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Your mileage may vary


What are you wearing for Valentine’s Day?

I thought Aperture would be sexier than it was. I know, I know – camera apertures. Nonetheless, if you’re going to name a perfume “Aperture” I’m going to think outside that box.

My imagination was clearly in a different place from the perfumer’s. I long for a perfume called “Aperture” that perhaps captures all the heart-pounding nervousness of looking through a keyhole that perhaps one should not. A dusty hallway, silk carpet, skin with the back of the knees damp with sweat, old wood (of the furniture, of the walls), and somehow in the background notes of unwise voyeurism (which I imagine would include amber and orris root).

Instead Ulrich Lang’s Aperture was a sort of open-structured vetiver on my skin, too clean and fresh for my mindset, with no particular spine; it dried down to a pretty-enough floral though it had been a decidedly salty-sea vetiver but this gender-bending trick was not of sufficient interest for me. It wanted to be light streaming through a lens.

I don’t blame the perfume; the fault was clearly mine. My head was somewhere else.

I was not, however, disappointed by the Vanille Debauche secreted elsewhere on my person – the perfume I’d decided to actually wear, not just test. I’ve had this for a couple of weeks now and it does not disappoint.

I’ve tried every vanilla I’ve ever met and they are often surprisingly shallow. Anyone who has ever breathed in the aroma of a freshly-sliced slender black bean knows that there should be depth and richness and unexpected surprises in a vanilla that is true to itself.

Unlike the hollow simplicity of a scent snapshot or the blending of disparate notes I find Vanille Debauche (from Perfumes by Terri) to be the tangled jungle of scents a vanilla should be. There is booziness, yes, and sweetness. But where some vanillas stop there (I’m looking at you, Spiritueuse Double Vanille), this one has some roughness to it, the sandpaper of beach sand against your toes and a slightly animalic, slightly peppery rumble of thunderclouds in the distance. If demon rum were flavored with vanilla and invoked by rites to embody him here on earth, he might smell like this.

This vanilla has indeed been debauched and I aspire to inhabit it.

Hope everyone out there is staying warm in this cold weather!

Image is “keyhole” by Cait Oppermann, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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