Quarter-Life Crisis

As of July 26, I have officially hit late twenties! (Which makes Scents of Self eight years old, y’all. Scents of Self is A THIRD GRADER. If she’s following in my footsteps, next year she’ll have to switch schools after a few “recess incidents.” Eight year old Ari had not yet quite mastered that most crucial of lessons, “hitting is bad.”) Staring down the harsh reality of never again (or, uh, before) qualifying for “25 under 25” lists, I gave in to my quarter-life equivalent of the mid-life crisis red convertible: a new perfume display shelf! (I had a college roommate whose mom celebrated getting divorced by buying a helicopter. She ended up selling it almost immediately, because “there’s just no place to park a helicopter.” We’ve all been there, girl.)

Shall we stroll down perfume storage memory lane to see just how extensive the upgrade is?
The mini-fridge stage! Pros: protected the perfumes from a newly-adopted Zelda. Cons: it was actually a wine cooler, so the perfumes kept falling through the intended-for-wine-bottles slats.This bookshelf loyally served me from high school all the way through my first post-graduation apartment. That apartment, however, was located in New York, and just a few trips to The Strand quickly exceeded its capacity.A very cute step shelf from Target. Not even close to enough room for the books.

Back to the fridge! Yes, it’s the safest place for a perfume to be (protected from heat and light), but now no one else can see all my beautiful bottles!The most recent storage solution, an eight cube Ikea Kallax. There’s finally enough room for both the perfumes and the books, but it’s not the most elegant piece of furniture.

My previous perfume organizational systems were always pretty much just “prettiest bottles up front,” but I feel like I should be taking advantage of the shelf’s segmentation. Any advice on the best ways to sort a collection?


Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Standard perfumista wisdom warns against wearing one of your favorite perfumes on first dates. That way, if the date goes badly, you don’t risk tainting one of your tried and trues with a negative association. (I still can’t touch Lush Tuca Tuca after a particularly rough OKCupid date at a Lord of the Rings-themed restaurant, during which I was lectured about the Singularity for longer than Return of the King. EXTENDED EDITION.)


In keeping with this principle, I decided on Baccarat Rouge, a scent I had spent very little time with, for the first date with my now-boyfriend Garrett. (This is the first time I’ve mentioned a boyfriend on the blog since college. I will be so mad if he dumps me tomorrow.)

No turning back now- meet Garrett, everyone!

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has described Baccarat Rouge as “burnt strawberry jam”, and that’s wonderfully accurate. Baccarat Rouge opens with a mouthwatering caramelized effect, candied with just a touch of savory. Fascinatingly, Baccarat Rouge is based around a very common ingredient, ethyl maltol, the sweet core of mainstream blockbusters like Thierry Mugler Angel and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. But where Angel and Flowerbomb are massive, hulking fragrances, Baccarat’s sweetness is airy, streamlined. It’s candy, but it’s polished, subtle candy, like a delicate toile of sugar on a Michelin-rated dessert. The burnt strawberry jam never fades away, but it’s gradually given depth by a quiet, fresh jasmine note, which just so happens to be the only kind of jasmine I can tolerate.

The ultimate proof of Baccarat Rouge’s allure? After a few months, Garrett ordered his own bottle.

What are your go-to date fragrances? Any scents you’ve had to banish after bad first dates?

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

It’s Rosh Hashanah, Honey!

Happy 5776, y’all! It’s the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. You might be familiar with the best-known Rosh Hashanah tradition, eating apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. (Less popular customs include eating fish heads. Perfume blog material right there!) As much as I know you were hoping for a list of fish head fragrances, you’ll have to settle for my favorite honey perfumes instead.

Capturing the bright sweetness of honey as a perfume note is tricker than you might expect. Perfume Shrine reports, “Phenylacetic acid is perceived as golden and honeyed in minute amounts, urinous in higher concentrations.” Yes, you read that right: urinous. An unbalanced honey note is a one-way ticket to cat pee territory. (Apparently it’s Gross Animal Byproduct Monday here at Scents of Self!)

If you’re still feeling brave enough, start 5776 off right with these delicious-and-totally-not-urinous-I-promise honey scents!

Ginestet Botrytis


Honey and white florals sing a crystal-clear soprano duet. Honey at its most delicate and tender.

M.A.C Africanimal


A glorious M.A.C limited edition, from back when M.A.C actually made fragrances instead of endless Miley Cyrus collections. It’s worth hunting down for its darker, richer honey note, like those $15.99 jars you see at organic grocery stores.

Absolue Pour Le Soir 


Heavy-hitting honey! A highly concentrated honey note and powerhouses like incense, cumin, and resins make Absolue Pour Le Soir potent, capital P perfumery.

By Kilian Back to Black 


Voluptuously thick honey drizzled over sweetly almond-flavored pipe tobacco. Back to Black was obviously named for Amy Winehouse, but I’ve always associated it with a rather different British beauty: this devastatingly sultry photo of Nigella Lawson.


CB I Hate Perfume Wildflower Honey


The description I wrote for Arielle Shoshana says, “A honey fragrance so shockingly realistic that we’re convinced it belongs in a bear-shaped squeezy bottle.” Nothing further to add!

Do you have a favorite fragrance with a honey note? Any other Rosh Hashanah-inspired recommendations? Please feel free to share with us in the comments!

Disclaimer: This post does not contain affiliate links. Wildflower Honey image source: http://intothegloss.com/2013/10/honey-skin-face-care/.