I don't think I would have ventured into the possibly blasphemous region of perfume-layering, had not the L'Artisan Parfumeur saleswoman at Barney's recommended Vanilia with the Passage d'Enfer I was buying. Suddenly, there I was buying two bottles of perfume. Boy, she knew a patsy when she saw one!
I never bothered with vanilla before that, but I ended up wearing it more than the Passage d'Enfer, which I quickly found annoying. I transferred Vanilia onto my preferred incense, Comme des Garçons Avignon, and a match was made.
I've just reminded myself of another Barney's steamroll where I thought I was just buying Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, and there I was suddenly in possession of Fleurs d'Orange as well, because the SA claimed Serge made them to go together. Where is my self-determination, Dan? If the SA told me to jump off a cliff, would I do it?
In this case, I never wear Fleurs d'Orange (too sweetly floral - though I sometimes spray it in the hallway like very expensive air freshener - eeek!), but still love Ambre Sultan, especially deep in the heart of a desert summer.
And lately, I've been wearing Le Labo Labdanum 18 with Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, which is horny leather barn to the tenth. This combo veers into what I call CCS - Coldstone Creamery Syndrome: I decide I like a particular ice cream flavor, then plop every iteration of it into the bowl (pecan praline, maple pecan, caramel delight, all drizzled in butterscotch sauce). And then I feel sick. But so far, I'm not sick of my sexy barnyard, and people have been complimenting it.
Considering your wedding blend of Avignon and Vanilia, have you tried M. Micallef Note Vanillée? It's not quite an incense vanilla, but it is boozy and amber-y and licorice-y. I was awfully impressed. If you like Avignon sweetened or especially Ambre Sultan, you need to go here next.
I've not tried a single thing from Le Labo. I'm not even sure why. I don't think Luca Turin likes them, so I have that on my side, but I haven't even come across them in stores. People go on about Rose 31, but it's a rose, how great can it be? Anything with labdanum has a nice scent association for me. And I see that Turin compares Labdanum 18 to Ambre Sultan. Wow, you're really into amber, aren't you?
I should've sent you my sample of Tom Ford Amber Absolute. Have you tried that one? Yowza. It's quite nice but, like most Tom Fords, it's very present. A little goes a long, long way.
Your perfumes mailed this morning. After all my decanting, I had one atomizer left, so I threw in some Bond No. 9 New Haarlem, which you've probably already tried. (I remember you referring to Silver Factory in one of your reviews.) But just in case. It's thick and dark and warm, and was created by Maurice Roucel, who also did Labdanum 18, so I'm guessing it's good for you.
M. Micallef Note Vanillée - don't know that one, want to explore, since the comments say it resembles Aquolina Blue Sugar, the boy version of the bonkers-sweet burnt sugar Pink Sugar. PS is at Sephora, but it's crazy enough to pass for niche.
Ahhh...Tom Ford's Amber Absolute - know it well. Glugged my way through a full bottle in the space of a few months a year and a half ago - loved it loved it loved it, especially in the dryness of LA. Was really overbearing when I wore it in humid London, but I wore it I did. Climate really does affect what you can get away with.
Luca Turin certainly was cranky about Le Labo, but that was based on his tiff with them because they wouldn't give him freebies to review. Consequently, his reviews were begrudging and testy. And boy, the owner Fabrice is still REALLY annoyed with Luca about this (I had a very long, animated talk with him about it).
Even when I kept pointing out "But Luca gave Patchouli 24 five stars...and he loved Iris 39", Fabrice wouldn't have it, saying it was stupid for anyone to try to review perfume. As you can imagine, I kept quiet about KatiePuckrikSmells....
Oh, and I don't find a link between Labdanum 18 and Ambre Sultan at all - different characters altogether. L18 is sexy leathery barnyard baby powder, and AS is aromatic harshly dry amber.
As for Maurice Roucel, I was a big Musc Ravageur oil wearer, until I discovered Labdanum 18, which is my big kick now. (And I do feel a kinship between those two.) And Roucel's Dans Tes Bras is so strange and beautiful (I keep thinking I'm going to try and wear it, though it didn't really seem "me" when I reviewed it) - I wonder what you make of that one?
I thought Turin claims he ignores companies that won't give him samples. At least that was his explanation why he's never written a word on Montale. How do you know perfumers? And without even mentioning KP Smells? Do you just call up Fabrice and start talking shit about Luca Turin? Gosh, you're the very definition of a bonne vivante, aren't you?
As for your Musc Ravageur wearing - this, my friend, is where we part ways. Using the vernacular of an earlier generation, Roucel really goes for it, doesn't he? It’s so strong! At first I was worried it was the fragrance equivalent of a tattoo and I was going to have to laser off the outer layer of my skin just to get it off me. And it smelled gross.
That seems like an especially inarticulate description, I know, but I can't think of anything more appropriate to say. Might my sample have been from a bad batch? Because I've smelled lots of other Roucel scents and none of them smelled gross (Kenzo Air practically doesn't even exist). But Musc Ravageur? Wow. Gross.
I'm buying Note Vanillée next. If I get it before you try it, I'll send you some. Considering your affection for hay, what do you think of L'Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!, by the way? It has such a loyal following and while I've tried it twice, I can't really remember it.