Thursday, April 22, 2010

SOTD: Chanel Cristalle, and the Eighty Percent Perfume

I occasionally think of a concept that I call the "eighty percent perfume". The idea is that while I can't imagine settling on just one fragrance, I can fairly easily imagine wearing the same one for, say, four days out of five.

This wouldn't necessarily be my very favorite perfume. When I try to find words to explain why, the phrase "heartbreakingly beautiful", seen now and then in reviews, comes to mind. The most beautiful things are often painful to spend too much time with. That's why No. 19 parfum, for example, is not an eighty percent scent for me - it's too lovely to wear every day.

But an eighty percent candidate should be lovely enough to wear day after day, changeable enough to stay interesting hour after hour, and not too jarring or challenging even on stressed or grumpy days.

I was going to make a list of perfumes that could be my eighty percent, but then I realized that I can only come up with two candidates: Chanel Cristalle, and Chanel Cuir de Russie. Both are perfect.  But I couldn't possibly decide between them, so maybe I'd have to make them both forty percent perfumes.

So, what's your eighty percent candidate?

Review Roundup: Is here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Don't know that I have one. To be honest, the weather plays such a big part in my fragrance choices, and it changes so frequently, that it would be difficult to choose only one.

    I might possibly be able to pick one per season, however. I think I get what you're after - something that's attractive and comfortable, something that feels like you, something that smells great without wrenching all your attention to itself. There are scents that are gorgeous and that "eat my head," - I can't think of anything else if I'm wearing them.

    For spring, I'd pick Le Temps d'une Fete. Summer would be PdR Rose d'Ete. Fall... that's tougher. Shalimar Light, probably. Winter I suppose I could live in Parfum Sacre.

    I'm starting to not like this concept, because it appears to me that I couldn't settle down like a faithful spouse with just four fragrances. Until two years ago, I always did this "wear one fragrance until it's either gone or I'm sick of it" deal, and I'm not ready to go back into the cage.

  2. I agree with museinwoodenshoes, when the weather changes I have to change my perfume, so I need a bunch of 80% perfumes.

    But my perfumes also have textures and places in my mind. So, I associate Tauer's Incense Rose with the fur collar of my winter coat. And Creed's Virgin Island Water is the smell of my cotton beach dress with sand still clinging to it from my last vacation.

    My perfumes have colours for me too. Ormonde Jayne Woman is dark green and black and I like to wear it with dark colours and plaids and flannel or velvet. But Today I am wearing M.A.C. Naked Honey which is yellow and pale green (in my head) and it needs a light coloured gauzy cotton shirt.

    It's kind of a synthesthesia. I hear music too for some of them. Don't get me started.

  3. I agree that perfumes have colour associations, though MAC Naked Honey is the colour of the bottle for me ie a light orange, Crunchie wrapper colour.

    I was thinking this week that Rykiel Woman Not For Men! could be an "almost wear all the time perfume", so would qualify here, also Tom Ford White Suede and Ormonde Jayne Tiare. And Kenzo Eau de Fleur de Magnolia. D'you know what? - this is starting to look suspiciously like the beginnings of a wardrobe. Okay, any two of these, then!

  4. Oh I love Ormonde Jayne Tiare. I've been wearing it to bed lately. It could really be a cross over scent into different seasons for me.

  5. Hey, Mals! Yes, you have it exactly right - attractie, comfortable, everything you say. And you don't have to be a _faithful_ scent-spouse - you wear other things once in a while, in the other twenty percent of the time. You just have a favorite.

    Though now that we're talking about spouses, and I suppose leading into harems, I have a vision of all of the other bottles being angry and jealous and playing mean-girl games...

    In any case, I need to try the three of your four that I've never tried.

    Greetings, Krista! Yes, I thought I'd need one for every season, but it's entirely possible that I could love Cuir de Russie all year round. Right now I'm convinced that I could love Cristalle all year round, in spite of the evidence, in my own blog, that I don't wear Cristalle in the winter.

    I like the synesthesia. For me, perfumes are usually textures and moods, though a few also have an associated color or garment. Art of Shaving Sandalwood is my rumpled white linen shirt, for example. (And the shirt is wearing out! I need a replacement.) Music, now, that sounds fascinating.

    flittersniffer! Now I need to try the ones on your list that I haven't tried, too. Yep, it sounds like a very nice wardrobe. :)

    I need to try Tiare. I expectd to love Ormonde Woman and didn't, so I illogically haven't tried any more Ormonde Jaynes. I should rectify that. (And try Ormonde Woman again - I've become reconciled to several "acquired taste" notes since I last tried it.)

  6. I agree with Krista. Tiare, although I only tried it for the first time yesterday(!) is pretty high up the 80% list. Could be another infatuation though.

    On the synesthesia - perfumes are usually shapes for me. Not always - but sometimes. For instance Narciso Rodriguez is a donut shape for me. But imagine a gauzy donut made of smoke and shimmer. Too odd?

  7. Yo, SignatureScent! Hmmm. Again, must try Tiare.

    Shapes; that's very interesting. And I love the image of the donut and smoke and shimmer. Not too odd, not at all.