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Champagne does indeed tickle my nose.

foil embossed with "champagne"Another brilliant score at The Thrift Shop: about 10 mls of actual Champagne, yes, in the adorable cork bottle.

Yves Saint Laurent’s perfume Champagne was embroiled in a legal battle over the name almost immediately upon coming out, and is still sold, but under the name Yvresse. I can’t quite tell if it’s been reformulated over the years (it debuted in 1993) or if it was reformulated when the name was changed or if people just suspect that it was reformulated when the name was changed or if people just like wearing something called Champagne more than than they want to wear something called Yvresse. But whatever, the actual Champagne bottles are sought after, for sure, and finding 10 mls of authentic YSL Champagne EDT for $14.50 in a thrift shop pretty much made my day, perfume-wise.

As I often do when I make these finds, I couldn’t resist spritzing it right on my arm as soon as I returned to the car with my precious purchase; my husband wasn’t there and I could indulge! The only person in danger was my cat, as she was returning with me from a bout of health care and that’s why we were in that neighborhood. (She’s fine, just was required to suffer through her regular check-up.)

Perhaps it’s unwise to spritz something right on my skin that I’ve never even smelled, but I don’t buy anything that isn’t relatively well reviewed and known to me, and I haven’t hit any real scrubbers yet.

In this case it was just unadulterated joy. The very first moments of aldehydes made me think that the perfume had gone off, but it was the merest passing of a second. There was a slight burst of a dry something, and then for a few minutes a scent that really was reminiscent of nothing but champagne – the kind that tastes of the fruit as well as the alcohol and the bubbles. And then there was a fairly linear development of beauty.

The impression I had was of a floral more than anything else, but not a floral I could put my finger on. The closest scent I’ve smelled recently that it reminded me of was Annick Goutal’s Le Mimosa. Not too far off, as apparently (upon looking it up) Champagne was known for its nectarine note (or peach, if you want to be less specific about it) and a bellini would not be a scent experience too far from this one. But there was nothing of that artificial plastic smell that makes most modern fruity florals so damn objectionable. If it’s peach, it’s a peach that smells like a gorgeous pastel colored flower that you’d very much like to pick. It was beautiful and it went on being beautiful, and in fact even now, more than six hours later, I can just catch the faintest whiff of Champagne from the one spot on my forearm where I spritzed it. Now that it’s identified for me I can see the relationship to “peach”, but honestly on my arm I was trying to identify the fresh, springlike soliflore that it seemed like I was smelling. Too light to be honeysuckle, but it seemed like something in that category. It felt like an extremely expensive bouquet of magical flowers that you might give to a delicately beautiful girl – perhaps a girl you met in a chalet in Switzerland – that would never come again. If the deeper concentrations have darker elements like oakmoss in the drydown, this mostly seemed to me a light musk, if anything, in the far drydown; but then I smell musk everywhere these days and that may just be me. At any rate, it certainly didn’t remind me of a cheap musk. “Expensive” seemed an appropriate word to apply; I could easily see the association with Champagne, the genuine appellation contrôlée so quickly yanked out from under YSL’s feet in marketing this juice. I very much enjoyed raising my arm to my nose and huffing the scent as I navigated my way back along the residential neighborhood.

What I didn’t get was the chypre drydown that is reported to be a feature of Champagne. There was absolutely nothing dark, none of the more complicated elements that are supposed to develop in this scent. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I would like to experience that. On the other, serious chypres aren’t really my style, and I’m not sure that I won’t enjoy this more. It’s an absolutely delightful summer perfume if nothing else, light enough to remind one of sun and flowers but not a pale imitation of something intended for year-round wear and not really reminiscent of something one’s smelled a hundred other places. Given the sillage and the lasting power, it suits me well – I like wearing scents that aren’t shy, even if I try to wear them gently; I like living in a little cloud of something yummy. I think my little 10 mls of the EDT were the perfect find for me. But I do now want to try the EDP or, even better, the parfum. It’s something I’d keep my eyes peeled for and see if a deal presented itself.

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