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scents and sensibility
April 15, 2007 5:00 AM   Subscribe

The world of perfume and fragrances: the International Perfume Museum at Grasse, France. International perfume bottles. Unusual perfumes, like Vulva [nsfw] or fun ones, like Play-Doh and cotton candy etc. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye (38 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Essential oils or attars.
Perfume and fragrance blogs with sensual reviews: Perfume-Smellin' Things , 1000 Fragrances , Now Smell This.
Reviews of Russian perfumes.

A passion for perfume bottles.

Perfume world encyclopedia.
Articles about perfume on the web.
Mini-encyclopedia/search engine of perfumes and brands.
The smell of love.
Perfume, the novel.
New Yorker article on creating a new perfume for Herm├Ęs with lots of info about the contemporary perfume business.
The history of perfumes.
Marie-Antoinette perfume revived.

Basic percentages that show the differences between a perfume, cologne, Eau de Cologne etc.
Glossary.
ScentedPages, a virtual library catalogue dedicated to the culture of smell (the excerpts section is interesting).
The science of smell.
posted by nickyskye at 5:01 AM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


CB I Hate Perfume art perfumes, like In the Library or Winter 1972.
posted by nickyskye at 5:07 AM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is great. Thanks!
posted by selfmedicating at 5:41 AM on April 15, 2007


Those Demeter perfumes are awesome -- now I know what to get my sister for her birthday. Thanks
posted by hjo3 at 5:47 AM on April 15, 2007


I've turned into a perfume dork so I appreciate this post, nickyskye. Thanks.

Am I the only one who visits perfumeemporium.com to read the reviews by W.B., ROB H., R.J. and the other regulars on the male forums? It's amazing how they have managed to review pretty much every major brand and perfume available.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:56 AM on April 15, 2007


Sorry nickyskye, there's just not enough links here. You're getting lazy. ;-)

I wonder, what's with those women who just wear WAY too much perfume? The kind of person who just completely takes over your olfactory universe while they're still twenty paces away, and you're still smellin' 'em when they're twenty paces gone? How can they stand it? Are their noses just shot, from too much scent? That's my theory. They have to use more and more, cause they themselves can't really smell it anymore.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 AM on April 15, 2007


I gotta admit, though, I do want to get my nose in the vicinity of that Vulva perfume. Did they really capture that... essence? Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on April 15, 2007


OMG! Check it out! MeFi goes perfume mad!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:09 AM on April 15, 2007


And where's my USB "Smell-the-web" device? These links would make much more sense then (although I am familiar with the scent of the NSFW one).

- Yesterday's dressage video should smell of ponies and hay
- Newspaper sites should smell of fresh print
- Bad porno sites should smell of lube and despair

etc..
posted by imperium at 6:11 AM on April 15, 2007


flapjax at midnite writes " Did they really capture that... essence?"

Made from the most precious hand-reared 12 volt batteries a man can buy!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:13 AM on April 15, 2007


flapjax at midnite writes " Did they really capture that... essence?"

Made from the most precious hand-reared 12 volt batteries a man can buy!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:24 AM on April 15, 2007


A typically beautiful post, nickyskye. I stick with eau de toilettes because I know if I were to start a perfume habit it'd get out of hand fairly quickly (and this one from Pre de Provence is such a wonderful fresh apricot I don't want to wear anything else, especially in spring). I'm especially fond of old perfume bottles. I saw the most beautiful 1920s Lalique cobalt blue bottle at a tatty rural antique mall once. It had the figure of a girl in silver sitting on a half-moon surrounded by stars. So beautiful, if not as spectacular as this. That way lies madness, debt, and possibly prison, so I just admire from afar. But damn, did I want that gorgeous little thing.

Thanks again for this lovely post.
posted by melissa may at 6:32 AM on April 15, 2007


" Did they really capture that... essence?"

If nothing else this perfume wins hands down in the "perfumes I do not want my wife to smell on my collar when I come home from work" catagory.
posted by BostonJake at 6:36 AM on April 15, 2007


This is neat - I really wish I had a squijillion dollars to order the Marie Antoinette perfume. I've always wondered about what people in the past have smelled like - especially the ones who are famous for having used perfume or "perfumed oils" in the case of the Egyptians. Could we have a Cleopatra or Nefertiti perfume next? That would be awesome.

The Vulva perfume though... creeps me out. I'm as fond of the pussy as the next hasbian, but why on earth would you want your wrists or your neck to smell like vagina? It's disconcerting.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2007


I'm soooo curious about this one. It's named after the year I was born & sounds like it might just smell EXACTLY like my childhood summers in San Diego. Huh!
posted by miss lynnster at 7:00 AM on April 15, 2007


Grapefruitmoon, I actually have a bunch of Egyptian perfume here that I smuggled back last year. I mostly bought the scents that they don't export. They're really wonderful & they're 100% pure so supposedly they never go bad. The bottles are really cool too. Gave a bunch of perfume to people as gifts.

You would DIE if you could see the inside of the Cairo perfume shop I bought them in (Here's the front of it... the lighting's bad though.) It was so cool, didn't feel touristy like the others I saw. This one just felt sooo... old Egyptian. They served me tea as they had all sorts of bottles brought out for me to smell. One thing I discovered was that in Egypt my eyes were a big source of interest because blue & green eyes are somewhat rare and a sign of luck. I was getting comments from people 3 or 4 times a day. So that came in handy with the perfume dealer too (even though he was obviously trying to make a sale). He kept saying, "Your eyes are beautiful. I will give you bigger discount. When I look at them, I cannot help it." Then when his discount wasn't low enough, I'd say, "Here. Why don't you look at my eyes again and make the price lower, ok?" It became really funny after a while. He'd offer a price and I'd just stare at him & point to my eyes instead of telling him to try another price. I think I actually got an ok deal in the end and even if I didn't it was fun to haggle.

Anyhow I'm not awake enough to go into the other room and get the names of the two main Egyptian scents I got but I can do that later if you want to know what they are. I also got lavender & Egyptian mint.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:14 AM on April 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Why do I suspect that the Vulva scent comes not from that attractive model, but frumpy former Soviet-bloc potato-faced women? Or maybe livestock?
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 AM on April 15, 2007


Oh, and yeah, I get a headache from the vast majority of perfumes. My head just closes all up and starts to throb, especially around sweet perfumes. I about started crying and vomiting the last time I was stuck on a bus with a bus with a bunch of young girls (tweenish). You could just see the light bending, rippling in their stink lines.
I also hate how a lot of department stores make me walk past the perfume counters (or cologne, since a fair amount does that to me too). I end up with elaborate routes to avoid the chemical warfare.
posted by klangklangston at 7:34 AM on April 15, 2007


Aw, the glue cologne spray description answered my question about it at the end of the first paragraph.
posted by iguanapolitico at 7:42 AM on April 15, 2007


I'm with ya. My sinuses go CRAZY with too much perfume. Actually, almost ten years ago I was at that perfume museum but my allergies started going so ballistic that I left without really checking it out. I absolutely couldn't deal, I got out of there FAST. I think the Egyptian stuff bothered me less because it was purer or something, I don't know. Didn't start sneezing there though.

Worst is when you walk into an elevator that someone has stunk up. You're just stuck in there, suffocating. I don't get how people could be so oblivious that they're BATHING in stink.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:44 AM on April 15, 2007


Very fun & cool post, nickyskye -- this will keep me occupied for a fair spell.

I have a few perfume links to throw into the mix - in the strange perfume category: Virtue - scent from the Bible and some earthy scents.

Perfume, a cute song from the Sparks, some background music to surf your links.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:08 AM on April 15, 2007


Heh, just noticed that Scents from the Bible is the next post , too - as flapjax at midnite pointed out, too - duh!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:22 AM on April 15, 2007


Little Boy Cologne -- SUPERMAN For Boys fragrance set:
"SUPERMAN carries notes of bergamot and petitgrain take on hints of Orange Blossom, with woody tones complemented with a touch of vanilla and musk. Set Contains: 1 Eau De Toilette Spray; Kids Watch."
posted by ericb at 8:38 AM on April 15, 2007


miss lynnster, most perfume wearers believe you're 'repressing' them by complaining. Clearly you object to it because either:

a) you don't like it, and want to shove your tastes down everyone's throats; or
b) any actual symptoms you have are all in your head. After all, it doesn't bother them, so it can't be bothering you. (These are the same people who generally think that anyone with cancer, heart disease, etc. "did something" to cause it. Until it's them, of course.)

I wonder if heavy perfume/cologne/aftershave wearers realize that a lot of people assume they were just too lazy to shower that morning. That's what I always assume.
posted by watsondog at 8:56 AM on April 15, 2007


A good day for a Sunday nap here in NYC with a nor'easter blustering outside. I always wanted a weather site that described the day's weather like perfume: topnote, lemon verbena freshness with a slight apple blossom chill and strong downpour basenote of basil and moss.

Foci for Analysis, YAYY perfume dorks! Thanks for balancing this post with input from men who love perfume. I tried finding info on the history of men's colognes and aftershaves but couldn't, which seems strange, since it's worn by gazillions of men and women sometimes too. As a perfume dorkette I look forward to reading those reviews at perfumeemporium.com by W.B., ROBH. and R.J.

flapjax, love your joie de vivre. The truth is that I really wanted to link the wonderful Barcelona Museum of Perfume but the site is 404'ed. As a result I got a dose of overlink compensation syndrome (OCS).

Yeah, the wallop-people-in-the-schnozz perfume or after-shave wearers, female and male, seem to be empathy impaired or something. The other day I was sitting in my fave local Japanese noodle soup place and a cute, friendly guy from southern Spain sat next to me at the counter but, dang, he was so Pepe Le Pew. And yesterday I cheek-kissed a male friend and had to wash my face because I was now plastered with his heavy duty after shave. nnnggg.

Delighting in perfume is a more subtle pleasure, simply whiffing a bottle or putting a tiny dab on my wrist, so I can smell it througout the day. Years ago I bought a box with 100 tiny bottles of different perfume and essential oils, made in India, and on occasion I take them out for quiet ecstasy.

melissa may, omg, you like apricot perfume and exquisite perfume bottles too! Am going to make a trip to Sephora to try and find that Apricot Eau de Toilette by Pre de Provence. Have you smelled the Index Fig Apricot perfume by Fresh? mmm. And that Lalique bottle page is fabulous! wow, really beautiful.

grapefruitmoon, huh, never heard of a hasbian before. The things one learns here. :)

At Henri Bendel's in NYC they sell both Annick Goutal and L'Artisan Parfumeur/Jean Laporte fragrances. I think one of those created a collection of historic perfumes, really delicious ones, based on recipes from the Renaissance. And they're not a gazillion bucks.

mjj, You're such a sweetie. Thank you for being so positive and nice. Thanks also for the fun additional links. I love the cute Sparks song!

misslynnster, have so been enjoying your posts and comments! Oooh, you went to an Egyptian perfumer?! Wow, major envy. Sooo cool! The photograph of his front door is marvelous! You blue-green eyed vixen haggler you. Thanks for sharing your story and pic. I love the exotic Middle Eastern attars, neroli, thuja, mogra, hina and especially North Indian khus (vetiver)...bliss.
posted by nickyskye at 10:46 AM on April 15, 2007


hasbian: Used to be a lesbian, then married a dude. It's more common than you would think. I have several friends who are hasbians as well.

miss lynnster: My big blue eyes and I are now officially DYING to go to Egypt. Yesterday. If not sooner. HOLY COW.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:14 PM on April 15, 2007


I want perfumes that will make me smell like a pine forest (NOT Pine Sol) or baking chocolate-chip cookies. Especially the baking chocolate-chip cookies. Where would I find this?
posted by schroedinger at 12:26 PM on April 15, 2007


schroedinger, you find it at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab--- the only kind of perfume I'll wear anymore. They are to perfumes what Mozart was to classical.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:59 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay grapefruitmoon, so I looked at the bottles. I got Lavender, Mint (good for clearing blocked sinuses), Lotus Flower and Secret of the Desert. That last one, they warn you to only use a little tiny bit or else men will ravage you. I've been saving it for a special occasion. (Obviously, it gets too annoying to have men ravaging me all the time when I'm trying to pump gas in my car & buy groceries & stuff.) Anyhow, so Secret of the Desert is a blend of more than 100 flowers claimed to be the Viagra of the ancients. It was supposedly used by King Ramses II, who fathered 106 children.

These are a lot of the Egyptian scents. I definitely liked the four I got the best. Some of the others are Egyptian versions of major perfumes, and the others were either too musky or just not something I would wear. And besides a bunch of little bottles I also got 2 oil burner diffusers. They make them from blown glass. Pretty cool, really.

Oh, and I just remembered that it wasn't tea they gave me to drink at the perfume place. It was hibiscus juice.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:59 PM on April 15, 2007


schroedinger, you find it at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab--- the only kind of perfume I'll wear anymore. They are to perfumes what Mozart was to classical.

Oh, yeah, I love their stuff. For pine-but-not-Pine-Sol-pine, there's Black Forest (scroll down... you can't link to individual ones). Baku, IIRC, also has a nice piney scent. I don't know about chocolate-chip cookies, but they have one called Bliss (same section as Black Forest, just a little farther down) that's just milk chocolate.
posted by Many bubbles at 2:15 PM on April 15, 2007


(Oh, and if you want to try a smaller quantity than 5mL, they have smaller sizes for most of them. The link's not obvious, so I thought I'd point that out.)
posted by Many bubbles at 2:20 PM on April 15, 2007


Previously. I'm not saying that makes this a double, because there are a whole bunch of links in this post, and only one in the previous one. I just thought it deserved pointing out.
posted by cerebus19 at 3:48 PM on April 15, 2007


"hasbian" - love it!

I'll admit that I love perfume. I don't want to smell it on anybody unless they are my girlfriend or my mom, but I love it. If the world smelled like Creed Silver Mountain Water all the time I would not complain.

I bought my mom some Hermes Eau de Merveilles for her birthday, and it smells like oranges and pepper and the seashore. Just amazing.

And a long time ago, I dated a girl who liked Salvador Dali perfume (surprisingly good). When I would nuzzle her neck and get a whiff, I would say, "hello dali" - oh to be young again.
posted by vronsky at 5:46 PM on April 15, 2007


Ha, WidgetAlley beat me to the BPAL mention... Miss L, if the pure perfume oils you picked up in Egypt don't bother you the way a lot of more mass-market fragrances do, you might want to check this stuff out. They've got some very unique blends, and quite a few nifty scents based on antique perfume recipes.

And schroedinger, BPAL has a lot of blends with pine and chocolate notes. Demeter Fragrances might also be just what you're looking for -- they're not as concentrated as BPAL but their scents tend to be very, very true to the names:

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Christmas Tree
Fraser Fir
Cypress
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


"hasbian" - love it!

When I would nuzzle her neck and get a whiff, I would say, "hello dali"

Which, no doubt, is why she dumped you and considered becoming a "willbian".

Jes' kiddin', vron! You know I love you!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:36 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


wow great set of links! i make perfumes for a living.. and i still had much to learn from the links.

i normally try and blend perfumes in front of the customer.. so its always great to tell a little story about the perfumes when doing that.
posted by m o q s h a at 9:30 PM on April 15, 2007


Ah, one more addition to the "smell like a pine forest" search: my flist has just conveniently popped up with a review of BPAL's Loup Garou, which their catalog lists as "juniper, cypress and galangal with the barest touch of eucalyptus", but my reviewing friend described as coming out smelling like pine and juniper with a faint hint of citrusy coolness.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 2:44 AM on April 16, 2007


For all of you who love how smells or perfumes evoke certain memories or moods, you should check out Smell of the Day. The author will take a particular scent and recount stories of what that scent means to her. Nice brief meditations on smells. Lovely writing.
posted by billder at 3:24 PM on April 16, 2007


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