Before leaving for my vacation, I packed up all of my perfumes. With a possible overseas move in the cards, I’m not sure when I’ll be reunited with all of them under one roof, so it made sense to separate them into a few batches: one to take with me on vacation, a second to take with me for a move of a few years, and a third to leave in “long-term” storage.
And guess what? It was dead easy.
I doubt this would have been the case a year ago, or more. There are innumerable “desert island perfume” polls in the blogosphere, and though I haven’t gone back to look, I’m sure I struggled to name a handful. But not so anymore. As I surveyed my collection, I knew exactly which perfumes to keep with me.
Vetiver Tonka (Hermes, Jean Claude Ellena) is wonderfully grounded. Liquid yoga. No. 19 and No. 19 Poudre (Chanel, Henri Robert and Jacques Polges, respectively). After initially being skeptical on Poudre, I have come around to it. These perfumes imbue me with energy. They are perfect for work. Bronze Goddess (Estee Lauder, Rodrigo Flores-Roux) offers the sheer happiness of wearing something that smells like the beach and is universally pleasing. A good choice when I want to spread good cheer. Borneo 1834 (Serge Lutens, Christopher Sheldrake) just feels like “me,” even though I – weirdly – do not often want to smell like Borneo 1834. (Psychoanalysts, have at it.) La Tulipe (Byredo, Jerome Epinette and Ben Gorham) is pure and so, so beautiful. Dita von Teese Parfum (perfumer unknown) is so pretty, so feminine, so easy to wear without being casual. The closest thing to an “everyday” scent for me. L’Instant Magic (Guerlain, Randa Hammami) is my loudest perfume. Not for everyone, it is nonetheless one that I love for making a statement. It is also the only perfume Mr. APB has purchased for me, which makes it very special. Shalimar (Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain) has been worn less frequently lately, as Mr. APB finally confessed that his mom wore it (and until you have had this experience, do not try to imagine your reaction – I thought it wouldn’t bother me at all, but it does). I still love it and wear it, but I plan to transfer my love to its cousin Vol de Nuit when I’ve used up my Shalimar. Reglisse Noir (1000 Flowers, Jessica Buchanan) is happy, pretty, and wonderfully distinct. Miss Dior Cherie (Dior, Christine Nagel) is a long-time favorite. This is another one that just feels right on me. Traversee du Bosphore (L’Artisan, Bertrand Duchaufour) grew on me slowly. I liked it right away, but since finally springing for a full bottle about two years ago, I’ve been surprised how often I reach for it. It’s interesting, but also easy to wear.
So that’s 12 perfumes for my desert island perfume wardrobe. These don’t encompass all the perfumes that I love, but they encompass the perfumes I wear most often as well as the ones that I may not wear often but would not want to be without.
Surveying the list, it occurs to me that as a perfumista, I have “grown up.” I’m as enthusiastic about perfume as ever, but I now know my own taste pretty well. When I smell something new, it is fairly easy for me to determine if it’s something I want or need to own (and usually it isn’t). And I’m comfortable with my taste, which leans toward the quirkier but more uncomplicated side of the scent spectrum.
Similarly, my wish list has shrunk. At the moment, it includes only two “definite buys” (Vol de Nuit pure parfum and Love Coco) and two “maybe” buys (Angel EdT and MDCI Enlevement au Serail).
Rather than finding myself less excited about perfume, I have found my current mindset has opened a new aspect of the sniffing hobby for me: now I’m less distracted by finding things that I, personally, want to wear and I am able to let my curiosity lead my nose even more.
Now, some of you might be wondering about the runners up in the desert island list. So I’ll finish this post up with the runners up list: Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, Lancome Climat, Caron Aimez Moi, DSH Ma Folie de Noel, Dior Miss Dior (Originale), Opus Oils Charm, Tauer Lonestar Memories.
What about you? Do you have a desert island list? Do you think you could come up with one? And what is your age in perfumista/o years?