and effortless. In short, I want perfume that wears like linen.

Christian Dior Eau Fraiche is a perfect linen-like fragrance. I have a bottle more than 40 years old that still sparkles and still has the warm chic of real oakmoss. I can wear it to work, after a bath, or while enjoying a gin and tonic at the neighborhood bar and feel fresh and even elegant, if I have to be.

Annick Goutal Folavril is another good linen substitute…

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