The D.C. Perfume Tour

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Come for the pandas, stay for the perfume!

D.C. has been unprecedentedly fashionable lately (thank you, FLOTUS!), but the Nation’s Capital still isn’t exactly a world leader in perfume shopping. But as this perfectly respectable, approaching-double-digits list of D.C. fragrance destinations hopefully demonstrates, we’re starting to catch up!

Le Labo

le labo

D.C. actually got a double dose of Le Labo last year: a free-standing boutique in the Shaw, and the first Nordstrom Le Labo counter in the country at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. I’d opt for the boutique, which carries a wider range of products (15 ml sizes, concrete candles). Still waiting on the D.C. City Exclusive, guys!

CityCenter DC

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Shoulders straight. Pinkies up. We’re headed to D.C.’s fanciest new neighborhood, dahling. Don’t get distracted by Momofuku; we’re here for the trinity of luxury boutiques (and their boutique-exclusive perfumes!) This is the only Hermes boutique for several states, i.e. the only place to experience the wonderful boutique-exclusive Hermessence range. There’s also a Dior boutique, confirmed to carry La Collection Privee, and a Jo Malone boutique, currently the only outlet for Jo Malone Rare Teas collection.

Arielle Shoshana

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With everything from niche classics (Tauer Perfumes, L’Artisan Parfumeur) to the cutting edge (Neela Vermeire, Parfumerie Generale), D.C.’s first niche fragrance boutique boasts the D.C. area’s largest selection of both niche scents and cat-themed coffee table books.

Santa Maria Novella

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Wasn’t it thoughtful of Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s oldest perfumery, to save us money on airfare by bringing Florence to us? Rose-scented dog deodorant is just one of the charming curiosities waiting inside this tiny treasure chest of a boutique. And while you’re in the area, don’t miss the particularly impressive Saks Fifth Avenue (FULL Guerlain line, Chanel Les Exclusifs) a block away.

Tysons Galleria

tysons galleria

The Galleria just hasn’t been the same since florist/fragrance shop Art with Flowers, may its memory be a blessing, closed a few years ago. But between a formidable Neiman Marcus (Byredo, Roja Dove, Boadicea the Victorious), a well-stocked Saks (By Kilian, Bond No. 9), and a Chanel Boutique (Les Exclusifs!), Tysons Galleria still packs quite a punch in the perfume department.

Parfum de France

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Parfum de France operates on a unique, intriguing business model. It carries both select niche lines (Amouage, Clive Christian) and vintage mainstream scents (often long discontinued). I was once lucky enough to find a bottle of Guerlain Meteorites here.

bluemercury (multiple locations)

bluemercury

Let’s show some hometown pride for Bethesda-based bluemercury! It’s been a few years since bluemercury carried brands like Serge Lutens and L’Artisan, but you can still find Creed, Diptyque, and Acqua di Parma alongside upscale hair, skin, and makeup products.

Did I miss any hidden gems? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links.

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Tom Ford Soleil Blanc

I consider Drake and Tom Ford to be one of history’s most charmingly unexpected bromances. Drake dedicated a song on his bestselling album, Nothing Was The Same, to Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather; in return, Tom named one of his (outstanding) lipsticks after Drake.

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But I doubt even Drake would have much to say about the newest Tom Ford Private Blend. If Tuscan Leather merited a whole song, Soleil Blanc barely deserves a verse.

Soleil Blanc’s press release describes it as a “solar floral amber”. It’s a sunscreen fragrance, of the squeaky-clean Coppertone variety rather than a jasmine-drenched French tanning oil. There’s nothing that distinguishes Soleil Blanc from the numerous other sunscreen-y fragrances out there, like Bobbi Brown Beach or Bond No. 9 Fire Island. And at $220 for 50 ml, that’s kind of unacceptable. I was really hoping that Soleil Blanc would be the reincarnation of the heavenly Tom Ford for Estee Lauder Azuree Soleil, but no such luck. Hopefully the next Tom Ford fragrance will be more worthy of Drake’s adoration.

Disclaimers: This post was not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. I tested Soleil Blanc at my local Neiman’s.

By Kilian Addictive State of Mind Review and Giveaway

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Finally, y’all. After a few too many rounds of uninspiring releases from By Kilian (ahem, Asian Tales), the new Addictive State of Mind collection is a stronger, less commercial effort. I think the concept of perfumes based on addictive substances has a lot of potential; I can’t be the only one salivating at the prospect of a Kilian chocolate scent. The first three fragrances in the series, Intoxicated, Light My Fire, and Smoke for the Soul, focus on the vices of coffee, tobacco, and marijuana. Sadly unrepresented is the most potent intoxicant of all, Kilian himself. “Skinny Robert Downey Jr.!” I hissed at my Sniffapalooza seat mates.

Intoxicated is extremely sweet, with more cardamom and less coffee than I was hoping for. There’s a strong resemblance to Thierry Mugler A*Men and the dearly departed Rochas Man. I still prefer Bond No. 9 New Haarlem for my coffee fix, but I think Intoxicated will easily be the most popular of these first three.

Light My Fire is a dry tobacco fragrance, more masculine and easygoing than the voluptuous, honey-drenched Kilian Back to Black. Unlike most tobacco fragrances, the emphasis is on tobacco itself rather than the accompanying vanilla and spices. My personal favorite, although I’m not sure I would pay Kilian prices for it.

Smoke for the Soul combines a hilariously unsubtle cannabis note with harsh, billowing birch tar smokiness. Probably the most interesting and the least wearable of the trio. Curiously, even though Smoke for the Soul has a much stronger smell than the other two fragrances, it has the weakest staying power. Not a particularly lasting high.

I have an extra Addictive State of Mind sample set from Sniffapalooza, and I’d love to share it with you! If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us your favorite, non-depressing addiction. Perfume counts, of course. I will close the giveaway at noon on Friday, October 17th. This giveaway is open to U.S. and international readers. Good luck!

Bond No 9. Saks Fifth Avenue for Her

I’ve had this sample for more than four years now. I was not particularly impressed with it when it was first released, so I left it to languish in the Sample Fishbowl. Now I think that I may have been too harsh on poor Saks for Her. Saks for Her is a sinfully rich tropical gardenia. Coconut is not an officially listed note, but it dominates the fragrance. Although it claims to have a vetiver note, Saks for Her doesn’t have much of a base at all. My issues with Saks for Her have not disappeared entirely: it is much too sweet, and its level of complexity is not on par with its high price. However, these grievances seem almost trivial when I consider how truly great this sunny, smooth fragrance smells. Normally I would tell you that you could probably find something equally enjoyable for a much better price, but honestly, these days you probably can’t. If anyone has found a similar fragrance for cheaper, please share with us in the comments.

Bond No. 9 Coney Island

Among hardcore fragrance lovers, describing a perfume as “strange” or “odd” can sometimes be quite a compliment. This isn’t one of those times. I have never been to Coney Island, so I can’t comment on Bond’s accuracy to its subject. However, I am unfortunately still intimately acquainted with the smell of this perfume. You see, Coney Island smells like cheap margarita mix. It smells like a night out with the girls at a filthy, grimy frat house, the kind where you are forced to use coffee filters as toilet paper. Your best heels are slowly dissolving from the beer sludge, at least 1/3 of “your girls” are throwing up as a result of said cheap margarita mix, and you have no idea whether the person attempting to grind up on you is even remotely attractive, but it’s all good because Flo Rida’s “Where Them Girls At” just came on and that is your JAM.

Them girls are in the kitchen, Flo Rida, pilfering coffee filters. WHY DON’T YOU SAVAGES HAVE TOILET PAPER

While I clearly find Coney Island to be weirdly nostalgic (it reminds me of my alma mater, the University of Bad Choices), the days of smelling like cheap margarita mix (and enjoying Flo Rida songs) are now very far behind me. That’s why I transferred to the University of Watching Say Yes to the Dress Marathons With My Cat. I’m very happy there.

The kitty has awful taste in TV. Sometimes she makes me watch Hoarders.