Interview with Abigail of “The Posh Peasant” and “I Smell Therefore I Am”!

You might know busy bee Abigail as the owner of The Posh Peasant, an online perfume boutique with excellent sample sets, or perhaps as 1/2 of the writing team for the perfume blog I Smell Therefore I Am. Abigail’s reviews strike a very tricky balance: she is able to make a perfume sound fabulous and tempting without ever straying into overly florid descriptions. Today Abigail mounts an impassioned defense of Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite, and shows off the most adorable pugs I have ever seen in my life. 

Why do you write about perfume?

I write because it’s a bit like journaling my perfume hobby.  The added bonus is that there are many out there that share my interest and actually read my ramblings.  I also write because I enjoy testing and thinking about perfume so much that translating my thoughts to written form makes me feel I’ve completed something tangible, instead of a bunch of thoughts roaming around in my brain, these become something more complete and organized.

You are one of the very few dog-owning perfume bloggers (the vast majority of us seem to be cat ladies). Will you tell us about your adorable pugs?

Greta and Gunther are out-of-control adorable, amazing, fun little creatures.  I previously had cats when I was living in an apartment in Boston but once I bought my first home I decided to get pugs and have never looked back.  Puggies are the strangest, funniest little humanlike dogs.  Mine occasionally wear perfume, too.  Greta prefers orientals while Gunther loves big florals.

What are your favorite perfume houses?

There is only one perfume house which I love just about everything they create (except for 3-4) and that is Annick Goutal.

Aside from Annick Goutal I generally love one or two fragrances from a brand but the rest are hit or miss.  Brands I respect and will always want to try are: Estee Lauder, Frederic Malle, Diptyque, Amouage, Sonoma Scent Studio, Parfumerie Generale, Etat Libre d’Orange, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Robert Piguet, Liz Zorn, Thierry Mugler and Parfum d’Empire.

The saddest part is that this list would have included many more mainstream brands a decade ago.  Just slightly over 10 years ago I would have included Givenchy, Donna Karan, Dior, Gucci and Fendi.

Some of my top favorite perfumes of all time are:  Teo Cabanel Alahine, Canturi eau de parfum, Profumi del Forte Roma Imperiale, Love, Chloe, Thierry Mugler limited editions, Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Parfums MDCI Un Coeur en Mai and Le Labo Aldehyde 44.  And, of course, the vintage Jean Patous but I don’t even want to go there because that magical era of perfumery is long gone.

You know, this is a really tough question and I’m tempted to go back and change everything I just wrote but I’m going to leave it otherwise I’ll never get these answers to you, Ari!

What is your favorite place to shop for perfume?

At this point I order everything online.  I can’t be bothered with the annoyance of stores and pesky sales associates.  I know so much more than almost any sales associate that having to make small talk just irks me.  Plus, perfume shopping for me is unusual because I own The Posh Peasant so there are lots of things I order for the shop without consideration of my own personal taste.  So, I do a great deal of online ordering from Bergdorf Goodman, Lucky Scent, Barney’s and so on.  One boutique I love is Aedes de Venustas, I haven’t been there in a while since I moved away from New Jersey but I used to love the atmosphere and customer service at Aedes.

You’ve called Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite your favorite of perfumer Maurice Roucel’s creations. I also adore this poorly-reviewed perfume. Will you please explain to Scents of Self’s readers why this widely-feared fragrance is actually awesome?

I’m not afraid of va-va-voom fragrances.  If a fragrance is super-potent with into-the-next-day longevity I happily apply a small amount and enjoy the ride.  Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite has several things going for it in my book; it’s potent and long-lasting and it’s an incredible bombshell rose-violet-aldehyde.  Rose-violet-aldehydes are fragrances like YSL Paris, L’Artisan Drole de Rose, Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream, and Frederic Malle Liptstick Rose (among others).  I especially enjoy the rose-violet sub category because I find the combination of rose and violet together makes something that each note alone never does for me.  Normally a rose soliflore or rose centric perfume is a bit too sharp and strident while a violet soliflore is a bit too sweet, powdery and dowdy.  Putting rose-violet together with amped up aldehydes seems to negate the qualities I dislike about roses and violets alone and make something just so darn beautiful  (insert sigh here).

Broadway Nite is my favorite rose-violet scent.  It’s charming, girly, retro and totally va-va-voom.  It’s quite aldehydic  so it has a formality to it but I have worn it on just about any occasion.  This is a fragrance that would definitely make my “top 25” list.  And while Roucel has made a few other fragrances I find fantastic (Gucci Envy, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur and everybody’s either love or hate Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist & FM Dans Tes Bras) I like Broadway Nite the most out of everything Roucel has created.  I should also note that Roucel is the creator of my number one most hated fragrance which is Guerlain L’Instant as well as Guerlain Insolence (edt/2005) which I also find dreadful.  Although I do believe Roucel had something to do with Guerlain Insolence (edp/2008) which I think is gorgeous (another ‘take no prisoners’ floral).   One thing I’ve noticed about Roucel’s body of work is its certainly polarizing, which is a good thing, to me.   Roucel takes risks, and makes unapologetic perfumes.    Which is how I think of Broadway Nite, it’s unapologetically retro feminine gorgeous.

What are some of your other interests outside of perfume?

I watch a lot of TV and movies, but I also read a good deal and enjoy going to the theater (I try to be well-rounded in an effort not to feel bad about all the TV & movie watching).

I love nature and enjoy hiking and walking with my dogs.

I garden and also have an indoor orchid collection. I also love Bonsai but haven’t had a lot of luck with the dozen or so I’ve slowly killed.

I love the idea of yoga but am so bad at it (totally inflexible) that I never can force myself to endure the embarrassment of classes.

I am crazy for British period dramas, such as Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs, Gosford Park and Brideshead Revisited.

I go through phases of following politics until I get so frustrated I must stop.

I don’t drink much but when I’m in the mood I’ll have a Dirty Goose (Grey Goose vodka martini with olives and olive juice and the olives need to be really good).

What perfumes are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree/Menorah branches this year?

I would like Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia in the pure parfum 1 ounce bottle.

And if Guerlain Vol de Nuit in pure parfum also fell from the sky I’d keep it.

I just bought myself Annick Goutal Songes in a limited edition moon bottle so I have already taken care of myself and don’t need anything else (isn’t “need” the silliest word in this context?!)

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13 thoughts on “Interview with Abigail of “The Posh Peasant” and “I Smell Therefore I Am”!

  1. I really consider myself a cat kind of girl outside of select breeds of dogs, but those pugs are adorable. Also cheers on the Dirty Goose — while I’m more a Russian Standard kind of girl also love finding others who enjoy a really well mixed dirty martini.

    I feel like I’m missing out because I don’t own a single Annick Goutal fragrance and have only sniffed a few in the past. I should do something about that.

    1. I have read that the Annick Goutals have distribution issues. I really like their La Violette, but I think it’s been discontinued in the U.S.

      1. … I’m so very sad for the loss of such a summery, nice and vivid violet! Too bad if it’s really discontinued/not available (in most of places although in Goutal’s official site that it’s still present)… I think it has a relatively success, so I really don’t understand this.

  2. I love Broadway Nite too! I’m not too big on other rose-violet scents (Paris and Lipstick Rose, no thanks) but Broadway Nite is just delicious ridiculous fun.

    1. Broadway Nite is one of the perfumes that I already know I’ll be writing about in my book. It has always reminded me of my best friend’s mother, an incredibly vivacious former Broadway actress with the most delicious contralto.

  3. It’s funny – I thought I’d love Broadway Nite, which I think Elisa may have sent me a sample of (waves to Elisa!), because y’all know I love rose and violet and aldehydes. But it was just so, so NEON and HUMONGOUS that I wanted to run shrieking from the room… until it occurred to me that I could not run shrieking from my wrist. Duh.

    (Lipstick Rose was a big fat “Ha, ha, very funny, smells izzackly like lipstick, now GIMME MY SAMPLE MONEY BACK,” experience. But, now, Paris – Paris I can do. In dabs. Insolence I hate to the core of my being. To Dream, and Lieu de Reves, are both lovely.)

    I heart Abigail, not least of which for sending me a bonus sample of Alahine when I ordered some Oha from TPP. She knew better than I did that I’d love Alahine. Oh, Alahine, Alahiiiiiiine… wanders off singing to self…

    Oops. I was commenting, wasn’t I? I really enjoy ISTIA, and I get all happy when there’s a new post there.

    Also, the pugs are absolutely totally beyond cute.

  4. Another great interview, Ari. Really enjoyed reading about all the rose/violet aldehydes, not a genre I know much about. Will give Broadway Nite a try next time I’m at Harrods. Love Maurice Roucel and wore Gucci Envy for a number of years pre-perfumania.

    I very rarely drink but even I think that Dirty Goose sounds good and of course those pugs are beyond cute!

  5. Many years ago, in my early days in perfume I contacted the Posh Paesant asking for suggestions for a non sweet chocolate scent. Abigail replied to me with a list of suggestions and we had an e-mail conversation about this. I never bought samples from them because the cost of shipping from the US somehow makes blind buying from Europe more appealing. Thanks to her suggestions I got to know Borneo 1834. I have thought of her generous sharing of knowledge on perfume many times. Thanks to Ari I have finally put a face on this kind person.

  6. as I’m reading now in ‘The Posh Peasant’ I think Abigail is a big LouLou fan… which is not easy to find at all, due to its controversial character. I love she has included it in the Sultry Vixen Set lol, to me LouLou is as tender as the smell of a child’s doll, so well… Sultry Vixen! Just something to think about, I’m moving into a new state of mind that I’m liking. XD Although I was not really conscious of it, I’m reading ‘I Smell Therefore I Am’ very often!

  7. I never would have thought of myself as a breed enthusiast, I then I got “pug things”. I am not a dog person. I’m a person that likes pugs and pug mixes. Pugs have pugsonality. They are little chubby things that operate on treats and emotional memory. My dog has so many hilarious phobias. OK, I’m a bad mom. But, it is funny.

    Being on a rose-violet kick again, I need to try Broadway Nite again.

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