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

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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

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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.

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!