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.