Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Love of Iris & Vetiver, and the November Top 10

I could just present the Pink Manhattan blog Top 10 Fragrances of 2012 early this year; then again, my hierarchy of favorites could change between now and the end of December, and I want my list to reflect the "fragrance footprint" of my entire year. I can tell you that my perfume sampling has slowed down, between learning which perfumes I keep coming back to each year, and already knowing what a vast number of perfumes smell like, enough to not be so curious anymore. Although there are many more scents in the world to learn, I feel like a seasoned perfumista.

In my life, there are some scents I will always have around, either because of the memories attached to them or because they have become my wardrobe staples, some perfumes I won't touch for long periods of time but I know (or hope) I'll return to one day, and many that will never go beyond unfinished sample vials I've stashed in my collection. My goal is to refine my own taste to a discernable pattern, in hopes of understanding why I'm drawn to the scents I like, even if this is a futile plan and more of an exercise to keep my beloved hobby going. It's also fun to see if my taste evolves or changes over time, or if it's fairly cut and dry, predestined if you will, aside from some things I've developed an acquired taste for. As with many things in life, only time will tell, but as time goes by, I'm ever more grateful for these fragrances I've discovered which, like beloved pieces of music, keep me entertained and rewarded time after precious time.

Early fall seemed like the perfect time to transition from sweet gourmands and fresh berries or citrus to warmer, muskier scents. Now that it feels like the midst of foliage is upon us, as the mornings get colder and the nights longer, I'm falling deeper in love with Aldehydic Florals, especially woody and vanillic ones. I've decided my favorite Frederic Malle perfume (and perhaps all-time favorite) is Iris Poudre, and I have no idea when I'll return to my love of Une Fleur de Cassie. Likewise, I've deserted my white florals--gardenias and tuberoses--and returned to my childhood dream of "the perfect perfume", the radiant jasmine-rose classic, Jean Patou Joy (parfum). But even more often than I wear Joy, I turn to Guerlain's great aromatics, Jicky and Vetiver. I enjoy their freshness with a counterpoint of deep base notes.

I'm not against new fragrances that spawn on the shelves of Sephora each season; I've got my candied modern scents for when the mood hits: Lady Gaga Fame, Ralph Lauren Big Pony No.2. However, my current taste leans towards the classics and one modern classic Iris Poudre in the style of Chanel No.5. I wore No.5 more often than No.19 this month, even though No.5 had been on the back burner for so long. Interestingly, the creation of Iris Poudre was supposedly inspired by No.19, yet it reminds me so much more of No.5, the warmer, woodier sister to the vintage Aldehydic green, hyacinth-flowery, younger and fresher No.19. The white floral No.22 has not been on the radar; it seems too shrill for a powdery scent--like Liu--and I used to think it was the other way around, that No.5 was the shrill one. But what note really makes these classics what they are? Florentine iris. So I could say I've found my favorite white floral which happens to be the iris flower and smells more or less Green. Vetiver also plays an integral part of the scents I currently enjoy.

Although I have little use for white floral bouquets, I find Hermes 24, Faubourg refreshingly Old World perfumey. The new bottles of Miss Dior and Balmain Ivoire available on the counters today are as soulless as anything devoid of the depth and richness of true perfume essences as aftershavey colognes found in drugstores--surely Coty Emeraude was once beautiful enough to perhaps inspire Guerlain Shalimar--but 24, Faubourg still smells like a woman who unshakenly knows she can be beautiful throughout her life, for beauty is truly more than skin deep--it is the essence of one's soul, found in the gracefulness of her ways. I'm afraid to try the newly reformulated Vetiver, but I'll try to be hopeful.

Here is my Top 10 for November 2012:
1. Frederic Malle Iris Poudre
2. Guerlain Vetiver (1961)
3. Guerlain Jicky
4. Jean Patou Joy parfum
5. Lady Gaga Fame
6. Ralph Lauren Big Pony No.2
7. Creed Spring Flower
8. Chanel No.5
9. Loris Azzaro Azzura
10. Hermes 24, Faubourg

Last edited: 2:39 a.m.