Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Perfume: Categories

I can never find the perfume I want in a hurry. I rush to the breadboxes on the way out to lunch, hungry for a shot of Cadjmere, and I have to look at the bottoms of each numbered Parfumerie Generale bottle while Himself points out that he has an early afternoon meeting. Or I can see a Serge Lutens cap back there, but what is it?

So I've decided to stop organizing the bottles by house and start organizing them entirely by category. That leads me to defining the categories. I've figured mine out; what are yours?

Ladylike: This includes different sorts of ladies -- the sort that drive Jaguars at high speed in black-and-white movies, and the sort that go to afternoon tea in black-and-white movies. They all seem to be very self-possessed, and, yes, they're all in black and white -- there is limited welcome for modern smells here. It includes No. 19, and Balmain Ivoire, and Bas de Soie, and all of those reissued classic Lancomes -- that sort of thing.

Off to the side, eyeing all that confident decorum, are the modern flower bombs - things like A La Nuit or Tubereuse Couture. They don't really feel comfortable there, but I don't have enough flower bombs for their own category, so they'll just have to talk among themselves. They can probably also make conversation with my vintage minis of Tabu and Replique -- both of them wrapped in tiny zip bags and sitting in a little metal cup, to avoid toxic spills.

Sticky: And smoky, and furry. Chergui, Tea for Two, Oriental Lounge, Cadjmere, you know the type, right? I find it odd that I include Feminite du Bois (the old curvy bottle) here, but it seems to fit. Coco was lurking in Ladylike, but I decided that it should live here. And Serge Noire isn't altogether happy here, but it has no close companions.

Next there are the Bug Killers. This is not, I should re-emphasize, an insult. Here are the lavender (Brin de Reglisse), the vetiver (Vetiver Tonka), absinthe, cedar (to me, Navegar smells of nothing else) eucalyptus, and so on.

Then comes Leather. I adore leather, so I'm very surprised to find that only two fragrances actually live here. See, Cuir de Russie is in Ladylike, and so is Cuir de Lancome. So this category is just Bandit and Cuir Venenum, and I almost put Cuir Venenum with the bug-killers.

I don't know what to call the next category. The logical term is probably "Fresh", but I've come to associate that term with horrible synthetic citrus being waved at me by desperate sales associates. Along with the need for a better name, I'm realizing that this category needs thinning. It contains perfumes that I both love and respect, like Cristalle and L'Eau Rare Matale. Mixed among them are scents that I love but I just can't decide if I respect, like Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint and Miyake's A Scent. And I fear that I really don't respect Lemon Sugar, or (reformulated) Balmain Vent Vert, or some of the other lemony or bergamot-filled or fruity candidates in this crowd.

Next is Ginger & Sparkles. There are only three things here -- Theorema, Sushi Imperiale, and Orange Star. But they seem to justify their own category.

And finally, the Misfits, with no logical companions. Iris Taizo, Villoresi Musk, and Hermes Hiris all stand alone together. I do keep trying to put Hiris with the ladies, but she protests.

First Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Second Image: By Steven Depolo. Wikimedia Commons.
Third Image: By Darkware. Wikimedia Commons.
Fourth Image: By Mot2. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. This is an interesting way to go, and I like that you've made your own categories. You'll have to report back on whether it helps with finding things quickly.

  2. I like your way of sorting your scents and I love the names you've come up with for your categories. Perhaps instead of "Fresh", which I agree can have such negative connotations for a perfume lover (for me it threatens dreaded dryer sheet musk), you might consider "Crisp" or in honour of a great green like Aliage, "Sporty".

    -- Lindaloo

  3. Hey, Another! After three days, it's going pretty well, but I suppose I need more data points. :) I wore Un Lys yesterday and Hiris today, both perfumes that I haven't worn in quite some times. I consider this a good thing.

  4. Yo, Lindaloo! Hmm. Yes, I like Crisp. (I'm a sports incompetent, so the other choice would make me feel all clumsy. :)) I'm going to use that.

  5. Glad to have been of service. I too am a "sports incompetent" and detest any occasion requiring me to participate in such compulsory "fun".

    -- Lindaloo