Lalique Encre Noire ~ fragrance review, and a “buying unsniffed” poll

Lalique Encre Noire fragrance

Early on in my career as a perfume addict, I made any number of buying-unsniffed blunders (my record was considerably worse than Kevin’s 2 out of 3), and eventually swore off the practice entirely. Well, almost entirely. I try. But at least once a year, I fall prey to uncontrollable, spur-of-the-moment yearnings. In 2006, I actually did a little worse than I’d remembered: I bought Hermès Elixir des Merveilles (didn’t like it, so swapped for a bottle of Eau des Merveilles) and a half-bottle of Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company (like it well enough, but not sure I would have purchased if I’d smelled it first). I might have even bought L’Artisan Dzongkha unsniffed, but I honestly can’t remember. Ah well, that one I love.

I thought I might make it through all of 2007 unscathed, but a few weeks ago I caved on a bottle of Encre Noire by Lalique

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Years ago, while perusing Larousse Gastronomique, I saw a beautiful photo of a cherry clafoutis. The clafoutis had been baked in an emerald-green provençale dish and had been placed on a black-and-cream-colored toile de Jouy cloth that covered a shady spot beneath an ancient olive tree; an antique tin bucket, full of sparkling ice and a bottle of wine, had been set on the ground next to the clafoutis. It all looked so delightful! I had to eat clafoutis! So I made clafoutis (several times) and each time I wondered: how can fresh eggs, butter, milk, sugar and sweet cherries turn into THIS mess, this eggy, soggy pile that becomes inedible just minutes out of the oven? Being tempted to buy a perfume you have not smelled is a lot like finding a new recipe: you read the ingredients, look at a gorgeous illustration, and think “I love everything in this! It sounds and looks delicious!” Acting on a hunch that everything will work out fine, you prepare the recipe (or, as the case may be, buy the perfume). Sometimes you relish the result. Sometimes you become nauseous.

I’ve had decades to learn my perfume lessons. I know I shouldn’t buy a fragrance without sampling it beforehand…

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