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)

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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.

Monday Motivation

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Welcome to another round of Monday Motivation! Monday Motivation is a (hopefully) exciting new feature that I’ve borrowed from the beauty blog Temptalia. Every Monday, I tell you what’s motivating me to get through this week (perfume-wise and otherwise), and then ask you to do the same!

My big news this Monday is that I will be moving home to Bethesda tomorrow! Most college grads don’t get too excited about the prospect of living at home, but I’m really glad to be living closer to my brother and the Santa Maria Novella boutique in Chevy Chase. Now that all of the perfumes are packed (SO MUCH BUBBLE WRAP), my biggest concern is the already-vicious cat who’s never experienced a move before…

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What’s getting you through the week? Please share with us in the comments!

Santa Maria Novella Amber

It’s too weird to see how my hometown has changed in the three years I’ve been away. Bethesda is so fancy now! There’s an Apple store where the old Blockbuster used to be, and I counted at least two organic juice bars. They’ve been upping the Bethesda beauty game, too; the past few years have seen a new Sephora, bluemercury, and, most recently, a Santa Maria Novella boutique. Santa Maria Novella has a charmingly old-world backstory: they claim to have originated as an Italian pharmacy in 1612. Who knows? This boutique doesn’t look much like any of the Italian pharmacies I’ve ever seen (too spacious), but the products and packaging do have a pleasing apothecary vibe.

I desperately wanted to take pictures of this adorable shop for y’all, but I was regretfully informed by the very sweet SAs that SMN does not allow photography. Instead, they gave me my very own scroll with information on SMN’s history and products. A scroll, y’all! This must be what Moses felt like. I will treasure it always (and by treasure, I mean “try not to let Zelda use it as a cat toy”).

I am fairly certain that this scroll makes me a knight.

They also generously made me a sample of the satisfyingly meaty Santa Maria Novella Amber cologne. Imagine that you were to wear a standard amber perfume while barbecuing for a few hours. The end result would be something like this smoky, savory take on amber. SMN Amber is bone-dry, making it as intimidating as it is intriguing. SMN calls this a cologne, but it’s resolutely unisex (unless the smell of barbecue has a gendered component that I’m somehow missing). If SMN offered sizes other than 100 ml, I would have bought it on the spot.