Perfume Pen Pals: L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzongkha, Hermès Hermessences (various) and Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir


Surely you've tried it, but Montale Oud Queen Roses? It's a big round rose. (And a gigantic rectangular oud.) I didn't love it but it's definitely a different kind of rose than Jean Claude Ellena's frightened little Rose Ikebana from the Hermessence line. Which, by the way, the Hermès salesperson was pushing hard on me, saying it's by far the most popular Hermessence (I feel self-conscious every time I type that) in the boutique. Which I suppose means it's either the most popular or it's the least popular and she's trying to get rid of it. Either way, it smelled almost impossibly thin and simple. But then Ellena sometimes does that: breaks down scents to their skeletal frames, their very essence (he did it with Brin de Réglisse, the licorice and lavender, too). The problem is it seems like he forgets to build them back up. It's almost like we catch the scent half-undressed.

I'm curious to hear how you differentiate the M. Micallef Aoud from Montale White Aoud. I have samples of both sitting in front of me and I swear the two vials have physically fused and formed a single scent. Right here! I swear. I do think Micallef Aoud is a tiny bit heavier (I'm talking ounces not pounds) but that's all. And if you already have White Aoud, why bother? But then I have no nose for oud. Or synthetic oud, which is what Luca Turin claims almost every contemporary oud fragrance contains.

I have no taste for iris either, common as it is. Today I'm wearing Dzongkha (continuing my weeklong L'Artisan Parfumeur Death Trip) and I know I have a small headache and I don't like the way I smell in the same way I don't like the way I smell whenever I wear a supposedly handsome iris, but I have no other insights. I smell like I should be packing up a briefcase and going over my presentation for the boys down at the office. There. That's my only insight.

I have a large sample of Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir and I liked it so much, I left some in the bottle to remember it. (And then put the bottle in a closet and forgot about it.) It's crazy thick and sweet and if I had to buy another Tom Ford today, that would be my choice. (Y'know, after Italian Cypress. I'm not to be trusted.) I wish I hadn't sprayed the Dzongkha or I'd get some now. Turin compared it to 100% Love. Have you tried that one? Yowza! It's the female side of the two S-Perfume scents (S-ex being the male) and it's perhaps the weirdest perfume I've ever worn. It's chocolate and rose but not at all like Thierry Mugler Angel. It makes Angel look like a piker! I sold it off and I regret it, not because I liked wearing it (it was almost impossible to wear), but because I liked smelling it. I think Barney's carries it now. On your list, Katie!

Indult Manakara was already on my list, added two months ago, so that means I've already tried it (and liked it). But I can't remember a thing about it, even when you first brought it up last week. This is the curse of having too many samples. Unless you have an organized mind, you're going to forget stuff. You'll see.

All of this correspondence makes me suddenly feel inadequate about my perfume experience. No, I haven't tried most of the Frédéric Malles except Outrageous! (goofy synthetic apple) and Musc Ravageur (not goofy at all and if you call it goofy it'll smack you across the head). My only other perfume-loving friend is visiting from New York and wants to try EVERYTHING (like two kids and a pack of cigarettes, we're going to have headaches within twenty minutes). So maybe I should just get everything. See, you're a bad influence. You're Rob Lowe to my James Spader. Here I was happily piddling along with my small nation of bottles and samples and now you have me desperate to visit the entire perfume world. (And as far as I know, LuckyScent doesn't issue frequent-flyer rewards.)

Okay, you've added to your list, I've added to mine, and in the meantime I should probably go running or start writing or do something other than dream of being a perfume czar.