Perfume Pen Pals: Binge-Buying Perfume


You know how you sometimes skip a few meals, you go long hours without eating, and you finally start feeling like you're making progress on that last fifteen pounds you want to lose? (Contrary to the laws of grammar, the second person in this sentence refers to me and not to you.) And then, bam, you eat half a pie?

Dismayed by all the terrible perfume samples I'd been wearing (it seemed like it had gone on for a year), I'd almost given up. If I live to a reasonably old age, I thought, I already have enough perfume to last my lifetime. And the lifetime of my children. Plus, if I forget about perfume for awhile, I might find time to actually have children. So I'd stopped purchasing, nothing new for a month or two, and once I'd exhausted these last samples, I could go back to wearing the perfumes I truly love, a foolishly rare occurrence.

Well, KP, I just ate half a pie.

First in Fragrance got ahold of a few last bottles of Comme des Garçons Tar and Garage, offered them up for a reasonable price (€45), and I couldn't refuse. This after I'd noticed Humiecki & Graef Blask ("a fragrance about trust"), bay leaf, red wine, walnut and oud, and how could I not buy that? With all my whining over many of these post-modern unwearables, I wear my H&G's pretty often.

And what's that? LuckyScent has knocked $75 off H&G Clemency, the "mother's milk" one about which I wasn't crazy? I quickly splashed on the last of my sample, and indeed it's too soft and powdery for my taste. So I decided to buy it. (That's called cognitive dissonance and it's a specialty of mine.)

But the real LuckyScent sale find was Hilde Soliani, a line that deserves more praise than it seems to receive. They're all a little foody, but reasonably so, not heavy and cloying like Serge Lutens.

I've already praised Bell'Antonio, one of my favorite masculines, and now I've added Saaliiisssiimo (Hilde Soliani's silly spelling, not mine), which is somehow similar to Bell'Antonio but with licorice and saffron instead of coffee and tobacco, and CiocoRossimo, a chocolate rose that smells like Tom Ford's Noir de Noir, but for adults. Or non-clowns.

Now I'm bloated and I hate myself. And there's still another half a pie left in the refrigerator.



You just ate half a metaphorical pie, and you're craving perfumes that smell like salad dressing (Blask), licorice rice (Saaliiisssiimo) and rosy chocolate (CiocoRossimo).

Are you sure you're not pregnant?



  1. We've all experienced buyer's remorse!

    That Pie Face game is something else. People actually paid money for that?? Now it would probably be considered a form of bullying!!

  2. Dan--

    I hear ya. While my recent purchases weren't as interesting as yours, I swore I would buy nothing else for myself, because, hello, it's Christmas. I should buy for OTHER people. But then I found a bottle of Chanel No. 5 for $25 (it was the BIG one!) and I bought it.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one with "I don't like this at all...I must have it!" Disease. That's how I ended up with a bottle of MKK. (Now my favorite scent ever, by the way.) I was horrified by it when I tried it on, and then couldn't stop thinking about it for months. Dan, the only thing that stopped my binge-buying cold was running out of money. Seriously. I'm a cautionary tale. If I need to know how much I've spent on perfume the last four years, I just need to look at my credit card balance.

  4. Barbara, Pie Face is more like "self-bullying", also known as sadism. But it does have a little psychological torture vibe built in: the peer pressure forcing players to deliver their own pie-in-the-face. Today pie, tomorrow electric shocks. It's the cruel laughter from the other players that makes it really chilling.

  5. Dan,

    I guess you ordered the last Tar and Garage they had in stock, now it says "product unavailable ATM" (or maybe they haven't arrived in the store so far), but I am really curious about Tar, so please let us know what you think about it:)



  6. Life's too short. Only buy what you love. The rest is what samples are for. Now, if anyone loves ME enough to help me purchase a bottle of Parfums di Nicolai New York, well.....

  7. This happened to me many times since I started falling head-over-heels for scent last August: in March, then in May, then in June, then in July...well, you get the picture.

    But,instead of pie, I go for raisins,nuts & cranberry-embedded bread...Hmm,I wonder if the 2nd item has anything to do with it.

    I even popped open the 'ol wallet for a brand-new 2.5 oz guaranteed-authentic bottle of Creed, bought blind, just because a 25% discount brought the price down to $63, a brand that I had swore to myself never to deign to try(unless it was for free!)

    Guess what the clincher was ? It was supposedly made for the Queen of England...and is supposed to smell strongly of ambergris.

    Oh well. Life is a constant tug-of-war of contrary emotions.

    And I guess it's far better than playing stockmarket poker with my spare cash: it's far far more economical,and you can smell and finger any 'failed investment'.

  8. DomPerrier - yes, even the klunkers in your collection can bring a certain completist satisfaction. Then you can sell them and move on.

  9. Katie, I'd love to know what Dan or you tink about Tar or Garage. My fave smell is my grandfather's garage, but usually perfumes that promise "tar" or "rubber" are sweetened to balance out the fragrance (Bulgari Black, I'm looking at you! I get baby powder!) and the illusion is lost for something more perfume-y. Are these sweet, or ambery? Or is CdG brave enough to give us something genuine to the source of inspiration?


  10. N, all will be revealed when Dan receives his Tar and Garage. Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia starts off pretty garage-y, but does mellow out. Have you tried that one?

  11. N, I have a small sample of Garage. It does, indeed smell like a garage. I didn't detect any sweetness whatsoever.

  12. N, I've not sampled Garage or Tar in years and my bottles haven't yet arrived, but my latest favorite petrol-smelling perfume is Henrik Vibskov Type B (not to be confused with those terrible BLOOD scents). "B" stands for Berlin and it's a nice but slightly industrial mix of smoke and gasoline, milder and less sweet than Le Labo Patchouli 24. I say it's a must-try for you.

  13. Wow thanks for all the help! My response is belated because my browser hates this website, and keeps kicking it back.

    Anyway, Katie I had only recently heard of Santa Maria Novella and Nostalgia definitely doesn’t sound like something I’d expect from a centuries-old perfumer. Will check it out.

    Thanks for the input Nora, that’s really helpful!

    Dan, I had heard about “B,” but now I will make sure I get a sample when I’m ordering out that way – I don’t have a place around me that stocks Henrik Vibskov. Also, you’re right on about Patchouli 24 being too sweet for me.

    Hope your haul all works out or mostly works out would be good too. Also, your comment on Noir de Noir is hilarious; you sound like my kind of people.

    -- N.

  14. N, I'm pretty sure I'm not my kind of people so it's nice to know I'm someone's kind of people.

    Smelling them side-by-side, I find the Henrik Vibskov to be a more refined CdG Garage, not as determinedly literal in reproducing those petrol and burning rubber accords, but still pretty darn literal. Octavian is all over it here:

    Try it, but also don't give up finding CdG Garage. That one is as close to your grandfather's garage in a bottle as anything.