I can’t remember the last time a perfume house sent me samples, or the last time I went out looking for my favorite perfumer’s latest creation. Time trudges onward, even through a global pandemic, and life changes.
My life has changed in so many ways it’s hard to keep track–I barely recognize the woman who began Beauty on The Outside back in 2009. A very different version of myself, to say the least. A couple years back I thought I’d be opening Austin, Texas’ first boutique perfume shop–but you know the saying, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley” (go awry).
And yet, despite the many twists and turns my road has taken, I still turn to perfume for its instant comfort, or a boost of confidence. My collection has slimmed down even further (goodbye Memoir Woman, we made some good memories together), but what remains, I feel I couldn’t live without.
There’s still a good number of fragrances in my collection, but the majority are in dark storage, and rarely see the light of day. Just three full bottles stay within reach–on my side of the bathroom countertop, as I once again share space with a significant other. One is obvious, but the other two are a little bit of a surprise, even to me.
Between work, caring for a home, and a TON of animals–I am, generally speaking, un-scented. The dogs don’t mind the perfume, and neither does the man, but it’s the snakes I avoid it for. So many snakes! Their cold, muscular bodies are oddly comforting in a visceral, immediate way. Much like perfume, but with more rewarding interaction. I’m happy with my little Waterloo Reptile family here in the heart of Texas.
So, which three have survived my loss of Perfumista status? Shalimar, of course. A spritz before bed, most nights, soothes my frayed nerves and helps dissolve the worries of the day as I lay my head to rest.
Next, the universally appealing, always pretty, a little complex but definitely not challenging: Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille. There’s no past review to link to because I haven’t got much to say about it. It’s pretty. Everyone seems to like it. It’s an uncle Serge, so it’s more than a flat, pastry vanilla, but there’s nothing to shock or jar the senses, no unexpected developments. It’s just reliably pretty, like Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and I’m almost through my second bottle of the stuff. Pretty, pretty, pretty. Boring? Maybe, but I’m okay with that too.
And the last bottle kept in easy reach, for when I want something a little bit extra… the hot-rubber, dry-woods vanilla of Bvlgari Black. It’s a favorite Oddball Vanilla, the oddest in my rotation of Vanilla’s. I never would have expected myself to be sensorily reduced to vanilla, yet here it is. The most likable, agreeable smell known to humans. I am embracing basic. Comfort. Simplicity.
Possibly the only simple thing in my life. And I’m perfectly okay with this.