My friend Georgie calls me “the checker”. This is in reference to my compulsively methodical style of shopping. If I spy a darling frock that begs closer examination, I will try on all 3...or 5...or 10 available in my size to determine which one fits most exactly. And then I won’t buy it.
“But you’ve been out for hours!” Georgie will screech when I swing by with a dinky shopping bag containing a single hair clip. “What have you been doing?”
Trouble is, I’m never really sure. I go into a trance as I become one with all merchandise. I’m like a forest nymph melding with nature - but with harsher lighting and less actual nature. As I try to piece together the day’s tour of clothes, makeup, perfume, books, whatever, Georgie interrupts.
“You’re a checker! You check things. You need to start leaving tags on everything you look at: ‘Checked by Katie’!”
I was doing my checking gig the other day at Nordstrom, when I happened upon the new Laura Mercier limited edition, Minuit Enchanté parfum. The SA gave me the spiel: a limited edition flanker to Nuit Enchantées eau de parfum, with deep incense and wood accords.
Deep incense and wood accords? As my redneck husband likes to say, “Words to my ears!” I never met an incense I didn’t like, and after I sniffed the blotter, I turned to ask the SA for a sample. She had vanished.
As I waited for her to reappear, I slipped into a checking trance. I knew it was bad when another SA returned from a lunch break and said, “You’re still here?" Less a question than an accusation, it seemed to me. But before she had a chance to call Security, the Laura Mercier lady reappeared and made me a sample.
After checking Minuit Enchanté extensively in the privacy of my own home, I can report the following:
This is a retro-fab oriental, rich but dry, with spicy woods sounding a Lauren Bacall low whistle into the space above your skin. There’s an aromatic Coca-Cola accord that links it to what I think of as “brunette orientals” like Estée Lauder Youth Dew and Ralph Lauren Notorious.
Pine-y juniper, along with the hot sweetness of allspice and ginger, put the snap in Minuit Enchanté’s bra strap. A mild nutmegginess foreshadows the woods that lay ahead. Full-bodied florals - rose, tuberose and jasmine with a dash of peach - remind you that this dame is still a lady.
There’s a suggestion of cream, but not in an overt, “lick the froth from my smoky thighs” Shalimar kind of way. The milkiness here is subtler, playing Miss Congeniality to the spices and woods, encouraging the more masculine elements to pull together and make a pretty picture with the flowers. A just-sweet-enough vanilla steers the composition towards gourmand territory.
All my favorite “nummy notes” really put the grrr in ME’s purr: animalic labdanum, musks and oud, syrup-y benzoin, amber and myrrh, and the likeable Jonas Brothers of woods: cedarwood, sandalwood and guaiacwood.
This is a pure parfum, with the emphasis on plushness as it languidly lifts off the skin. As is often the case with parfum, the ride is well upholstered, with no sharp springs to jab you in the bum, and no clunky gear shifts along the way. It occurs to me that ME is what I wanted the pleasant-but-tepid Ralph Lauren Notorious to be: a poised heartbreaker with curves in all the right places.
Minuit Enchanté: “Checked by Katie”