Happy holidays everyone! I hope all your Christmases are as you wished them to be.
Weeks and weeks ago I shared my excitement about a trip to Melbourne to (in part) take in as much perfume sniffing as I could. Somehow after my return I have been so taken up with other stuff, I have never reported back. So here goes.
The trip was great fun but also disappointing perfume-wise because after so much anticipation, my sense of smell let me down! It wasn’t that I had a cold. I think it must have been entirely psychological – too much excitement – because perfume after perfume smelled weak or unconvincing, or just … of nothing.
Still, my friend K. went with me to all the boutiques and perfumeries I had planned and we both enjoyed ourselves hugely. Individually each of us might tremble at the thought of walking into up-market boutiques, but together it’s easy! We must have looked quite at home on the top floor of Tiffany’s because they even offered us a cup of tea, which startled us very much. (Did we look like we could afford their diamonds?) Of course I sniffed the Tiffany fragrance but I remember not a single thing about it, not even its name.
Further up Collins Street at Chanel I sniffed my way through all the Les Exlusifs that were hitherto unknown to me. With my wonky nose, only Coromandel made an impression (good). Jersey was a complete non-starter. At the Mecca Cosmetica in Myer’s I asked the SA to show me what she thought was the most interesting of her stock, and she took me to Frederic Malle’s Geranium Pour Monsieur. I respect her for this – I found it magnificent, and hope to give it a try when I’m in Melbourne again briefly after the New Year. But to me the most interesting thing I found was Le Labo’s wonderfully dirty Patchouli 24.
K. meanwhile amused himself at the Guerlain counter smelling their little jar of tonka beans, set there to promote sales of Tonka Imperiale, no doubt. He loved the tonkas, but found the Guerlain lady rather terrifying, as did I. No sale there.
At Peony perfumery in Hawthorn I nearly bought L’Artisan’s Fleur de Liane, but over lunch at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, a melon note seemed to emerge of of FdL. So that was a No. However, at Peony K. bought a bottle of Parfum d’Empire’s Fougere Bengale as a present for his (male) partner S., and that was a complete success.
And I eventually got my scent-brain back too, sort of, at Klein’s in Fitzroy. Penhaligon’s Amaranthine. To be honest I think I bought it because I could actually smell it. Its opening burst of vivid, energetic green (banana leaf, apparently) reached right through the fug of other scents in the shop, and found its way straight to my brain, no trouble. I adore it. (Some people mention the green as only a secondary impression, behind the sultry white flowers, but to me the green slices its way all the way to the end of the drydown. If you know Amaranthine, do comment!)
Fleur de Liane and Amaranthine are both creamy tropical fragrances and both the work of the same man, Bertrand Duchafour. So it was little wonder that if I almost loved one I would actually love the other. And I did!
Has anyone else had found themselves too excited to enjoy a sniff trip? Please comment.