The second of my three Perfumed Court sample orders arrived this afternoon, which included the new Cartier Les Heures. I immediately applied XIII La Treizième Heure and this is literally what I said: "Oh my. That's nice!"
I know, not a very exciting response, but this is great. And you're right to compare it to Le Labo Patchouli 24. It's just like it...sort of. Its smokiness is a little less robust, and yet the perfume isn't exactly quiet. It's just somehow balanced differently than Patchouli 24.
The dry-down of XIII La Treizième Heure (and I'm already tired of typing out that name) was a perfect example of why most expensive perfumes are expensive: everything held together forever, and I still loved the way I smelled five hours after the curtain went up.
You'll never hear me say that about Mandom, no matter how closely I follow the devil-may-care Bronson application technique. XIII is a slightly more refined Patchouli 24, but only slightly.
To me, it smells like 80-90% Patchouli 24, Patchouli 24 at a lower volume, which means 1) I love it! And 2) I kind of already own it. And yet, 3) I want to buy it.
Which raises the most important question of the perfume addict: Should one prioritize horizontally or vertically? Is it preferable to own the best of a wide range of scents or lots of things from a single category?
Intellectually, I think the former is the best way to go, but emotionally, especially when I smell Patchouli 24 (or La Treizième Heure or Bulgari Black or even CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves), I want everything that smells smoky and sweet and dark and odd.
As for your favorite, XII L’Heure Mystérieuse, I like it less than I like XIII. But I still like it.
Yes! XIII La Treizième Heure has "Dan" written all over it. It should be called XIII The Dan Hour. When I first smelled it at Saks, I actually exclaimed to the could-give-a-shit SA, "my friend Dan will LOVE this!”
All the connoisseurs immediately leapt onto XIII The Dan Hour as their favorite. Some of the fume bloggers kind of glossed over XII L’Heure Mystérieuse, predicting it was destined to be the hit out of the bunch. And it was implied that "destined to be the hit" wasn’t necessarily a compliment. I’m not sure why. Like XII is just too easy to love?
But dang it all, I do love XII The Katie Hour! It's a musty chocolate patchouli deal, with a schnozzful of incense and a bit of girly jasmine in there. It's a more "perfumey" incense than many. And while XIII The Dan Hour entertains me, it’s so savory, it makes my nose fight with my stomach. And that equals confusion in my “pleasure dome”.
Regarding prioritizing horizontally or vertically, I think vertically is really how it goes down. Like with music and clothes. If you know you love aching, bittersweet, deceptively up-tempo pop, then you crave every example of that genre. You might buy a Miles Davis or a Johnny Cash CD, but that doesn't mean you're going to listen to them.
And if you always wear a cashmere V-neck sweater, or a certain kind of retro-nerd shoes, you're always drawn to the next perfect iteration of them. If you're not already a pencil skirt gal, a wardrobe of pencil skirts will not tempt you to wear them.
For the dedicated fumehead, I'd say it's worth going horizontal for samples, vertical for full bottles. So -- fly, little bird! Fly towards XIII!
What worries me about going vertical (and "worries" is overstating it some) is I've done this before, when I first got deeply into perfume, buying up every woody/incense-y floral, all of Mark Buxton's Comme des Garçons, lots of Duchaufours, and I ended up owning many similar things but wearing only a few of them.
My insatiable hunger for bittersweet pop doesn't quite translate to woody florals. But maybe it will to smoky, birch-tar-y leathers. And I'll defend the sometimes overbearingness of Patchouli 24 as less evolved than XIII. It might be, in the same way The Jam were less evolved than The Style Council, but I bet even if I own XIII, too, I won't stop wearing Patchouli 24. Because there are times when nothing beats that mighty blast of smoke.
I think I just talked myself into buying XIII by reestablishing my love for Patchouli 24. I'm pretty creative when it comes to justifying irresponsible purchases.
Fumeheads, what do you think? Horizontal or vertical?