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Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Week in Scent

Article by Erin

Inspired by Luca Turin’s “Guardian Angels” on his now sadly decommissioned blog – and with the kind permission of Colombina – I give you The Week in Scent.

Sunday: On me, the Different Company’s Osmanthus seems to smell like the soapy apricot of barbershop disinfectant, but I heartily agree with Turin’s other choice for Sunday: Jicky. Luminous, warm and yet pale, this Guerlain classic is a reflecting pool of a fragrance, the scent for a contemplative (if secular) and still-aired day in the park or at the library. I find another perfume that blends the earthy and the ethereal with poise is Hermes Hiris, Olivia Giacobetti’s hymn to the iris. The counterpoint of vegetal (carrots, hay) and airy powder notes lends itself beautifully to a day when a cat might make the best company.

Monday: Stuff all that hippie nonsense about the energizing powers of grapefruit, sage, rosemary and pine – are you going to Scarborough Fair or to work? What you need today is *coffee*. One good option is Yohji Homme, the discrete gourmand, a kind of A*Men for the office. Blending trendy sweet Starbucks touches with more traditional cologne staples, it’s a great choice for those soft-spoken types with impeccable tailoring who do mysterious, complicated things with other people’s fortunes. L’Artisan’s L’Eau du Navigateur has a high-test start, vaguely salty, that will jump start you in the morning, but it calms very quickly in the inevitable way of L’Artisans into a clean-smelling white musk that will not offend the crowd in the elevator. For other choices, check out colombina’s post on her quest for the best bean-based scent.

Tuesday: The rhyme says “Tuesday’s child is full of grace”. It’s also cheap night at movies and furthermore, based on the Latin for “the day of Mars”, Tuesday is dedicated to the Roman god of vegetation and cattle. Okay, so I’m stretching here – wear whatever you want. *I* am going to sashay about in fruity leather. Edmond Roudnitska’s Le Parfum de Thérèse (Frederic Malle) is the elegant and intelligent scent of a film star. (Many, like colombina, see Garbo. I tend to think of somebody more angular, like Dietrich or, in sharper color, Anjelica Huston.) A surprisingly watery melon note overlaid with a tickle of spice gives way to a lush jasmine and plumy rose heart, before settling into stand-out couture leather. Mauboussin’s heart-breaking Histoire D’Eau Topaze by Christine Nagel is another favorite of mine, starting with a blend of mandarin and mulled wine spicing (nutmeg, cinnamon) and morphing via a dusky ylang-ylang note to a dangerously adult, sheer and yet animalic leather. It’s stunning and cool in a classic, very, very French Coast way.

Wednesday: Hump day, legendary for being the day of suicides, separations and the like, can bring out a yearning for incense scents. Indulge yourself in a little melancholy without succumbing to outright brooding (no Messe de Minuit in the workplace). The peppery cool of L’Artisan’s Passage D’Enfer would be perfect. For a less grayed out feel, Miller et Bertaux’s #2 Spiritus/land will fit the bill. I also like Gucci Pour Homme, despite the slight cheesy-sexy Relic Hunter vibe to it.

Thursday: As Jean-Paul Sartre wrote of three o’clock, Thursday is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. The only thing to do is try to keep your head in the game with something light but thoughtful. Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca, Eau de Sud from Annick Goutal or Bvlgari’s Omnia all work: sheer and bright, but with deepening spice and/or smoky notes.

Friday: For those not hardy enough to party, Friday is the day of relief. I look forward to jeans, take-out food, rented movies and comfort scents. In warmer weather, Maurice Roucel’s Tocade (Rochas) is flirty enough for the end of the week, but as colombina has noted, it is also the ideal perfume to wear to bed. A good Serge Lutens is – sorry anise-haters! – Douce Amere. For the fall and winter, there are many options: boozy Frapin 1270, Caron’s glowing Farnesiana, the kinky warmth of Bvlgari Black, smoky sweet Vanilia (L’Artisan) and i Profumi di Firenze’s Ambra del Nepal. To really up the cold-fighting factor, take refuge in the heat of scents like SL Chergui or Andy Tauer’s L’Air du desert marocain.

Saturday: Time for your va-voom perfume. Many vouch for Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir, Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur, Shalimar or Monyette Paris. For me, though, ’twill always be Gucci’s Rush. Despite the overheated swoon of it, there is a milky skin quality there that means it doesn’t wear me.
The images are from, and


Blogger Lucy said...

Great reviews, totally enjoyable, a fragrance wardrobe plan indeed. I imagine someone such as Deneuve, who instinctively knows all this, and possesses a library of perfumes, living out this life, only not as herself, but as one the characters she has portrayed in an early 60s French b&w film - maybe a cross between the elegant helplessly depraved lady of Belle de Jour and someone more grounded, such as Jean Pierre Leaud's girlfriend in the early Truffaut movies...

7:30 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Wonderful post! But Jicky on Sunday? I think this just confirms for me that I am cursed and need to find a priest who does skin chemistry exorcisms today. I simply can't wear this. I'm definitely going to have to finally try some Yohji Homme for my Mondays. And I had no idea Wednesdays were so emotionally perilous. Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed this and shall refer back to it during the week as I make my scent choices.

8:02 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

What a lovely diatribe before my am coffee! I like the way you express yourself...
I confess, my own plan differs somewhat- I tend to perfume myself according to my emotional state, the types of people I'm going to encounter [and how I can help create a therapeutic environment],the climate, my secret intentions, and occasionally, as an artistic statement.
Perfume is my therapy and a method of communication...

8:38 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Such a great article! I did not know Wednesdays were such dangerous days. And yet, when I think back, Wednesday usually are my worst days of the week. Hmm.
I actually agree that Marlene Dietrich could also wear Le Parfum de Thérèse.

9:34 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

What a wonderful post! I love all your choices, except for the one I haven't tried--Yohji Homme--and you have persauded me to do so soon! Thank you for this very enjoyable article.

11:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks and my, that is an interesting idea! I have only recently purchased a television and I am looking forward to renting some of the earlier Deneuve movies I have never seen. I have never tried the Deneuve fragrance either, which I'd love to do...

12:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you! Have you tried the PdT of Jicky? Some people who have trouble with the EdT - with sharpness, if that's your problem -have found the PdT to work better for them. This is the concentration that Turin recommends. I've never been able to find any actual statistics on the dangerousness of Wednesdays, so it may be a myth. Do you have a fave perfume for down days?

12:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

I must confess, I usually just go with my whims too. I did follow most of my plan last week, though: Hiris, L'Eau Du Navigateur, Histoire D'Eau, Miller et Bertaux #2, Champaca, and Chergui. It worked pretty well - but I'm on maternity leave, so the only person I'm communicating with during the day is my baby daughter, who can't complain!

12:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity to post! The formatting looks great... I tend to think of Garbo as more classically beautiful, rather than striking, but looking again at the photo you chose for your Therese review, she looks pretty angular and appropriate!

1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for your thanks; everybody here in the PST community is so sweet. I have never actually seen the Yohji Pour Homme (the new one), but make sure you are getting the mourned, discontinued original Yohji Homme in the tall bottle or there will be no caffiene kick!

1:28 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I have actually never tried anything but the Jicky parfum. I madly adore most of the classic Guerlains, but w/ an equal passion loathe the edt versions of them because of that sharpness you mentioned. However, I have never tried the Jicky PdT and, who knows? It may be the miracle I'm looking for. Thanks for suggesting it! :-)
My fav scents for down days are often vintage scents that let me dream of escaping to some idealized former time before I was even born or something uber comforting like SL's Fumerie Turque or Bois et Fruits.
And actual statistics or not, I shall remember from now on to tiptoe quietly through Wednesdays. :-)

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Great post and great choices! Jicky is wonderful (I have to get that again..), and since you've solved the EdT problem....

And I love Douce Amere

4:24 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your website! I have been searching for the name of this Serge Lutens guy so hat when i have money i can buy his stuff.
Anyway what I'm looking for is a perfume that has a strong almond base that lasts for hours.
I was tole Pure Purple by Hugo Boss would be just aht - but it fade within minutes. DO you know of any almond perfumes?
Thank you!
p.s. i want to be able to buy it at like a drug store or a department store - i'm in Canada we don't have Macy's!!!

1:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I wonder if you would be able to find Strenesse by Gabriele Strehle or Castelbajac by Castelbajac? Those two are fairly almondy and Castelbajac in particular has great lasting power. I hope this helps!

9:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous florence said...

I really like SL chergui

8:10 PM EDT  

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