Punchy, sharp and green orange blossom mixes with gummy jasmine, tuberose, 90’s bergamot, and orchid in Truly Lace (Coty 1992). Then ylang ylang, rose and lily-of-the-valley blast in although they don’t overshadow anything, especially the musk, amber and cedar that chime in slightly after.
Finally, vanilla tinged oakmoss arrives. It’s very earthy and green while also being intensely floral. It perfectly matches the 1990’s does Victoriana motif of the label on the bottle.
Top notes: orange blossom, gardenia, green notes, fruity notes and bergamot. Middle notes: tuberose, orchid, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose. Base notes: sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss, vanilla and cedar.
I thought about it some and realized my new “signature” should be…safe. As in, people can imitate it if they want (for the rest of my life) but it will never matter. Vintage Acqua Di Parma Colonia is perfect for that purpose. It was a favorite among the Hollywood Set of the 1950’s including David Niven, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. It’s just that good. And that untouchable.
My unique pheromones will be my true signature. They always have been. In fact, everyone has their own scent.
And, of course, Orangers En Fleurs, very vintage No. 22, and the combination of Jo Malone Red Roses with Fleur de Feu will still all be signatures but only saved for certain occasions. Acqua Di Parma Colonia is what I’ll wear when “I don’t want to think about it”. It’s my new signature. And it really is very much “me” too.
I’m happy with it.
(Via Google Images)
Of course the iris in Infusion d’Iris (Prada 2007) is almost profound, but an honorable mention must go to the variations of orange. The citrus in this scent is so welcome and pretty. And you can’t describe Infusion d’Iris without appreciating the warm-incense, balsamic, and vanillic-smoky base notes. But, it’s also necessary to say that despite the frothy, almost heavy richness of the base the sparking iris is perhaps buoyed by the citrus (?) and floats sublime.
Very spring-like perfection.
Top notes: African orange flower, orange, mandarin orange, and neroli. Middle notes: galbanum, mastic and iris. Base notes: benzoin, Virginia cedar, incense, and vetiver.
Nose: Daniela (Roche) Andrier
When I found a bottle of very vintage Chanel No. 22 from the 1940’s or earlier by chance in 2015 I knew after wearing it for a day or two that it was me. Yes. Me. My actual soul in olfactory form.
Part of finding your signature fragrance is about being honest and having genuine self-awareness and the other part of it is pure luck.
I had loved lots of other fragrances since early childhood. My first perfume was Max Factor Le Jardin when I was four years old. But not until I discovered the old formulation of No. 22, possibly the original formulation, did I truly identify my authentic signature fragrance.
The newer versions are lovely and similar but they’re not quite as much of a vivid representation of my soul. I still count them as one of my signatures but not as easily.
One of my signatures? Yes. After I shared for years that No. 22 was my signature many people online and otherwise told me they associated that fragrance with me and then unfortunately a few made it their own signature out of less than exemplary motives.
A friend of mine who understood me better than most suggested I wear Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs. “What are you wearing right now?” she once asked when I wore Orangers En Fleurs. “You should wear that!” she advised kindly.
Sadly, she’s since deceased (she was in her late 90’s) and whenever I smell Orangers En Fleurs I think of her and of freedom from people’s ill-intentions. Also, it smells absolutely amazing on me.
But where No. 22 was my soul until my mid 30’s, Fleur de Feu (combined with Jo Malone Red Roses) has fit me better in the last two years (and recently) than anything else. It’s intensely personal in regard to my soul.
What will my signature be in a year though? In a year a lot can change and even now I’m starting to feel myself edging away from totally identifying with my concoction of vintage and non-vintage roses. I’ll still buy an old bottle of Fleur de Feu but the search is on for my new signature. Maybe it’ll be my signature afor the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t guarantee it anymore. And yet, it might be. I still smell No. 22 and identify myself in my youth with all of the hope, innocence, optimism, joy and warmth of my soul in those years.
A tart but voluptuous rose is the dominant note in this vintage gem (Woods of Windsor unknown). It’s also a green, resinous rose with possible accompanying notes of at least violet and geranium? Perhaps there’s also sandalwood (myrrh?) and heliotrope? Amber? At any rate, it’s wonderfully nostalgic and exactly what I was in the mood for today – an airy, cathartic rose.
I’ve always wanted to learn to sail. I have family and friends who sail very well, but they live near the ocean. Here in Minnesota people sail on lakes in smaller boats, but of course it’s not quite the same thing as the ocean.
In junior high my school had a day every year when we were allowed to do whatever we chose from a list they provided. A good friend of mine and I would always choose to ride horses and that friend was excellent at sailing. She had spent six months on the ocean with her older sister and parents in their sailboat as a child. After riding one year we discussed the parts of a ship and how to tack on the way back to school.
One of my mother’s dearest friends put her son in a sailing class one summer to keep him busy back in the 1960’s and he’s turned it into his life. He spends his time sailing people’s yachts around for them.
I just wish I’d learned to sail. Maybe on my long list of things I need to do before I’m 90 I should add sailing.
What’s on your list?
I met Mark in November of 2009, Mark and I started dating in January of 2010 (I took the picture above in December of 2009), and we became very serious in the fall of 2010. Then we were married in the summer of 2011.
All of the next ten years we spent together even though we separated twice. I stayed even through both separations to keep things even keel for my son. Someone very wisely recommended that to me at the time and it was excellent advice. Both times Mark and I worked through our issues and reunited.
Mark and I are good friends besides being husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend. And, while we had a very difficult start we’ve continued to work through it.
But, 10 years ago Mark and I became a couple and as I write that I’m reminded of something a smart friend once said (the older sister of the friend below on the left), “I mean, when do you count the start of your relationship? Is it the first kiss? The first night you spend together? The first date? Or is it when you first start having feelings for each other? And is it possible to even remember when all those moments happened perfectly?” The idea being that it isn’t something you can start neatly with stop watch. It happens when it happens and it’s intuitive and, of course, has to be truly consensual.
Based on that, my relationship with Mark started in January of 2010 after our first date. Mark had given me a hug goodbye after our lunch at an Asian fusion restaurant. I looked forward to hopefully hearing from him again afterwards yet I was resigned to whatever happened. But, he started texting me less than an hour later (extremely unusual behavior for him after a date) and it was wonderful and we made plans to see each other again. And again. And again. Despite the pain and troubles we just didn’t want to ever truly say goodbye to one another. We still haven’t.
After our wedding one of my cousins from the West Coast visited and brought the family clock and cute Delft Blue salt and pepper shakers as she was on her way back home from visiting our relatives in Norway. She’s at the far right of the photo above, I’m in the middle and Mark is on the left (in my mother’s old kitchen and the lighting is bad).
(In this photo I’m wearing my 1930’s platinum and diamond ring shown below. This ring is now somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Ha!)
At first it seems Ambre Gris is an intense if exceptionally well blended scent (Pierre Balmain 2008) but it stealthily and quietly demures into self-possessed serenity… The pink pepper is noticeable and flanked by benzoin, myrrh, luscious florals and a brilliantly certain but also subtle guaiac wood.
It’s sweet, warm, almost salty, earthy and yet very refined. Ambre Gris is really quite stunning…
Nose: Guillaume Flavigny.
Top notes: pink pepper, benzoin, myrrh, and cinnamon. Middle notes: tuberose and immortelle. Base notes: ambergris, white musk, guaiac wood, and benzoin.
No. 4 (Jil Sander 1990) has a very warm and heady start. It’s a gorgeous oriental with particularly notable anise and geranium that eventually mix with nutmeg and myrrh to create spicy grandeur. And, of course, being a late 80’s/early 90’s fragrance the florals are big and beautiful. It’s perfect for a colder day as it sort of resembles mulled wine at times, but on a warmer day when the scent can fully bloom (especially the musk, patchouli and sandalwood), No. 4 is truly breathtaking and memorable.
Vintage Poême (Lancôme 1995) is round and luminous. The honey-hued florals are alternately soapy and juicy, which sounds rather odd but doesn’t present as anything other than a perfect sort of beauty…
Imagine taking a peach infused milk bath in a clawfoot bathtub with fresh mimosa, angel’s trumpets, freesia, and daffodil bouquets sitting in a sunny, open windowsill nearby.
It’s supple, rich and lovely with a slightly vanillic amber bitterness that illuminates the base creating a prismatic, warm light.
Top notes: peach, Himalayan poppy, plum, green notes, black currant, mandarin orange, datura, bergamot and narcissus. Middle notes: Rose, jasmine, freesia, leather, mimosa, orange blossom, tuberose, vanilla flower, ylang ylang, and heliotrope. Base notes: musk, amber, tonka bean, vanilla, orange blossom and cedar.
Nose: Jacques Cavallier