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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Scent of a Woman

How many times have you fallen in love with the idea of something - and then found the reality doesn't deliver?

For me it was a recent experience with a perfume.

I have discovered perfume blogs - and what heaven they are! Such knowledgeable people, writing about top notes and dry downs, and so wittily and well written.

I used to be a mega perfume fan and would eagerly dash off to stores which had the first supplies of hot new releases, among them, I remember, Knowing, which I still love; Boudoir and Cabotine de Gres (pooh!).

Anyway,  most of the perfume blogs have a very good search function so I spent ages happily finding old perfumes I used to wear and reading the reviews.

I'd noticed in a couple of fiction books I was reading that the heroines seemed to be synonymous with a fragrance called Fracas. So I started looking it up.

It's in the top 10 of the world's top perfumes in the exellent book Perfumes: The A-Z guide by Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin.

I saw from blogs and comments that it's very distinctive; you have to be in the mood to wear it; it is extremely sexy. "White flower heaven,"  "class in a bottle" "rich, fragrant, captivating" are a few of the comments.

The perfume, by Robert Piguet, dates from 1948 but is available from some stores including Harrod's.

I was in a frenzy of anticipation to try it and it seemed like an eternity before I could get into Harrod's to try it.

Some of the blogs caution that you should be sparing with Fracas as it can be overpowering. So I made sure I only had a small squirt.

And what a disappointment!

Perfectly pleasant but somewhat insipid. No sign of the punch I was expecting. I recognised the smell instantly: it's hard to describe but you will have smelt it on others. I kept sniffing my wrist hoping the dry down was going to be better, but no, it faded away like a sigh.

But what this exercise did do was re-ignite my interest in perfumes. I am now reading up on the latest trends, which, folks are oud and amber, and look forward to trying new releases for Christmas. And maybe I will start to review them here.

My all-time favourites are Diorella and Knowing, both chypres. I wish Dior would bring back Diorella in eau de parfum formulation! Considering it is also in the world's top 10 fragrances, it's surprising you can only get it in eau de toilette.

I also remember nostalgically other perfumes which were all the rage when I was young, which I didn't wear at the time: Aqua Manda, Kiku (in its round yellow bottles), Anais Anais and In Love by Hartnell.  My mum's neighbour used to wear Coty's L'Aimant and we always knew when Holly our cat had been in her house because she stank of it aftewards!

Here are the perfumes of my life. What are yours?

The perfumes of my life
The first ones - pre-teen and teenage:
Pretty Peach by Avon
Sea Jade by Yardley
Midnight by Dorothy Gray
Charlie by Revlon

In my 20's
Cinnabar by Estee Lauder
L'Eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake
Chanel No 5

Chanel Cristalle
Chanel No 19
Oscar de la Renta

In my 30's
Cabotine de Gres by Gres
Lumiere by Rochas
Byzance by Rochas
Magie Noire by Lancome
Jicky by Guerlain
Violette by Penhaligon's
Diorella by Dior
Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood
Flowerbombe by Viktor & Rolf

In my 40s
Aromatics Elixir by Clinique
Eau Dynamisante by Clarins
Diorissimo by Dior
Knowing by Estee Lauder
Malabah by Penhaligon's

Some perfume blogs to visit:


Maggie May said...

I have been down the line of different types when I was young and the very first perfume I ever used was Devon Violets that I had given for a present when I was under 10 yrs old.
I tend to go for flowery ones and am especially fond of Rose.

I think you have to try on perfume as the chemistry of one's skin can greatly alter the smell.
Never buy with out testing it out.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Buggles Balham High Road said...

I have three.

Je Reviens by Worth
Eau du Soir by Sisley
Mitsouko by Guerlain

For men: Vetiver by Guerlain

Anonymous said...

From a male perspective:

Old Spice Lime

Faberge West
Carven Vetiver
Jade East
Monsieur Houbigant
Aramis 900

Max Factor Wild Ginger, Fresh amber, Fresh spice
Habit Rouge

Habit Rouge

Avon Black Suede