Birthday Scents!

Please note that this post title is a lot funnier if you are familiar with the hysterically awkward R&B “classic”, “Birthday Sex”.

So yesterday was Drew’s 22nd birthday, and we celebrated in a manner befitting a perfume blogger’s boyfriend!  First, I handed over his presents: some chocolate covered salted caramels and a wee 30 ml bottle of Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée. The Vanille Insensée smelled absolutely divine on him, all sweet wood tempered with lime. I then did my best impression of a domestic goddess by making Nigella Lawson’s champagne risotto for dinner. This was a mistake. I have the upper arm strength of a penguin (hint: penguins do not have arms), and proved embarrassingly incapable of the 20 minutes of constant stirring required for risotto-making.

Bravely smiling through the pain.

However, the resulting risotto was absolutely worth it. I’m thinking of pretending to be Sephardic and making it for Passover. (Us lame-ass Ashkenazis aren’t allowed to eat rice during Passover!)

I really love the idea of giving perfume as a birthday present. It feels so personal, so celebratory! In fact, I buy myself perfume for my birthday every year. (Well, who the hell else is going to buy it for me?) For my 18th birthday, I bought a bottle of Bond No. 9 New Haarlem. I had just been through the hardest year of my life: my first year of college, during which I was forced to withdraw with only one month left to go. I felt weak and worthless. I needed something fierce, something brazen, to remind myself that I still had strength. When I turned 19, I chose a bottle of Guerlain Après l’Ondée from the tiny Guerlain boutique in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria. My purchase of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose in Paris this past summer was a celebration of both my birthday and my first few months of eating disorder recovery. I wanted to remind myself that I could be glamorous even at my higher weight. (And a few months later, I really began to believe it.)

Have you ever received perfume for your birthday? Or, which perfumes would you love to receive as a birthday gift?

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21 thoughts on “Birthday Scents!

  1. I don’t remember ever being gifted perfume for my birthday. I’ll buy it for myself, but more often than not I prefer doing things for my birthday like being taken out to the ballet or theatre. Perfume is a spontaneous thing for me. I’ll lust for months over a certain fragrance, put off buying it, only to randomly spring for a fragrance twice its cost because I couldn’t resist the temptation.

    I do, however, enjoy gifting perfume. My best friend has become an ever willing victim to my perfume persuasions.

    Also, I think I have that same shirt you’re wearing. In black, of course.

    1. Okay, that’s it… this dress has officially become too short! (It is supposed to be a dress, not a shirt!! Can you imagine if someone above five feet tried to wear it???)

      I don’t have a single close friend who has not been the victim of my perfume presents, either. If I like you, you’re getting perfume AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

      1. Lol. Okay, well if your defense I couldn’t see the length. I prefer my shirts to have a longer hem b/c I wear skinny jeans.

        Yep. I try to kind of gauge what perfumes I wear that they like — except with my best friend she apparently likes all my perfumes, which I suppose makes it easier. For some reason whenever I’m perfume shopping for a friend though SAs are always telling me how perfume is a bad idea b/c it’s a personal preference. Uh … not if you know the person well enough to know what they like and don’t like.

        It’s like the SA who tried to convince Alex that I needed a bottle of Beyonce Heat. Knowing me far better than this SA he went w/ a bottle of Dzing!

  2. Hiya,
    I just replied to your note elsewhere. That man of yours looks extremely happy with his Birthday Fragrance, and honestly, that dress is practically a MOO MOO compared to the skirt lengths I like.
    I love reading your blog,
    Portia xx

  3. I know that risotto stirring pain caused by penguin’s arms strength!!!

    My life changed when I discovered pressure cookers (at least I think that’s the correct translation…).
    No stirring… it takes less than half the time to cook, and it’s just as good!
    ok, I know this is a perfume blog, and I should be commenting about vanille insensée or scented birthday presents, but I’m hungry right now, so risotto talking takes precedence!!! 😉

    1. I can’t thank you enough for your risotto talking, because I had no idea that risotto could be made in a pressure cooker! You just saved me a grueling 20 minutes during next week’s Passover cooking!

  4. I continue to discourage anyone from buying me perfume for my birthday or any other time of the year. I am the only perfume addict I know, and no one is going to fork out the kind of money to buy what perfumes I really want or like. If you are not a perfumista, then most people think we are all headed for the nut house. I bought 20 samples from
    Lucky Scent last week for my birthday present. They arrived yesterday, and after a quick sniff test last night, there are only about 3 that I immediately liked. Unfortunately I quirky in that if I don’t like the top notes, I am not going to enjoy wearing the perfume. I am glad that you were able to find him something that he liked and that smelled good on him at the same time. You are a very pretty woman and you look good any anything you wear. Of course your funny and warm personality only make you that much cuter. I always stand in awe of all that you have accomplished.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words! And thank you for representing the opposite perspective! I have been really lucky in that most people seem to respond positively to my perfume interest, rather than recommending a nice nut house nearby.

      How could wanting to enjoy the top notes of a perfume possibly be quirky?? I’ve read that most companies put all of their money into the top notes of the fragrance anyway, so if the top notes aren’t enjoyable, that’s probably not good news for the rest of the perfume!

  5. Love that penguin gag – I needed the hint too, as I am quite slow on the uptake!

    I have only received “guided” gifts of perfume for birthday or Christmas. My birthday is in May, but the scent I am after is not out till later in the summer, so I may just ask for a kneeling mat and a Sunday Riley eyeshadow I have my eye on – in Burnt Eggplant. Which it would be, if I ever had the foolish idea to cook one. ; – )

    1. I read a lot of food blogs, and they always post the most gorgeous pictures of eggplants. I am tempted, but I know that they would end up burnt under my custody, too! What is this scent you are after?

      1. Eggplants / aubergines are also tricky coves on account of their lust for salt. A tedious procedure that makes them more trouble than they are worth, frankly. The scent I am after is the upcoming L’Artisan one linked to “The Perfume Lover”. I can’t believe I need a fifth orange blossom scent in my collection, but this one reinvents the mould / breaks the wheel!

  6. Ari, this post made me laugh out loud because Drew looks like a GIANT holding that tiny bottle in his hand! They didn’t seem that small when I was holding one… 😉

    I’m so glad that he liked his birthday gift— perfume is the best gift to give and receive in my little world, even if there are hits and misses.

    1. He IS a giant! Or so he seems, to five-foot-me… Perhaps it is because I got him the smallest size, the 30 ml! The Neiman’s we found it at was clearing out the line and had no testers, so I didn’t want to risk getting the larger size of a fragrance that we had no way of knowing he would like!

  7. Glad Drew’s birthday meal and present were such a success, Ari! You are such a lovely couple. I have a birthday coming up (39!)and my guided perfume gift (as Vanessa put it) will be a bottle of Equistrius. Iris rice powder and chocolate. Yummy!

    1. Wow, that Equistrius sounds divine!! And happy birthday in advance! I don’t know about lovely (I have often thought that we look a little too closely related for comfort), but we are definitely a very happy couple 🙂

  8. Yes, though now I forget what I got myself and I’m too lazy to go look it up in my journals. 🙂 A friend who was listening to me complain about the price fo really GOOD perfumes gave me some great advice: I needed to budget for a serious perfume purchase, say twice a year, say for Christmas and my birthday. And buy what I wanted.

    She was absolutely right; Like This was the first bottle I bought that was a “serious” perfume purchase, and totally worth it; and I’m going to try to plan for more purchases in future. But for this birthday, I got myself a birthday handbag (did last year, too, I admit).

    Next weekend I’m going to Miami to celebrate my birthday, with my most fantastic, adorable brother, and just figuring out what perfume to take is very exciting for me. I’m planning a “wardrobe” for day and some options for evening.

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