Editor’s note: I swear that this post is not a ploy to make Bethesda’s perfume shopping sound so irresistible that y’all will be compelled to visit me. (That being said, y’all should definitely come visit me.)
While I was home for Passover, I had a chance to do some major perfume testing. My sniffing began at bluemercury, the only store outside of french Sephoras where you can try Serge Lutens fragrances, NARS lipsticks, and Chanel nail polishes without moving more than five feet. I was there to compare my recently acquired sample of L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing! to a full bottle. To my delight, the papery leather scent of my sample seemed virtually identical to that of its full bottle counterpart. And by “delight”, I mean “utter horror that I have somehow managed to fall for yet another only-available-in-100-ml L’Artisan”.
I quickly darted into the Lilly Pulitzer boutique next door, where I learned that I am going to need a child to dress up in this wee perfume dress. Or a kitteh…
Next stop was Neiman Marcus, which was full of many exciting new goodies. Of particular note is the A Dozen Roses line. I’ve been eager to try these because of the purty bottles and shockingly reasonable price tag ($95 for 100 ml). I tried all four scents briefly. They were all perfectly pretty rose fragrances, although nothing we haven’t smelled before. Gold Rush is a syrupy orange blossom rose; the new Electron is a bright, clean rose. I have to say I prefer Diptyque Eau Rose for my green rose needs.
The big news at Neiman’s was the new Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolu, which smells like… well… regular Infusion d’Iris! No real changes to the scent itself, just better longevity. I’m not a big Infusion d’Iris fan, but if I were, I would definitely upgrade to the new version just for that fabulous gold-plated bottle. That shit is fancy, y’all.
I never skip Anthropologie ever since the glorious day I found an Annick Goutal for $18 there. I was thrilled to find the Strange Invisible Perfumes line on sale for a great price (from $195 to $65), until I actually tried them, at which point I instantly understood why they were so highly discounted. Epic Gardenia was the only one that smelled appealing enough in the bottle to convince me to try on skin. It smelled horribly discordant and loamy for about an hour. After an hour, it smelled like mushrooms. Luca Turin frequently says that real gardenias have a mushroom note, but I can’t think of too many people off the top of my head who would knowingly spend $195 to smell like a mushroom.
This Anthropologie also had the full Ineke line. First, whoever designs those lovely Ineke bottles needs, like, five raises. I tried Field Notes From Paris, which boasts notes of tobacco, cedar and tonka bean. Field Notes From Paris smells like iced coffee with sugar. Iced coffee with sugar is not my favorite way to drink coffee, so as you might imagine, I haven’t quite decided yet whether I actually like Field Notes From Paris. I will say that this is a pretty daring perfume, especially considering that it’s marketed to women.
My final destination was my beloved Saks Fifth Avenue. Robin of Now Smell This hates this Saks, but I have to tell you that the saleswomen are extremely kind to me despite the fact that I have not bought a single thing in the four years since I discovered it. Sometimes they pinch my cheeks! I usually ignore the Tom Ford Private Blend line, considering that I am rarely (read: never) in the position to spend $200 on 50 ml of perfume, but today I tried Noir de Noir and Tuscan Leather. The Noir de Noir was just beautiful on paper- all red roses and saffron, like a darker Safran Troublant- but became muddled on skin. Tuscan Leather was a perfect butch leather fragrance. I would probably be all over it if Tauer Perfumes Lonestar Memories didn’t already exist.
The Guerlain counter had an awesome display for their L’Art et la Matiere line, which coupled the perfumes with their alleged raw materials. Unfortunately for Guerlain, no display in the world could distract me from the fact that they are charging $250 for resolutely average perfumes.
The Annick Goutal soliflores are back, including the delicately candied La Violette. With its sweet, dainty violets, La Violette may seem overly simple. Don’t be deceived: these perfect sweet violet perfumes are very rare. Perfumers seem incapable of resisting the temptation to gild the violet by adding rose or green notes. Like a figure skater, the skillful La Violette makes a difficult feat look effortless.
Please tell us about the perfumes that you’ve recently tried in the comments!