(Vintage) Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum Spray

In 2015 I happily purchased this supposedly late 90’s/early 2000’s Chanel No. 5 eau de parfum spray sealed in its box from a seller on Etsy. She said the sealed box was found in the back of her mother’s closet and had likely been there for quite some time. She seemed to think it was vintage though, in 2015. Again, I roughly estimated it to be from the early 2000’s based on her account. Late 1990’s at earliest.

Anyway, it’s delightful. This is one of my favorite bottles of No. 5. I try to use this bottle sparingly but as you can see I’ve definitely worn it.

What to say about No. 5? My nose loves it. Always has and likely always will… It’s a brilliant fragrance. I’d argue it’s one of the most important if not most important fragrances ever composed. Oh those so 1920’s aldehydes; a new invention for that time of course. They’re the glistening, gleaming reminder that Western Civilization can produce true beauty. An olfactory reminder that humans are truly capable of greatness. In this case, Art Deco magic.

I do have lots of vintage bottles with small traces of vintage or older perfume in them like this 1940’s Chanel Gardenia sample flacon. I’ll wait with sharing those and post them all together in the end.

Estée Lauder White Linen

I have this and one other vintage 80’s/90’s travel spray bottle. I bought them at an estate sale and an auction a year or two ago.

Prior to Covid-19 I liked my vintage bottles of Estée Lauder White Linen. I liked them. I even wore the vintage parfum once to a dinner where it mattered what I smelled like… But, I sold it eventually because I didn’t want to keep it badly enough.

Now…my goodness. After my nose has slightly changed this one has gone from a respectable classic to a favorite. And I love it. Love it.

It’s youthful but sophisticated. Some might think White Linen is an “old lady” perfume but I disagree. Obviously it is dated, but it’s so well composed that its debut era doesn’t limit it. And the name? Perfection.

Musky aldehydes. Lily-of-the-valley and rose. Musky… But it’s green though. And oh the vintage oakmoss and amber together! And, all together it’s very much white linen. White, freshly laundered linens hung out to dry in possibly impossibly clean air. Sunshine. Happiness. Genuine happiness…

I’ll definitely be keeping my two vintage, travel size vintage spray bottles and if I use up even one of them I’ll definitely try to find another well preserved vintage bottle. This is one I need to wear.

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Rosa Magnifica

I bought this old formulation bottle from an estate sale in 2018.

This is a bottle I’ve been tempted to part ways with more than once. It’s a very thorny rose. But I’ve grown to love it to the point where I almost long to smell it some days. Created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and Mathilde Laurent it’s very Guerlain indeed.

Rosemary isn’t listed as a note for this one but it is herbal in my opinion and I keep thinking I smell rosemary in particular. Maybe that’s the hyacinth and iris tricking my nose? …I wish I knew more about that part of perfumery and perhaps that’s the direction my blog will take after I review my perfume collection. But anyway, Rosa Magnifica is so herbal. And such a traditional rose… I can also definitely smell the violet as well. It’s a sturdy violet too. Not shrinking in this case. At all… *laugh*

But then there’s that spicy, herbal, thorny rose dominating again. It’s a demanding fragrance in my opinion. Well, at least by today’s standards. Rosa Magnifica debuted in 1999…

But no, I’ll keep this one. And yes, there are at least a few bottles I already know I’m parting ways with.

Lovely Patchouli 55

Years ago I was reading about the Lost Generation and discovered a blog post about Krigler. So, I ordered a sample of Lieber Gustav out of curiosity as it was supposedly worn by both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. I liked it a lot, didn’t want a full bottle but knew I needed to investigate Krigler more. Somewhere I read that Jackie O. wore Lovely Patchouli 55 so I ordered samples of that one along with Manhattan Rose (sounds like a Woody Allen reference). At first I didn’t like 55, but over time I grew to adore it. It expanded my tastes. Helped refine my olfactory palate.

Then in 2017 I bought this full bottle from Krigler. It was very worth it!

I’ve sampled Krigler at least once more since then but never found something I absolutely love. However, I need to try Manhattan Rose (again), English Promenade, and Mediterranean Peach. Maybe others. Krigler is a niche house I thoroughly appreciate and enjoy.

Lovely Patchouli 55 is tangy, sumptuous and elegant patchouli. Resinous. It’s gorgeous. Delicate traces of florals add intrigue and depth. It’s utterly satisfying.

I need to wear 55 this summer. I need to investigate Krigler yet again. I need to keep this one if I take my collection at all seriously…

Shoot The Messenger

Pretentious. Idiotic. Arrogant. Snob. Pompous. Mean. Unaware. These are just a sampling of the “arrows” that are daily shot at me (and have been of course) if I try to interact at all online nowadays. But while I may sometimes be unintentionally mean and I can be a little snobby about matters of taste (not about people and yes there is a difference actually) I’m none of the others. No, I’m really not. And yes, I’m aware many reading this would angrily disagree. (Doesn’t mean they’re right.)

Here’s an idea none of you have seemingly thought of before: you’re shooting the messenger.

When I first started writing about class (as I’ve said many times) I did so out of my own deep frustration at the passive aggressive cattiness people were daily showing me in regard to class in the perfume community online. Often they tried to find some way to outdo me or one-up me. Although it was other more painful things as well. (It’s impossible to discuss perfume without touching issues of class but that’s why you need to be truly kind and broad-minded about it. Not judge people for their collection or taste in a snotty or truly pretentious way in any direction regardless of class, for example. More on that in a second.)

It was toxic competition for years (in the best case scenarios) and it made enjoying the beauty of perfume impossible without suddenly unfollowing lots of people, blocking others, etc. and perhaps not interacting with almost anyone. I didn’t see a way forward with that (although I tried some of it). I had come to be known as what I am: a genuinely nice person. I wanted to interact with people. And so one night I decided that I should do the opposite of being even more careful about sharing my blessings than I already was (some were likely already been upset by what they figured out or what I had shared). I thought to share more. Detail things most people don’t. Truly don’t. I think I thought people would just roll their eyes and metaphorically “walk away”, shrug their shoulders and say “whatever” and then there would be a few others who would be angry. And I surmised that those who would be the angriest would be the vain, egotistical twats who truly just wanted to be superior. But no. Most people were angry. And again, here’s why: you all shot the messenger.

The thing is, if you read my blog (or do a study of the origins and history of the American Social Register) you’ll find that while America doesn’t openly acknowledge our own class system (organized by birth) we do have one. I was raised aware of it because of my father’s academic and intellectual awareness and interests. He lovingly took time to try to explain it as it really is (that was one area in particular where he really did try to be a good parent – with explaining things well). And as people had (at least) quietly always known it to be. It was just almost always relabeled in the US (sometimes to sell things and other times for much more high-minded, Godly and humanistic reasons) and to the credit of many in my country there was actually more social mobility than in many other countries. Maybe even most countries. Almost all countries? We did try to be a true and pure meritocracy. But it’s impossible (to be that purely).

“Impossible?!?! No! That can’t be!” you say. “That’s not right.” (I see your loaded gun pointed at my head. It’s been there for a while.). But unless you’re a dangerous fool or a sociopath you don’t want to destroy human love and/or nuclear families (as class is passed down over the years through both) and unfortunately given that we’re a species with certain tendencies to organize ourselves it’s virtually impossible to totally “get rid” of social classes. It’s just how we naturally arrange ourselves. We can’t help it anymore than we can help our need to eat or use a toilet. Or how we all eventually die…

And that’s why we have to be kind to each other. (And aware of reality, and the true mechanics of class, and deal with our racism, anti-semitism and etc.) And in the world of perfume what I was hoping for was a shift towards more acceptance of each other, including our different backgrounds and a refocus away from competition about who was “better” towards a purer focus on the objective beauty of perfume. Beauty for the sake of beauty instead of the nitpicking, narcissistic daily battle the perfume community seemed to have become. *sigh* (My sighs are meant to convey the real frustration of another human being by the way and not the idiotic or melodramatic whimpering of a trashy, stupid, bourgeois jackass you so desperately want to imagine I am. Force through delusional, blind and stubborn rage to be true.)

In an age of sincere rage about the promises made toward egalitarian progress that were truly broken over the last few decades worldwide…I seemingly pointed out the truth. About myself and about all of us. A raw, ugly and often tragic truth about life. Then most people (reading this blog) proceeded to hunt me in (your) their various ways. Justified it along the way through (sometimes narcissistic) insults.

But there’s good news. We can fix things. The big, meaningful things motivating any justified (misdirected) anger.

Actually, ironically, when blue bloods controlled more (They still have unspoken power and are at least subconsciously extolled in society, albeit they’re often misunderstood and maligned.) there was more local accountability and more of a sense of honor in our leadership. One American leader (who quickly comes to mind), Robert Kennedy was raised in such a Patrician environment of duty, honor and respect. He was infinitely far from a perfect man (as most of us are imperfect humans). But…he did care. Genuinely care. And he was deep enough, and well educated enough and intellectually mature enough to be a true leader on a grand level. The true WASPS and those who were heavily influenced by that culture in their schools and the groups they tried to assimilate into (and did to some degree) were light years away from what we know today… After the late 1990’s the cachet of the Social Register was almost destroyed entirely by the mythology of celebrity. And although it still exists, it’s not…what it was. Even the American Bush family (as much as we talk about their clubs at Yale) isn’t truly what once was.

They were a flawed people for certain. Ugly at times. But at its best it was about honor. Truth. Meaning. It was about finding some genuine goodness in a brutal world. But they lost their teeth last century… (Sometimes literally) And the pure wolves took over. But…ironically that’s the work of egalitarianism. (I see that gun.) Misguided goodness.

So…as you try pathetically to snub me these days using the tools (you might not understand) of the frozen elite or call me idiotic or shallow or whatever insults suit you best, please realize as I’ve said before: I’m not your enemy. If there was a genuinely happier or better life for all of us I would wholeheartedly join it especially not despite if it means us becoming more equal in our blessings. I don’t look down on anyone for pure reasons of class. No one who’s raised with any sense of true (stable) good taste and honor does look down on other people as people. I just pointed out reality. If you’re not a grandiose, fake, simpering, dim and sociopathic asshole let’s hope we can salvage something of a broken, flawed but wonderful country together (in the US). And for those of you elsewhere I apologize. The US meant well but we were foolish in thinking we could fix things so magically and perfectly as to recreate Heaven on Earth. (Not that I’m advocating evil or anti-idealism or anti-Americanism.) Hopefully our (my) country will grow-up soon though and realize what we did when we decided to run the world (or when that role fell on us)…and often send many of our best to their untimely, almost certain (and often heroic) deaths.

I’m not all that hopeful. But I at least wanted to try to open your eyes. Stop you from just blindly insulting me or anyone who makes you uneasy…

Chanel Coco Mlle. eau de parfum…My true Sunday fragrance… I might even post it to Instagram.

This perfume was purchased at Harrod’s in the early summer of 2012.

Growing-up my absolute favorite fragrances were Shalimar eau de cologne, Navy (a drugstore fragrance by Covergirl), and Burberry Brit. And in the summer for two years in elementary school I wore way too much Malibu Musk. I’d even, and especially wear it on bike rides. (*laugh*) I think I thought body spray was meant to be worn during sports and I biked a lot those summers… I recall my mother telling me that traditionally women wore eau de toilette in the evening and somehow, based on that line of thought, I reasoned that body spray must be meant for athletics. Body spray? Meant to be worn while you sweat? Anyway.

One night in college in Pennsylvania on my way to study I opened a page in my Vogue magazine while I walked (I had to take a peak on my way to study but I managed not to hit anyone) and smelled a sample of Miss Dior Chérie. I was smitten by the mix of popcorn, chocolate (this was supposed to be caramel but I got the notes confused temporarily with Angel for whatever reason as I wrote this and wrote chocolate instead), strawberries and patchouli. …And did I also smell cigar smoke?! (Not a literal note I don’t think…but it did literally remind me of cigar smoke.) …It was somehow naughty but still refined. Fun and intelligent. So, I bought a bottle and wore it often enough for a couple of years… Especially while I was first dating my husband. I once even smoked a Dominican cigar with him on a date while wearing it. Ha! (The only time I’ve ever smoked.) And then we watched…fireworks. (It was the Fourth of July.) Fitting, I suppose.

…Previously I had worn Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs and Sheer Veil by Vera Wang. *big eyes and sigh* Delicious.

When my husband and I traveled to Switzerland…I bought a bottle of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bouquet No. 2 and when I was at a pharmacy in England just outside of London I bought a bottle of Chanel Coco Mlle. eau de toilette. I didn’t know what I should wear for a fragrance (I hadn’t brought anything along) and the lady helping me decided Coco Mlle. was right for me. She had very good taste too, actually. And I instantly loved it. The kind lady was pleased and I started wearing Coco Mlle. on the vacation regularly.

…Then we had an unfortunate experience of oversleeping in our hotel room in the Cotswolds and we were yelled at and asked to leave. I think it may have been a combination of excellent beds and the delicious French food from the night before (It was a French hotel – they spoke to each other in French.) …I was very frazzled and I packed my Coco Mlle. in some odd place and so I couldn’t find it the next day.

Worried I’d lost it entirely I bought this bottle. The eau de parfum. (*heart eyes*) At Harrods. The eau de toilette is now long since been entirely used but this bottle remains… And I changed my mind and decided to actually wear and review this one “today”. (Sunday and tonight actually as the Orangers En Fleurs has worn away and I’m wearing Coco Mlle. as I write this.) …I just am not in the mood for another somewhat grand and opulent Houbigant “today” (literally read tomorrow as I put it in a quotation marks for a reason) or this evening. What can I say? I’m being honest, I guess. Literally. I just got tired of the Houbigant orange blossom.

*shrug* It’s not…rare. Ha! Coco Mlle. was so popular for a good number of years (for good reason) that I’d bet most people who can identify perfume at all would have to know it on anyone. Again, literally… But I still really like this perfume anyway. It’s been too long since I’ve been to the UK (we had plans to visit this spring that were cancelled due to Covid-19) and a part of me (literally an emotional part of course) feels sad nostalgia now when I smell Coco Mlle.. But…oh well. Truly. Hopefully soon we can return to England and my husband and I can pick out another bottle of perfume. Common or not. Grand or not. I just want to return… To England.

Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs parfum

I bought this Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs (pure) parfum from Saks last Christmas.

If I had a second signature this would be the one. Both in parfum and the eau de parfum. I love this dominant orange blossom (with my skin chemistry). Orange blossom and I go well together.

A dear friend who has since left us suggested I should wear Orangers En Fleurs… She was an amazing person. She lived well into her 90’s. And she was also a woman of great taste. Sometimes I even wonder if I should wear this one much more often or as my signature as people always seem to like when I wear it… She was just the only person brave and kind enough to tell me in such a genuine and helpful way, it seems.

I’ll review the edp tomorrow, but of course I’ll keep this and the edp. I wouldn’t be without it actually.

Of course I’m taking a quick break from Chanel. I think I’ll review all of my Houbigants now. There aren’t that many so I’ll finish that house.

No. 22 eau de parfum by Chanel

I bought this a bit more full from eBay in 2018.

I’m not even going to bother trying Chanel No. 22 eau de parfum. It’s No. 22. I’m going to keep it but I really don’t feel like wearing that one right now. (Maybe if I could smell it on Truman Capote I’d change my mind. More on that in a second.)

…Actually I do wonder though if the folks who mostly started “loving” it in the last couple of years or so still “love” it as much. Considering that most people experience it as the tuberose fragrance I now smell (Chanel highlights and markets that fact or has)…I imagine it would take an unusual person to truly wear it well and enjoy it. Truly, maybe one or two of the folks who claimed it actually suit the mood of No. 22 but I question if it’s all that well coupled with all of the individuals who decided it was for them, especially as “the tuberose”.

It’s just so sweet. Such a bold white floral. And so…brash. I really do think of Blanche DuBois when I smell it. But, again, Blanche when she was young and sassy not in the state of dismay Williams introduces us to her in. Blanche at her best. So maybe not Blanche DuBois… Maybe more Truman Capote at his height of glamor. Truman Capote would have worn No. 22 extraordinarily well… Both as I first experienced it and then as the Chanel-tuberose-beauty I realized most smell. He was both (I’ve mentioned other people who I imagine would have suited it well in previous posts)… (I imagine as the Manhattan man about town he was he would have worn Bois Des Îles well too.) So, if you’re reading this and you’ve claimed it as your signature ask yourself how similar you are to Truman Capote (female and/or male). Or, that’s my opinion at least.

But if you’re not just desperately trying to be right or insulting or upsetting and superior but instead you’re being honest and trying to truly love yourself…I do hope you can find your actual signature fragrance. If it’s not No. 22. …Because some people really do struggle with that one. But it’s fun to have signature. Like a theme in decorating or a party. It’s actually a fairly complex concept I suppose but I think it boils down to expressing yourself sincerely in olfactory form… (Or themes in decorating or parties.)

…Actually, Truman Capote’s black and white party comes to mind in particular… Golly, wouldn’t the sensual yet charming and refined white florals in No. 22 have suited him especially well that night!? Some things just go together well. He was an unusual man and a rare artist. And he was fortunate enough to be able to “make something of himself”. Maybe you don’t have a published anything yet…maybe you’re not even an artist…but his sort of person… His sort. I think that’s the sort for No. 22.

(Below is a photo from Google Images of Mr. Capote.)

Chanel La Pausa eau de parfum

I purchased this La Pausa from Chanel this spring.

This is my signature. I loved 28 La Pausa and I love La Pausa as well.

It actually reminds me slightly of the way the air smelled on the farm my great grandparents homesteaded at the turn of the 20th Century. In the morning.

We’d visit my grandmother who moved back to the farm to take care of her aging parents in the 1960’s and then stayed until she passed away in the 2000’s. And we’d see other family as well. Attend the family church nearby. Take long walks through green, tree-lined rolling pastures on a gravel road. The enormous sky above. Birds dancing on the horizons. My great uncle’s ever joyful dog following us. Shadows growing longer as the walk progressed onward.

But that was long ago. The Earth there was still mostly just the gentle but well tended farmland of the last century. And regardless of how you feel about it, it’s true. Everything was cleaner. Cooler. More romantic. More elegant. Heavenly.

But anyway, the air. In the morning I’d wake up to hear my grandmother below us cooking in the black and white tiled, yellow walled kitchen. My mother and I would share the room facing North above the kitchen. Also walls painted sunny yellow. I was too scared of the dark in that old house to sleep in one of the rooms alone as a little girl. It wasn’t a creepy house at all, but…it was overwhelming. When I visited the Bahamas, in the Bermuda Triangle of course, it felt very similar. Almost out of time. Like a plane that set off in the 1920’s or 30’s and never landed. You’d look up out of the windows in the upstairs room facing South and see endless sky. All the vintage items and antiques. My grandmother in her 70’s and 80’s. The smell of dew drenched wild flowers and wheat coming through the open windows in the morning. It’s hard to describe well.

It was magic.

Of course for those who care about such things I should say that the house was built in 1929 by my great grandfather. It was probably around 3,000 sq. ft.? (With an unfinished basement of course) I’ve tried to guess in the past and I suspect it was larger than I thought after living in our home. I haven’t been there in too long although my cousins are renovating it. After my grandmother left for a nursing home she wasn’t there to tend to it and eventually it’s needed work. Although an aunt had been keeping an eye on her for years my grandmother did love that beautiful old farm house and she took good care of it.

But where to go to smell that cool, floral and expansive air now? That fresh air? Where? Does it exist anymore? It wasn’t sea air. It wasn’t mountain air. It wasn’t the soft air of England or the gentle air of Switzerland. It was big, and grand. What inspired Aaron Copland. America of the past…

It’s heartbreaking. And if you have any sensitivity to things not material but more of the spirit I can’t help but think you’d agree. We all need air to breath, but that sort of air helps us live.