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Friday, March 17, 2006

Discussion of Muscs Koublai Khan, overheard at Chez Colombina

While planning today's article, I asked my husband to help me find a couple of synonyms of a certain word. That led to something quite unusual in our household, a conversation about perfume.

Me: I need a word that would convey the same animal, primitive meaning as the F-word but be acceptable in a polite society.

Husband: What’s that for??

Me: Oh, an article I am writing…

H.: About perfume??

Me: Yes.

He comes up with a couple of suggestions, then:

H.: So why do you need those words if you are talking about a perfume?

Me: Well, this perfume smells like sex.

H.: What, like a musky smell?

Me: Wow. Well, yes, it is a musk-based scent.

He is silent for a while, then:

H.: So do you have this perfume?

Me: Yes…

H.: Can I smell it?

Such requests are very rare so I run to find my decant of Muscs Koublai Khan. Apply some to his wrist, some to mine.

H. (sniffs): Is this alcohol-based?

Me: Yeah.

H.: I can’t get past that…

Me: Well, wait a little bit, it will subside, then you’ll see what I mean. Oh, mine is getting there already…

H.: (sniffs again): Yep. Yes, I see it…Smells like Hugh Hefner’s mansion the morning after the Saturday night party. Or like Caligula’s sofa.

We both digest those descriptions in silence, then:

H.: So if you could have a scent made especially for you, what would it be like?

Me: A woody scent. It would have cedar and sandalwood. Maybe some roses. A little of musk. Spices. Definitely cardamom.

H. (dreamily): I want a perfume that smells of bacon and coffee…


Blogger Marina said...

My favorite part was his wish for Bacon & Coffee scent. I wish I could find one for him. Surely there must be one, in a room spray format if nothing else :-)

8:57 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Mine is just like that too. He only got lured into that conversation because I told him MKK smelled of sex. That got him interested :-) Maybe if I find a scent that smells like beer we could have another talk about fragrances :-)

8:59 AM EST  
Blogger andy said...

Wonderful! This conversation is fabulous. In an interview I just said that we should never forget that the distinction of genders is somewhat arbitrary, that we (man and woman) share to a varying degree characteristics of the other sex,..... I wonder whether this really is true.... It is always a pleasure following your posts. I love your S-sex post, too!

9:50 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!
I do think that in perfumery particularly the gender distinctions are arbitrary. Or perhaps they are made based on what an average consumer would like...
For me, a scent has to be really bare-chested muscular macho to be deemed Musculine and unfit to wear.

10:00 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Great conversation!! And BTW, Qwendy is of the opinion that KJ smells like bacon, so you might try that on him (with a side of Cafe noir:)

10:15 AM EST  
Blogger andy said...

hehehe... and for me the no-go is the lolitta-vamp-tuttifrutti melange of tropical fruits with caramel on top, all drowned in vanille and a suffocating powder.....
bytheway: Lucky you that your blog is still on... blogger is having serious troubles with mine and a couple of thousand other blogs.
Have wonderful weekend with lots of talks to your better half.

10:29 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You read my mind. That's what I was planning to do if I can't find the real deal, some etailer Bacon & Coffee concoction. KJ + Cafe Noir or BVC might just work. :-)

10:47 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That kind of girly pinky fruity thingie is usually a no-go for me too :-)
I was having problems with blogger last night, unable to publish, etc. This morning I cannot open some of the blogs I like to read, including yours. I hope the system is up and running soon.
Have a great weekend too!

10:49 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That is a great description!
Sometimes my DH surprises me like that too. He does talk about perfume, but apparently he listens :-)

1:14 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Hey, M, didn't Scentzilla do something recently about something bacon-scented? Can't remember what, though... room spray? Candle?

What a great conversation.

1:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i want to thank many of you , since i do read your reviews but i can not log in....????? thanks again Colombina for taking the time...your husband is a sweet person.
My husband is a scientist and he thinks of perfume in a science type of way....
I am very different ,But i do try to undertand body chemistry. ( well not that as well as he).
Have a wonderful weekend. All of you.

1:53 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Now that you said it...I seem to remember...must go look! Thank you!

1:56 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Blogger seems to be having some problems today, so some features are not working properly. Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.
Have a great weekend!

1:58 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Bwaaaa hahaha, Patty!
I am tempted to erase your post, so that he won't read it and get any ideas :-)
*still laughing*

2:52 PM EST  
Blogger Jenny said...

I always love to read your reviews! This one was great. I was thinking about my husband. He love perfumes, but because I make perfumes for my hobby he is always the first one to snif my creations. When I make a new perfume he knows he has to give his opinion and that happens a lot, he can see me coming and asking for his opinion(again),sometimes he say "mmm nice" before he smelled it because he don't feel like it again. I'm glad I have a sweet sister in law who give great advice. She can tell me what is missing or what needs to be enhanced and can tell me what kind of emotion the perfume gives her. There are a lot of people who love perfumes but a few who can describe them like you.

2:56 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you for your kind words! I wish I had someone to discuss scents with, but it must be even more important for you to get feedback to your own scents.

3:01 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I have a poor sweet man at home who constantly gets my wrist waved at his nose (sometimes too enthusiastically: I've ended up wacking him a couple of times). Then he dutifully and noisily aspirates all the molecules of my skin and usually says "lovely"... Then, frowning: "is it chypre?"
He's usually right: he knows my passion for the genre. He even enjoyed our sniffing excursion to Guerlain. Let's say he's on his way to being a very well educated man!

5:49 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I see that, compared to you, we have a long way to go. My dear husband might now what musk is, but chypre...? No, I don't think so :-) You are lucky! :-)

6:03 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hola columbina

i am profoundly impressed by your perfume reviews, which seem to match my taste, as i remember it.

i am a professional dancer/choreographer and a perfume fanatic. a few years ago i got cancer and after brain surgery i was no longer able to smell. i will not describe the wound of this loss, but you can imagine.
at last, i am compelled to look again at my perfume bottles and apply their divine elixirs, to imagine their intoxitaing beauty,, and try to gauge reponses.

also i am constantly wondering what my date might be wearing, if i ever go on a date again

all of my personal perfumes have been discontinued: ( i think the range is woodsy/incensey/spicey)
feminite du bois
aveda perfumes ( ix chel, iyatiku, thea, eros)
dolce vita by dior
feu d'issey (didnt go so great w my chemistry but i loved the bottle)

i still have my precious serge lutens ambre sultane,, and l'artisan's premiere figue for summer.

colombina, i think we may have similar skin chemistry and i ask you to recommend for me a new arsenal of seduction... and also mens fragrances that i can command my suitors to wear.
i tested some on my friends, whose descrictive abilities are -- moderate-- and they liked TROUBLE by boucheron on me, and ANGEL, as well as bulgari's omnia and omnia cristalline, and d+g's light blue. their descriptions arent very evocative,, i am hoping they are selecting fragrances that are within the range i liked before ( although sometimes my taste was a little too "unique", trying hard to not be mainstream,, so now i guess is the time to find a signature scent that is desirable to those who are within my fragrance range. i just dont want to smell floral/fruity/mainstream. but i guess i could tolerate something fresher or SLIGHTLY more floral than my previous taste.

i appreciate your recommendations or suggestions, i want to feel sensual again, and find a fragrance to match me!!

7:55 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i forgot to mention that another fragrance element i used to like was amber, so i am particularly agitated when it is mentioned as a primary ingredient in new releases ( prada, euphoria, ambre passion, i think alien and righ hippe as well), because i will not be able to identify them myself and determine if these might become a new signature scent for me. again, your recommendations would be welcomed, as i read your reviews with a tangle of envy and insatiability...
please please suggest some deliciously sensual and refreshing perfumes that would complement a curvaceous dancer with amber skin and long dark hair ( growing back after chemo), 'exotic' features and freckles, world traveler adventurer, a balance of calm and of dynamic energy, described as 'warm' by friends but also described as aloof until they know me. i need your expert opinion!

8:10 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear R,
I cannot even begin to imagine what you must have gone through...It is so great that you are starting going back to your old favorites and looking for new perfumes to love.
We do seem to have very similar tastes as I would count Chaos,
NU by YSL, Feminite du bois and even Trouble among my favorites.
In your 2nd comment you mention that you like amber and would like a sensual and refreshing perfume. Straightaway it made me think of Fifi Chachnil, a wonderfully sensual, but not overly sweet, actually even a little spicy scent. I love it and would highly recommend it. Also, try Idole by Lubin (if you like Chaos, you might like this one). Also 2 perfumes by Andy Tauer, L'Air du Desert Marocain and Le Maroc pour Elle (the second is actually a lovely, righ floral scent). And finally, I would also recomment Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio, a rich, spicy, dark, sensual scent. All of these are availble at online stores like Beautyhabit, Aedes, Luckyscent).
Bestest of wishes,

9:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahhhh muchas gracias!!

well i will be dragging a friend with me to some fancy parfumerie to try to sample some of the ones you mentioned! since ordering all of them online isnt a financial option of course. i think there is an aedes store in nyc, where i will go in springtime for medical appointments...
yes, it is very hard to read these evocative desriptions and never know FOR MYSELF what it is, but i will settle for rave reviews from friends, and imagining up how it is , probably based on your poetic and detailed descriptions. off to read about the perfumes you recommended!!

3:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the going trends, your husband's idea of a perfume may be bottled in a few years. Try to get a patent on it ;-). He sounds like a sweetheart.

9:05 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not sure I'd want him to smell like that though :-)

9:46 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Actually now that I … (the aforementioned husband) … have had time to ponder this ... I think I'd lean more to a male cologne scent that was axle-grease based, with a hint of bowling alley wax, and with a subtle spritz of pork rinds and hot wings sauce.

To all the wives whose husbands display no interest in perfume (and I barely do, despite my wife's kind portrail) ... it's perhaps not so much the lack of interest but a lack of comprehension that the topic of fragrances can consume women a thousand times more than men can be passionate about something like... say ... fantasy football.

Keep up the good writing darling Colombina ... even if I don't fathom the reasons for your blog's following, I certainly respect its popularity!

Mr. Colombina

11:18 PM EST  

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