Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perfume: More Chanel Sniffs, and some Lutens

I ran by Nordstrom's one last time, to sniff more of those Les Exclusifs testers.

28 La Pausa: For the first few minutes, this was sunlit-bright, feminine without being girly, tangy without being citrusy; very nice, though not really exciting. Half an hour later, it was... celery. I've forgotten which note it is that I read so often as celery--ah, yes! It's cedar; I realized it when I read "pencil shavings" in the one-sentence review in BitterGrace notes. Half an hour after that, it shifted from celery to a friendly well-behaved iris, one of those moderately complex, slightly mysterious scents that I don't fall immediately in love with, but that I can imagine becoming addicted to. I think this is worth a modest decant, to help me make up my mind.

31 Rue de Cambon: I didn't like this one bit at first. I got a very rough, furniture-polish or cough-syrup-without-the-fruit opening. Later it grew much sweeter, leathery, providing much of the pleasure of a gourmand without actually including any edible-seeming notes that I could point to. It's dark and dense from beginning to end, while 28 La Pausa is bright and transparent all the way through. If I were the sort to buy perfume on impulse, I suspect I'd be ordering a (small) bottle of this right now.

One thing that I'm realizing from all this Chanel sniffing is that I'm developing a dangerously modern nose--I keep judging these fragrances from the top notes, and being surprised when they utterly transform within half an hour. Oh! And that reminds me:

Serge Lutens Jeaux de Peau: I tried this one at The Perfume House.  I keep being surprised that Serge Lutens' top notes sometimes seem to last for hours before the heart of the scent, much less the base, is revealed. The beginning of this scent was entertainingly yummy, but it was a little too gooey to make me happy--it mostly just made me laugh. I'd largely dismissed it, until I smelled it two or three hours later and found that it had settled down to something more grainy and dry, not in the sense of less sweet, but in the sense that the smooth-frosting "gooey" vibe was gone. I love sweet and grainy, so I'm rethinking this one.

Serge Lutens Vitriol d'oeillet: Cranky and medicinal. I like medicinal. I need to try this again, but that's all I have to say; all that sweet buttered toast on my other hand distracted me from paying this proper attention.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. You're making me re-think my thoughts of most of Lutens...I am notariously impatient, so perhaps that is why I dismiss Lutens so easily.

  2. I rather enjoyed Vitriol d'Oeillet. Yes to the medicinal, and yes to liking medicinal! Can't see paying Serge prices for it, though.

    And Jeux de Peau makes me giggle, too. Somebody at Smell Bent oughta have a go at something like it - it would fit right into the SB range, and it would then be in my price range as well.

    My 31 RC decant is dangerously low. That one's a real shape-shifter if you ask me.

  3. The downtown Portland Nordstrom is my favorite (or maybe second favorite). Whenever I stay in Portland, I like to stay at a hotel that is also very close to there and take advantage of the tax free shopping.

    Vitriol d'Oeillet did nothing for me, and I like medicinal too. I seem to recall it having an odd sweetness that made the whole thing feel like an upset stomach!

  4. I found Vitriol d'Oeillet medicinal at first, but it soon got super soft and silky, like a Bas de Soie for carnation. And I don't even like carnation, but this was a pleasant surprise.

    And Jeux de Peau was a praline, bready bit of scent tomfoolery, yes.

  5. Yo, Frida! Yes, many of them - perhaps most of them? - take a looooooong time to get out of the top notes phase. By the time they're there, it would be easy to have lost interest and stopped sniffing. I'd especially recommend spraying on a bit of Serge Noire and ignoring it for a good two and a half hours.

  6. Yo, Mals! Yeah, Vitriol d'Oeillet doesn't quite seem special enough for that price. But I do love my medicinal perfumes - they work particularly well when I'm in a bad mood - so I'm going to give it another chance or three.

    I must give Smell Bent a try. And I think I do need to get a decant of 31 RC; it's been days since I wrote this post (I am such a comment slacker!) and I'm still remembering the drydown.

  7. Yo, APB! When I lived in the Bay Area, the Nordstrom's perfume department at Stanford Mall was so iffy that I continue to have trouble believing how good it is at Stanford. But I suspect the Portland one will now be my center for Chanel perfumes.

    Sweet, huh? I need to pay better attention next time.

  8. Vanessa! Huh. I suspect that I sprayed so little that by the time Vitriol d'Oeillet could have turned soft, it had faded away. Two sprays next time.

    Yeah, I wish that Jeaux de Peau didn't stay funny for quite so long; I'd like it to develop to the grainy/dry phase a good deal faster.