Perfume will be a life long love affair of mine, but I have yet to find a true love who I will stay faithful to. From when I was 12, I had a lovely French penpal who's mother was a typically chic and stylish French woman and who bought me my first ever bottle of perfume - Amazone by Hermes (not a bad way to start). A whole new world opened up. Amazone seems almost impossible to find these days, but at that time it seemed to me like a very grown up perfume, miles away from the sweet Body Shop ones my friends would wear, and so I loved it.
I remember years ago reading a quote in a newspaper article about the power of perfume, and after much googling I finally found it. Attributed to Joan Juliet Buck, the editor of French Vogue, talking about the scent of narcissus absolute: "Just a drop on each wrist and two in the bath were enough to send silver running down the walls. It set the world throbbing out of control when I wore it. I became a little weird". Now I ask you - how can you argue with a scent that will do that?
I'm in the midst of moving so a large number of my perfumes are in another house, but this is what's currently in heavy rotation...
from the left (and with thanks to Now Smell This and basenotes.net for their breakdown of ingredients):
Apres l'Ondée by Guerlain - I sought this out after reading Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love where one of her characters wears it and finally bought it in the ridiculously OTT Guerlain store on the Champs Elysees. I love that it's a real oldie - created in 1906 and described by Guerlain as 'a rural landscape suddenly bathed in sunshine after rain'. To me it smells of violets, and moss and more like walking in the woods after the rain. It also has iris in it which is always delicious in a perfume.
Tabarôme by Creed - this is another real oldie, first created in 1875. It's technically for men, but I've often been drawn to men's fragrances. It smells of sandalwood, patchouli and tobacco with other spices. Smelling it makes me think of an old library, leather armchairs and an open fire. It's not as old man-y as I'm making it sound though and I've had compliments when I've worn it quite often. It's a bold one though - love or hate.
Eau de Cobson by Corinne Cobson - I think this is technically a unisex one. It's fresh and peppery with grapefuit and bergamot. I love this, but have no idea if I can buy it again as ordered it from a random catalogue many years ago.
Lolita Lempicka - this is a youngster at only just 12 years old. I originally bought this on a family holiday to France when it was quite new and to this day my family all love it when I wear it as it reminds them of happy holidays. An uncharacteristic choice for me, this is sweet and edible smelling. Lots of vanilla is the first thing that hits you. It also contains notes of some of my favourite smells - violet and vetiver. It makes e feel cosy to wear this if that makes sense; plus the little violet apple bottle is adorable.
Cristalle by Chanel - this was created in the 70s and is another fresh green smelling scent. Mandarin, jasmine and lemon. I've been through countless bottles of this as I love the fact it smells citrus and fresh but has a hint of floral to it as well. This is a real classic that I'm sure I'll never stop wearing.
Opone by Diptyque - I will never forget my first visit to the Diptyque shop in Paris...heaven. The candles currently seem far too expensive to justify, but the perfumes last for a long time and are perhaps a better investment until the pound rallies. I secretly rather love the pretentious description they give this one as it really sums it up perfectly: "rounding the cape where spices are grown, under full sail, bound for fragrant gardens of roses and saffron" Spicey rose is just what this smells like, and the spices somehow turn the rose into a very different creature as I never thought I'd find myself wearing a perfume based on rose.
Michael by Michael Kors - descibed by the man himself as "glamourous but simple" which sums it up perfectly. It's very warm and it's the kind of perfume I think that men really like as it's not too complicated, and likeable on first sniff. It has tuberose, peony and tamarind so it's flowery but a little spicey too. It's close to my heart as it has special memories since I bought it and first started wearing it when I lived in New York *sigh*
Infusion d'Iris by Prada - generally I hate buying a perfume that's not already well established and especially one I actually see being launched. Mostly this is me being a snob and not wanting to wear what everyone will be wearing, plus I generally like perfumes with a bit of history. However, I can't resist the scent of iris, so I was sold. It also contains mandarin, cedar and neroli. I read one reviewer describing it has having "a quiet elegance" and this really sums it up beautifully - it makes me think of beautifully groomed women with immaculate make up looking effortlessly stylish wearing cashmere and silk.
Mitsouko by Guerlain - 1919 this first made its first appearance and it is now a hugely well loved classic. Bergamot, peach, jasmine moss and vetiver are some of the components, but for me it's the smell of vetiver and moss that dominate. I don't find this to be at all floral smelling on me. I picked up a bottle on the spur of the moment as it was incredibly cheap and I'd always been curious. On first squirt I hated it, but I persevered and have grown to like it more and more. Much like my feelings on Martinis. You've got to work a bit to get there but it's worth it in the end. I still question whether I'm enough of of a woman yet to wear it - give it another 15 years though and I might start wearing it regularly, with pearls (and I definitely don't mean that in a pejorative way).
What's your current favourite perfume?