Hoard Porn 2: The Drawer Returns

The DrawerHow 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 rarer things (older in the sense of I acquired them first) are in Drawer 1, which we may one day get to. But I felt like starting with Drawer 2.

Highlights of Drawer 2 of course include the vintage Chanel atomizer of No. 19 standing up there on the right, and the gold Kilian atomizer tucked in behind the red box for, I believe that’s an old bottle of Panthère. Personal favorites also include the vintage N’Aimez que Moi (eau de toilette, I think) with its oval stopper toward the back, the precious Wobbly Heart bottle of Kingdom wedged in the middle, Padparadscha standing on the left like a wallflower and the turquoise cap of an Azureé Soleil on the right.

You might also notice the wired champagne-type top of a vintage Champagne bottle, the recognizably knobby top of an Annick Goutal (I think it’s Rose Splendide), that weird pyramidy top to Cuir de Lancôme, and obviously a teeny Aftelier box shoved in the back.

Less recognizable might be the 4160Tuesdays’ square acrylic cap of Over the Chocolate Shop; the silver pebble atop a Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté; the black multisided cap of my Piguet Notes; or the white top of the box of my Amouage Homage attar squatting in the middle of it all.

Lots of the caps are very recognizable to me, of course by design. (Love the square portable heavy Molton Brown bottles to the right of the Cuir, the matte gold top of Like This, or the bright orange paper envelope of the deluxe sample of Ambre Narguile I have tucked to the side.) I’m not likely to misplace the rectangular black blob in the front, which is the fantastic foam case that holds three minis from Histoires de Parfums (I think that’s 1828, Vert Pivoine, and Tuberose 2 (Virginale) in there.) Nor am I likely to lose track of the cut-steel travel case for Le Labo, which weighs several pounds (no it doesn’t) and could undoubtedly be used to kill a man (that part’s probably true).

No, what was killing me in this drawer for a long time was the decants, or even just matching bottles. I drastically improved my life when I gave up on the pristine-ness of the bottles and started writing on the top with Sharpie.

I have black Sharpie for gold or silver or clear tops, and gold Sharpie for black tops. Works like a charm. Some of them are sort of odd abbreviations, but at least they’re recognizable as hatch marks I can usually decode.

The toughest ones to write on were the clear plastic tops of atomizers, because they often have a mold dot or a divot in the top that just ruins the writing surface. Nonetheless, they too have been marked. You can see my little wad of Roja Dove decants in the front, the decants of Silver Iris and Gold Leather just behind and to the left, and, yes, a bottle of White Diamonds on the right. Obviously, the brilliant white paper boxes MCMC scents come in were perfect for writing on the top of (there’s Kept and Maui lurking towards the back left.)

Revolutionized my life, I tell you.

I’m not really sure whether to file this under “embarrassing” or “brilliant”. (Aren’t all personal hoards ambivalent that way?) If you have a genius methodology for finding the perfume you want, sing out!

Next hoard porn may feature my new lazy susan. It’s pretty exciting. *Is a complete and total geek.*

Just *looking* at this I want to go play in it! Don’t you enjoy your perfume collection more when you make the time to paw through it?

Image is my own. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. Truly. Don’t pass around my personal pictures of my drawers. I wouldn’t do it to you.

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It’s got to be love or nothing

allyouneedisloveThe 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 for one. Along the way I find something I think I don’t want – because really, I have enough jasmine white florals or cinnamon gourmands – but I still love it, so I want that. TOO.

What I find happens is that I wear the things I love more often than the things I acquired for some reason. Even if the reason is “is very interesting and nothing like anything else in my collection and I enjoy it.” If I don’t enjoy it ENOUGH, I don’t really wear it.

I thought I was clever smelling the bell jars of Serge Lutens’ perfume here in the states before I would have a chance to buy them, at almost half the price, in Paris.

And I still feel like I was clever, as long as I can survive the embarrassment of my shopping buddy totally revealing my plan to the sales associate, who then regarded me rather like something she would find under a rug.

As long as you can stand embarrassment, this is the method I endorse, because those damn bell jars are too expensive.

For some reason (I suppose insanity), I felt like this was my opportunity to connect with a Serge. I’ve never fallen in love with one (though someday I need the Fleur d’Oranger, I’m obviously living a full life without it) and Serge Lutens is such a big part of The Perfumista Community, I wanted to find one I loved. Not that I have to always find one of a brand that I love. But I just… wanted to.

I smelled all the bell jars, and many of them, interestingly, I actively disliked or didn’t find sufficiently interesting. I love honey notes, and I had heard about Miel du Bois; on me the honey does not get urinous (I may also be, as a cat owner, less sensitive to that smell than some people – ahem) and I love wood. I enjoyed it. I decided on it.

But I also tried on about four other bell jar scents, and the one I couldn’t get out of my mind was Encens et Lavande. I don’t much care about lavender, and I have tons of other types of incense (rose incense, cinnamon incense, incense incense…). But this one I just couldn’t stop thinking about.

I don’t mean I was daydreaming about it all the time, Walter Mitty style. I just mean I kept thinking – oo, that was pretty. I wish I had some of that to put on. I loved its balance between the clean refreshing scent of lavender and the drydown into the incense. It’s like Shalimar in that it does a half gainer and becomes something quite different as it goes along. It wasn’t just interesting, it seemed to be a story my brain – heart? – nose? – enjoyed and wanted to read again and again. It suited the weather and my tastes. I reached for it.

Thinking that perhaps my holiday perfume acquisition budget would stretch to two bell jars, I decided to get both.

When I got them home — you guessed it. I opened the Encens et Lavande first.

And I’ve worn it twice already, while I haven’t worn the Miel du Bois once. I’m still excited to have the Miel du Bois, I definitely will wear it and enjoy it. But it isn’t love.


I’d ask you what your criteria were for acquisition, but I suspect they’re all a lot more rational and sensible than mine!

Image is “Love” by Farrukh, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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Goddamn Housekeeping

maytagSo 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 thing any more. It’s clearly not sufficiently compatible with WordPress and not sufficiently well-designed to survive an upgrade.

So we’re back to the regular login, and I guess if I start seeing a bunch of fake users again I’ll have to do something else.

There really should be better, foolproof ways of handling this from WordPress itself.

So. As you were. #annoyed

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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

Le Monstre: Let’s talk about Chanel No. 5

I wanted to understand Chanel No. 5 for the same reason I wanted to understand Shalimar. Maybe it’s intellectual curiosity, maybe it’s a desire to fit in, maybe it’s just bullheaded competitiveness, but if everyone else loves something, I want to understand why – even if I don’t love it too.

Just like with Shalimar, . . . → Read More: Le Monstre: Let’s talk about Chanel No. 5

The appeal of the fanatic

One of my favorite writers growing up was James Herriot, and one of my favorite quotes was from a short story of his about getting accidentally drunk sampling homemade wine. “An enthusiast is appealing but a fanatic is irresistible,” is the way I remember the quote, and I think of it often as I pursue, . . . → Read More: The appeal of the fanatic

The delight of acquisition

En route to a much-needed vacation, I decided to do a whirlwind shopping tour for some perfume. By whirlwind I mean I literally spent 24 hours in London and 24 hours in Paris.

Lots to talk about, lovely things (and a lovely conversation with the lovely Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays!, which I had SPECIFICALLY wanted . . . → Read More: The delight of acquisition