Thursday, December 4, 2008


Remember: the drawing for a copy of “What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life” by Avery Gilbert ends midnight, U.S. EST, December 15. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered!

(Thanks to those who have let me know they already have the book. That’s nice, and it gives everybody else a better chance of winning it.)

Got a L’Artisan promotional booklet in the mail yesterday. Now, I know something about printing and what it costs and can only say that this is the most expensive-looking printed object I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s gorgeous, a keeper, but how did they find me? I mean my home address? Wow. I’m impressed.

The Perfume Retail Experience: Generally I never go to malls, but had to go to one Tuesday (don’t ask). So I decided to check out the perfume counters of an upscale department store.

Confusion! Loud Christmas music! Roving SA’s with push lists! One approaches me. I ask to test the Chanel 22. (More about that later.) She brings out a bottle of the Mademoiselle. No, I say, No. 22. A perplexed look, followed by retrieval of correct tester, followed by spray onto thin paper strip. Then she leads me over to another counter. Don’t I want to try (I think it was something by Harve Leger) this? It smells better than Chanel No. 22!

Uh, well, actually, no, it doesn’t.

(By the way, my Chanel 22, which is vintage around 1992, is not the same scent as the new one. At all. Mine is strong and incense-y and huge, and the new is lovely, pleasant, much lighter.) I mention this to the SA. She raises an eyebrow. “That,” she says just a bit dismissively, “is how they used to make perfume.”

Right! I get it. Not only am I uninitiated, I’m also Old. I run out of there as fast as my ancient legs will carry me. And they wonder why such places are not doing so well in the U.S. All this... and full retail pricing, too!

Never again.


Tried a sample of CDG’s new-ish Luxe Champaca. Lovely stuff, nice florals and tuberose. I was thinking of giving it to myself for Christmas. Then I saw the price. Well, geez, what did I think “Luxe” meant?


Got some Rochas Femme (a mini). Big ol’ skank, opens like a raunchier Mitsouko, but doesn’t last as long as I had hoped. I hear the vintage is better. So what else is new?


Opium. Yeah, yeah. I know, it’s 80’s. It’s dated. But, damn it, it smells fabulous, and it lasts, and I just got a great deal on a bottle from one of the online discounters (and I mean great.) Up yours, upscale department store and snotty SA!


Luca and Tania’s new newsletter is out. It costs $9.99 to download. People are bitching. C’mon, folks, $9.99? It’s a bargain. I just wish they’d reviewed a few more unsung classics, like Jean-Louis Scherrer. At least they did get to Black Cashmere, my new desert-island scent for winter. Yes! Enable me! A slew of samples to be ordered now. Who is this “B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful?” Sounds like Prince named the company. They sure do seem to love these guys. We’ll see.

Interesting comments on the “Smelling on the Right Side of the Brain” post – the one preceding this one. Fertile ground for further investigation!


bookishredhead said...

I LOVE getting the L'Artisian flyers. Have you ever gotten their catalogue? IT ROCKS.

I haven't read the book you referenced. Do I get to enter even though I won some perfume?

Perfumeshrine said...

Congrats on the L'artisan booklet!
I like the new Femme: I like skanky! ;-) And Opium is fabulous, don't hear what they say about "dated" (no it isn't, if you don't reveal the name)
And how more and more difficult perfume shopping becomes as one is certain what one likes. Another confirmation on the "lightening" up of Les Exclusifs vs. the old batches: hate to say "I told you -in general- so".

Aparatchick said...

"I run out of there as fast as my ancient legs will carry me" HA! Yes, I've had just that moment myself. There's nothing like being told you're old and out of it, like hearing it from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. Sigh...

mark42 said...

Loved your retail experience story. I'm sure we've all had similar experiences. I can think of no other retail area where the SAs are so ignorant of what they sell.
The other day, I wanted to try Le Male Summer Tonique and had to direct the SA to where the bottle was on the shelf. Another time, in a different store, I gave up trying to explain what a Guerlain was!
Imagine going into a harware store and having to explain what a hammer is.

Olfacta said...

Hey Mark --

I've been quoting your "hammer" line to friends. Great comparison.

Sometimes I wonder if scent-ignorant SA's are actually preferred by the retailers; easier to train them to push whatever ghastly mess is on the list that month.

tania said...

'Be Never Too Busy....' is a sister-shop to Lush. I have a few of their perfumes. They are all, at least, better than Lush 'Karma', the scent they used to use as a customer-repellant. (Oh wait, they were trying to attract custom with it? Huh...)

"Sounds like Prince named the company." LOL!

I think I want some vintage no. 22, now...