Perfume Pen Pals: S-Perfume S-ex, Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles and Parfums MDCI Enlevement au Serail


You owned Parfums MDCI Enlèvement au Serail? At $610 a pop? Hey, big spender! I haven’t smelled it, but it sounds absolutely gorgeous -- you're right, like the DNA of the new Eve.

I will point my trotters in the direction of Scent Bar and clippity-clop over there to investigate. And it will be an excuse to take another surreptitious whore's bath in Amouage Homage Attar, the transcendentally beautiful perfume of goddesses.

And speaking of men (like you) who appear from the ether of cyberspace to discuss baroque perfumes, I recently heard from a kid I knew in 5th grade at the Anglo-American School in Moscow. Except now he’s a law professor at an Ivy League college. He'd stumbled upon KP Smells and wanted to share his love for Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles. Are you familiar with this one?

I checked it out on the fume blogs and it sounded right up my furry alley: opulent, incensey, civet-y, so I tracked down a teeny bottle of parfum.

It's so interesting: Nag Champa hippie incense, overripe jasmine, dirty leather and "clean" horse poop. With hay. It smells old-fashioned and a little cheap, too. Of course, I'm desperate to know what those vintage bottles on eBay smell like. But I tell you what: I love layering BàV with Le Labo Labdanum 18. Good clean dirty fun.

When I reported my horse-poop findings to the former 5th-grader/current law professor, he was rather discomfited. There he was tipping me off to a lovely, cherished scent, and then he gets an earful of manure from me. Sometimes, it's best not to know the darkness that lies beneath loveliness.

My big love at the moment is Chanel Coromandel. Got a Costco-sized bottle of that in the fridge.

Procrastination question:
What do you love wearing?



Coromandel is a marvel! I, too, have the big Exclusifs bottle. But here's the thing: no one else likes it. Or at least no one else I know. And that's the conundrum of wearing fragrances: how much do you let the people around you influence what you wear? A loved one? A lot, I guess. A once-a-month brunch friend? Screw 'em. But with Coromandel, I've literally had three otherwise sane women tell me they hated it.

As for civet-y goodness, did you ever smell the original version of The Different Company Rose Poivrée? I used to have a giant canister hidden away (you couldn't leave the stuff out in case young children were ever around) and it was absolutely obscene. Luca Turin wrote about it and I guess TDC changed the formula and added some actual rose, but that original version was, as the kids say, wicked.

I've not tried Amouage Homage Attar nor heard of Bal à Versailles. But of course I'll read all about both now. But I will not look up vintage bottles on eBay. That's dangerous territory when you already have a too-expensive habit for the new stuff.

I was shopping for a loft a few months ago and an agent was showing me one place with cute little library. And on the shelves were all of these vintage bottles: Chanels and Guerlains and stuff I didn't even recognize. "Wow, a perfume collector!" I said. And the agent, without missing a beat, said, "Yeah, the guy who lives here is kind of creepy." Ouch. No respect, Katie. If I ever sell my place, I'm hiding all my bottles.

Oh, and I didn't pay $610 for the Enlèvement au Serail. I got the $235 refill bottle, which is the very same thing but without the little faux marble head. (Little faux marble heads are more expensive than I thought.)

It's a straight peach-jasmine, but it's unbelievably luxurious. It smells like I imagine women smelling ages ago. Same with Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette, except that one refers to a slightly different kind of woman, the kind of woman your father fancied BEFORE he met your mother.

What I love wearing changes all the time. But Coromandel is definitely one. By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses is another. Eau d’Italie Sienne d'Hiver. The Different Company Osmanthus. Lots of Comme des Garçons -- ten or twelve of them. Though I don't LOVE love those, not in a romantic way. It's more admiration. The way I love our president.

Have you tried S-Perfume's scents? They're very odd and maybe up your alley. I have the faux-leather S-ex, which will remind you of sex only if you have sex fully clothed in brand-new cars with thick vinyl interiors.


Dan Rolleri is a guy who likes perfume and music and baseball, and most days he sits around the house working on a book that regrettably includes none of these things.