Aparatchick — her blog handle — has been a Now Smell This reader since the beginning. “In 2005, I googled ‘perfume blog,’ and the only one I found was NST,” she says. Twelve years and more than a hundred bottles later, she’s still sampling new fragrances and making friends in the community.
Aparatchick is retired from the finance and accounting industry and lives in Florida. However, she grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and it was there she developed her love of rich, deep oriental fragrances — fragrances that don’t wear very well in humid Florida, a subject we’ll tackle in a minute.
Part of her affinity for orientals might be genetic: her grandmother wore Estée Lauder Youth Dew bath oil. Her mother was a flight attendant and more of a fragrance magpie, wearing everything from Chanel No. 5 and Guerlain Shalimar to whatever amazing bottles her coworkers brought home from European flights. “I wish I had paid more attention to what they were,” Aparatchick says with a wistfulness we can probably all relate to.
In the 1970s in junior high, Aparatchick fell in love with a set of drug store perfume solid compacts in “wood,” “grass” and “flowers.” Later, she moved on to Halston and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, among others. “I probably liked perfume more than my friends did,” she says, “but nothing compared to now.”
She’s never had a signature scent. She says she views perfume like clothing, and she doesn’t wear a uniform. She likes variety too much to tie herself to one fragrance or one style of dress.
When her husband’s job took them to Florida twenty years ago, Aparatchick had to figure out how to reconcile her love of oriental fragrances with a climate that favors tank tops and piña coladas. “You get to like citrus,” she says. “And fruity.” One fragrance category that straddles her love of rich scents with Florida’s heat is fig. Ava Luxe Fig Leaf, Jacomo No. 8 and Parfumerie Générale Jardins de Kerylos are three figs she especially likes, but she notes that the perfume world is loaded with good fig scents.
Aparatchick stores her perfume in a bathroom cabinet which is dark “and as cool as it ever gets in this place.” She notes that it isn’t an ideal solution — the cabinet is too deep to allow her to see some of her collection, and bottles get lost. Out of sight, out of mind.
Lately, Aparatchick has been wearing and adoring Sonoma Scent Studio Bay Blossom* for its “loveliness,” and Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Désert Marocain is always on rotation. In fact, Laurie Erickson (Sonoma Scent Studio) and Andy Tauer are two of her favorite perfumers. When asked what her dream perfume would be, her first answer was that she’d love Tauer to make her a “boozy amber with a hint of pipe smoke.” She called back a few minutes later with another dream perfume. “If Laurie Erickson could make me a perfume that smelled like wet earth, decaying cedar, pine and honey, that would be heaven. I’d be three years old again, climbing around in my grandparents’ forest.”
* Ed. note: I have a feeling that should be Bee's Bliss, not Bay Blossom.