A Week of Sniffing Randomly
Or, How I Blew My Tax Return
Article by Tom.
Recently, I came home to find a letter from the Franchise Tax Board of the Great State of California. One of the things I look forward to most, somewhere between drilling my own fillings with a rusty corkscrew while drinking lemonade and watching reruns of "Top Design" is getting a letter from the tax man. I had calculated my taxes incorrectly, you see, and the nice people of the state wanted that rectified. Happily for me, that involved cutting me a check! Whoo hoo! Not enough for liposuction or a trip to Paris, but enough for couple little treats.
The first one was of course last weeks penitent review begging the forgiveness of Mssrs. Lutens and Sheldrake. Yes, I now own and adore Rousse.
On Tuesday, I stopped in to visit All Purpose to try a couple of the CB I Hate Perfume scents they have (and of course to chat with the charming and handsome Alessandro) that I had not sniffed, Cradle of Light and Violet Empire. The former is white florals, starting off with rich and lovely jasmine. As tuberose starts to come forward the scent becomes almost hot and later, like creeping evening darkness I get just the gorgeous night-blooming jasmine we have as shrubs here in Los Angeles mixed with a bare touch of cold earth. There is some of the infamous CB Musk in this, but it only shows up as the slightest whisper on me, which is probably for the best. If you are one of those that are super-annoyed that Aldehyde 44 is only available in Dallas, you can take this far more refined distant cousin for a spin. If Aldehyde 44 is laughter overheard at a party that has the high edge of hysteria, Cradle of Light is a captivating, throaty chuckle.
Violet Empire works on me far better (I still have that thing about tuberose on me): beautiful violets and mint tea open the scent, and the violets peep in and out throughout the development of the mild woods and thinnest strip of leather. I didn't buy this one right on the spot (trying to break myself of that habit), but I almost went back after walking three blocks. I will be back for this one and soon: it's a perfect spring/summer scent. Not heavy, but not too fleeting and as is the case with all CB scents, so true to the flower that you and almost feel the brush of the petals on your skin. Also, I'd love to know what oils he uses: never greasy, never just sits there on your skin like a slick. It absorbs cleanly and quickly and I love it, so much so that usually oil-phobic me doesn't even think of the water perfumes.
Thursday of course was ScentBar and meeting Andy Tauer. His new one, Reverie au Jardin is out, and of course, I had to meet the man behind it. He is very nice, very humorous, very self-deprecating and very Swiss. He's also cute as pie. He gave a fascinating talk about the history of his business and how he started out: really first just doing it for himself, meeting a perfumer who intriduced him to synthetics, his friends bookstore where Maroc was first sold (and the devastating critique one of his first sniffers laid on him: "Fish. No... wet sheep"), the development of his other scents and onto RauJ. He brought along quite a few of (but not all of course) it ingredients, including rounded fatty tonka bean, a surprisingly heady and fresh smelling oakmoss, peppery ambrette seed, and that particular high-altitude lavender, so green and sweet and unlike what you'd expect.
It was very nice to see IrisLA, Victoria of Victoria's Own and Supermarky, and to meet the delightul Karen (Hope I am spelling that correctly) who asked Andy how he felt about decanters, what with all the hubbub on eBay. He kindly said that he had no problem at all with them. So there.
I was of course rapt.
Did I buy?
Do I breathe?
Capping the weekend was a trip to San Francisco. One of my oldest and dearest friends film, (which is honestly brilliant) was being shown at SFMOMA and we drove up together to visit friends and hang out. Is there nothing better than having the perfect road-trip partner? One that you can either be riveted in conversation with or spend three hours in companiable silence?
San Francisco and Los Angeles have a love/hate relationship: we love them and they hate us. San Francisco is of course so very lovely you sometimes want to slug it. My friend and I and our host had a lovely dinner in Berkeley the night we arrived and the next day I had to of course go into The City (as the locals refer to it, and yes, with caps). Union Square was the destination. I didn't see Barneys (I think they might be under construction) but I did sidle up to Neimans to look at their selection, The SF Neimans has all of the Serge Lutens, including Un Lys, as well as the usual suspects and an incredibly nice and helpful staff (I must have looked either really rich or really confused; I'd bet the latter). I believe that they have a better selection in general than the Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, and as a party of one I protest. I confess I did not visit many other stores in Union Square simply because we have them in LA: Saks, Armani, etc. What we dont have anymore is Gumps, so I had to make the pilgrimmage, I also checked out the Frank Lloyd Wright designed VC Morris gift shop, now an art gallery on Maiden Lane, and of course Parfumerie Jaqueline on Geary Street to assure myself that Kolnisch Juchten is still available. The very continental Andre showed me some of the other Regence scents including Regence and Eau de Regence (I think) that were very different that charry-tarry KJ. Andre is great, very formal and very French (which I think in this city of Big Personalities can come across as unfriendly; I find it refreshing) and extremely knowledgeable. Then back across the bay (the Bart system is a wonder) to shop Berkeley. Well, to try to. I actually didn't get the chance before it was time to drive into The City and see the screening and dinner. Then the glamour of Southwest Airlines back to LA (my friend was staying a few more days and I could not).
So actually I was pretty good. No SF purchases. Violet Empire, I'm coming...
My tax dollars at work.