Everything is ———

cloudscentralparkI’m not low maintenance. I feel badly for my nearest and dearest sometimes. (Though if I were low maintenance, I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of things that I’ve done that I wanted to do.) Sometimes I make myself tired. Where to start, what to say, when I’m feeling picky and pokey and everything is just a little more meh than I want?

I don’t relax well. Maybe I just need to relax.

Perfume was supposed to be my relaxation. I was supposed to learn how to give in to the ephemerality of the moment and just be. Years of failing at meditation had led me to realize that nothing was not my nature; something is much easier for me, and perfume is a great something on which to cogitate when you’re not supposed to be doing anything.

I seem to have failed at that; instead I treat perfume like I treat too many things: a competition at which I intend to win.

OK, so. I win at perfume. All my perfume is moved; my beloved bought me a SUPER-COOL PERFUME CABINET about which to blog later; I can now SEE and FIND everything, which is EXTREMELY satisfying; and on top of everything else, I have recently 1) fallen in love with and acquired an absolutely delicious bottle of Encens Mythique; and 2) scored quite a score of new loves and backup bottles at the clearance sale at Henri Bendel, which is getting rid of its fine fragrance section. (I also got an awesome scarf. It’s possible I also have a scarf problem. I don’t want to talk about it.)

SO. How does one tell if one wins at perfume?

Better choices. For weeks (months), I felt like I was limited to the few things I could find. Now I can find whatever I want, and I am reveling in it. FINALLY I can find my vacation bottles. It was so stupid (because I had probably two dozen things I could have chosen from), but I packed up my Encens et Lavande while I was still in the throes of loving it. I kept hungering for it, but couldn’t have it. Not really a major annoyance, but a deprivation I didn’t like. (Spoiled much?) Now I can have it and I’m carrying a little decant of it around with me everywhere like a dog with its favorite bone. NOM. I love it.

Happy with the choices you make. I wore DSH Pamplemousse this morning for Now Smell This’ perfume challenge (wear something American for Independence Day). I love Pamplemousse but I didn’t actually want it this morning; too peppery, too vetivery, not what I wanted. Fortunately it wears off after a few hours, so I could go on and put on the Laila I actually had wanted except that I convinced myself to put on Pamplemousse (because someone on the blog mentioned it yesterday and I thought “What a great choice!” but then didn’t want it today). I could have made a better choice to start with, but I was happy I ended up in what I wanted to be in.

(I never said I was low maintenance.)

And (this is growing for me) feeling replete with options. I seem to be buying these days in bursts, but I’m just as often (or more often?) saying to myself “I’m actually already really happy with [the thing I have in that category].” I smelled an interesting sheer amber and thought “Pretty. But if I have L’Ambre des Merveilles, do I need it? No.” Obviously I am on an incense kick, but even in the full flail of craving incense, I HAVE a perfect lavender incense (obviously), floral incense (House of Matriarch’s Bohemian Black for chewy, aforementioned Encens Mythique for classic Guerlainy take on it), and my beloved Agonist Liquid Crystal which reads as a lemony incense on me; what else do I need in an incense wardrobe? I have Parfum Sacré; I don’t need anything else in the incense category. Certainly not right now.

That’s winning at perfume, right?

Maybe it’s just being satisfied, even as a person who’s never satisfied.

moose in condoLots of stuff besides just moving has occurred in the last two months; despite a stormy Fourth I’m having a happy July and hope you are having same. I’ll have to post some pictures of Moose. I think her level of satisfaction in the new place (she is not as high maintenance as me) is basically measured in the view she has out the window from the top of her kitty condo; the regularity of food deliveries; the amount of brushing she receives; and the discovery this week that the bedroom is air-conditioned. She is pretty phlegmatic about the weather, but that day it was 88 she actually ventured OUT of her kitty condo and discovered that the bedroom was air-conditioned. She spent the whole day under the air-conditioned bed. Her life doesn’t suck.

Mine’s pretty good too.

P.S. I continue to love this video.

Image is Central Park-Great Lawn, 05.24.14, by gigi_nyc, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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Gotta move

movingdayYes I want to write a wrap-up of Sniffapalooza, start reviewing some of the perfumes I smelled (I’ve really been enjoying SuléKó’s scents – I think there’s an English site too somewhere. The perfume is intended to follow in the footsteps of classic Russian perfumery; the bottles are to die for.)

But I have to move. Pity me. I don’t know how anyone else ever does this without disrupting their whole lives. Perhaps no one does. I have a heavy commitment schedule and I feel like I’m disappointing absolutely everyone these days. But stuff has to go to the new place.

Moving the perfume itself is a nontrivial activity. But my beloved has acquired for me possibly the perfect storage cabinet – I look forward to posting pictures of it, once it’s all done.

Moose is handling it well but we haven’t stayed overnight at the new place yet. My heart hurts for her because I know she will have some adjusting to do and she doesn’t handle anxiety well. But I know she’ll be happy to be in the new place with us and surrounded by all her usual stuff.

She now has a cat tree for the main room and a cat tree for upstairs. Because we will have an upstairs. It’s very exciting. We will also have a washing machine and a dryer. and one of those little water dispensers in the refrigerator door. I think it will feel like we are rich. But I’m not sure how to give up having someone else fold my laundry. (This is a very New York area thing. Washing machines in apartments are rare enough and people are busy enough that it’s quite common to take your laundry out to someone else. I don’t mind doing laundry but I haven’t folded anything but my nicer work clothes in about nine years. It’s going to be different. Our whole daily housekeeping ritual will be very different.)

I know lots of people treat their blogs very professionally, building up a backlog of content and posting on a schedule. I came from a lifestyle where blogging was a form of communication, person to person. I blog when I have something to say. Like a letter. So I don’t have a backlog of content. This is me today; this is all I have to share.

But eventually there will be more Unseen Censer!

Image is Moving Day from @kevinv033 via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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Merry Candy Perfume Wedding

Green leaf - alien skinToday the Candy Perfume Boy, well-known perfume reviewer and the fellow who made me fall in love with all fumes Mugler, is getting married.

After weeks, perhaps months of speculation, Thomas revealed that his wedding fragrance is .mito by vero profumo. So in honor of his wedding, I’m wearing .mito today and decided to review it.

(I would totally wear Tobacco Rose in honor of Nigel as well, except I don’t have any. Nonetheless, congratulations Nigel, and you also smell fantastic! I’m going to have to get some of this to try.)

Sometimes I fantasize about simplifying my whole perfume collection down to just one line. .mito is, to my nose, a practically perfect green perfume, in pretty much the same way as .rubj (Rubj?) is a perfect white floral. vero profumo would be an awesome line to be my one-and-only line, except 1) I totally can’t wear either .kiki or .onda and 2) I can’t do without a bunch of other perfumes.

The description of .mito indicates that it has white flowers in it, and that would totally be appropriate for Thomas, who is a lover of big ol’ white flower bouquet scents. On my skin the flowers are in the background. It’s green, not sheer, not juicy, but pure, with the citrus elements just intensifying and amplifying the green without an iota of sourness to it. In its spine I smell perhaps a hint of lavender, which might just be me; it just has that bracing outdoors freshness to it. The flowers flesh out the background, fat crisp petals giving it texture as if you could eat them. It would be perfect on a man in a tux. Even better on a man in a marriage ceremony.

I don’t know when I’ve ever smelled anything fresher, and all without the least hint of laundry musk. It’s real freshness, and I couldn’t think of a better scent for a young man starting out married life – which is always new, no matter how long a couple has been together.

Wedding scents are a hot topic even among people who aren’t perfume-heads. Among perfume lovers, it’s an almost immobilizing question: what do you want to smell on the big day, the day you’re joining your life to someone else’s, the smell that you will forever associate with the public acknowledgement of your love and legal union?

It’s an odd institution, marriage: the very public display and celebration of an intimate relationship, something that is essentially very private. Perfume is odd too, and discussing it even more so: talking (or blogging) about how you smell. It’s personal, isn’t it? So perhaps it’s not too surprising that two intimate topics are so often related.

Thomas’ approach to scent is always to educate others about it but above all to enjoy it and to encourage others to do so too. It’s the perfect blend of the personal and the public, as good blogging must be. This cheerfully hedonistic approach to perfume and the sharing of it makes all of us who’ve encountered him in the perfume world so happy to wish him an equally delightful joy in his wedding day. I hope it’s filled with nothing but beautiful sights, sounds, tastes, and yes, scents.

Image is Green leaf alien by @Doug88888, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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Hoard Porn 2: The Drawer Returns

How can the drawer return? You haven’t seen the drawer yet! The first hoard porn post was about the top of the bureau!

Deep breaths, everyone. Deep breaths.

This is Drawer 2 of perfume in my lingerie bureau. The drawers have held up surprisingly well to fairly heavy bottle storage. A lot of older and/or . . . → Read More: Hoard Porn 2: The Drawer Returns

It’s got to be love or nothing

The plain truth is that I would do much better at holding down my perfume acquisition costs if I only bought things I truly loved. How well do you do?

I think one of the challenges is overintellectualizing the whole thing. I convince myself I want an amber or a vetiver. So I go shopping . . . → Read More: It’s got to be love or nothing

Goddamn Housekeeping

So after hours of work to set up and hack to look the way I wanted it to look, and one week of working properly, Pie Register needed to be updated — which broke everything.

I can’t get it back to work after 20 minutes and I don’t care enough to dick around with the . . . → Read More: Goddamn Housekeeping


I did some upkeep at, updating our password and login management. I’m not sure I like it. Hopefully no one who has an existing account will have any problems, nor will people who join us hereafter.

If you DO have any problems, please do drop me a comment or email at unseencenser at!

. . . → Read More: Housekeeping

The dark heart of a tea party

One of my goals on my recent trip to Europe was to stop in the U.K. to sniff as many scents from 4160Tuesdays as possible.

The delightful and knowledgable Sarah McCartney, nose and owner of 4160Tuesdays, made it very possible by kindly allowing me to visit her studio and smell EVERY. THING.

I discovered 4160Tuesdays . . . → Read More: The dark heart of a tea party

Enter the Colognoisseur

Did you notice the new blog in the blogroll to the left? The Colognoisseur is perfume news, highlights, information, and musings by none other than Mark Behnke, long famed in the perfume world.

If you’ve ever been to a Sniffapalooza you know Mark, in his Hawaiian shirts and hat holding court wherever the caravan happens . . . → Read More: Enter the Colognoisseur

Cotton candy that feels Smart

Increasingly I’m thinking of perfumes in terms of shapes. When I say that something blew up into a hollow bubble, that’s really what it feels like to me: no substance, but an aura almost solidified into a shell. It might even be shaped like an igloo, with a beginning in a different shape, or something . . . → Read More: Cotton candy that feels Smart