Today was one of those days – you open your eyes, the rain is beating on the window and you say to yourself, “why must I get out of bed today.” Then you pull the covers off and reality kicks in.
After taking a shower and figuring out what to wear on this most dreary day I thought to myself as I was looking for a fragrance, “warm and inviting.” As I reflect, I’d say that was an interesting choice of words but I guess it was spurred by the weather. As I thought about what to spray on, it came to me Vanille 44 by Le Labo.
I bought Vanille 44 while I was in Paris. Le Labo had the clever idea to release exclusive fragrances in a few cities and Paris was one of them. Prior to purchasing it, I thought to myself, I’m going to buy this thing no matter what it smells like…I mean why not, you can only get it in Paris. So off my lady and I trekked to Colette from the Champs-Elysees with our map in hand and the happiness of child on their way to Toys R Us. Man…when I got there I was busting with excitement, but I was quickly let down by the rudeness of one of the sales people. The only thing that stopped me from slapping this young lady was my up bringing and the thought of the French police screaming at me while in handcuffs…not a good look. Anyhow, after spraying a bit on myself and letting it settle, I wasn’t immediately overwhelmed by it. Was I expecting more, was it to simple…I’m not quite sure. So with the attitude, realizing just how much I was about to spend because of the weak American dollar and the lackluster first impression, I abruptly left. Man was I disappointed. My day came crashing down. I came all this way and didn’t get the one thing I wanted to leave with. FCUK. As the day wore on, I could not stop smelling my wrists. The more I smelled them the more intrigued I became. Sweet, woody, tasty, sweet but woody…unusual but interesting. Long story short, 3 days later I went back to Colette and bought it.
This post took a while to come to me but warm and inviting is just what Vanille 44 is to me. While some perfumers can be obsessed with duplicating what an actual flower is supposed to smell like, Vanille 44 is far from being a purely vanilla scent. It smells familiar and that’s because notes include bergamot, incense and bunch of other goodies. That combination of the sweet and woody scents really play a number on you…as a young lady in the shop said, “hmmm, that’s nice.”
Life has a weird way of bringing things into fruition. Some years ago, I read an article about Frederic Malle and one of his boutiques which housed a very unique smelling system. In a nutshell you put your face up to this metallic funnel looking thing and a mist of a scent is released….how cool is that? When I read that I remember saying to myself, I must experience that one day. On Weds after a day of
sightseeing, I stopped by the 140 Avenue Victor Hugo location just so I could experience it…and what a pleasurable visit it was.
Once you enter the shop, you can’t help but stare at the wall of scents and school science project looking contraption that releases a fragrant mist. It is unlike anything you have experienced. As with most of my visits to shops in Paris, I feared my communication with the salesperson was a roll of the dice. But this was to be a great day as not only did Claire speak enough English to communicate with me, we danced as we realized we had a common passion for the power of fragrance.
After the usual questions of trying to figure out my taste and offering a few scents for me to smell, I gravitated to Une Fleur De Cassie. I told Claire that like Le Labo’s Rose 31 and Serge Luten’s Santal Blanc, there is a dirty/sweatiness at the bottom of this scent that’s grabbing me. I explained how with Rose 31, I found myself a bit perplexed because before smelling that, I never experienced a scent that tripped me up…I mean who would dare combine something that would somehow make you think of sweat. In trying to find the words to communicate this, which bought a smile to Claire’s face (I guess I was onto something) she began telling me its just that sort of thinking that’s behind the Editions De Parfums collection. I won’t fully retell the story hear as you can read it on their website but the bio for the creator of Une Fluer De Cassie, Dominique Ropion says he is “…on a quest to create new, harmonious scents by pairing ingredients that are polar opposites.” I can really appreciate that and I believe that’s why Claire offered this to me. I can’t remember if she mentioned this as one of their best sellers but a very chicly dressed French woman came in while I was there and asked for it by name with no hesitation.
This is not for everyone and it’s defies the conventional scents being marketed to men. Its out there and I love that. If you’re inclined to try it, know that it starts off pungent but settles into your skin for a hint of fragrance. Spray and walk away. Don’t listen to the first reaction, let it settle. It’s just the right amount of good and bad to tickle and tease.
Image courtesy of www.editionsdeparfums.com
I’ve been in Paris for 4 days now and I’ve had more croissants than I have ever had in my entire life. I know I’m in another country and I should respect and adapt their way while I’m here…I’ve done that and am dying from all the bread I’ve eaten thus far…and the cigarette smoke is killing me. This morning I jumped up and had to have well scrambled eggs, some potatoes and a glass of OJ. Thank heavens for BIA – Breakfast In America. An American who moved here some years back for work started this oasis in the middle of Frenchness. You can get the full story on their website but man the smell of eggs and potatoes, fresh squeezed OJ and coffee in the thick white dinner mug was fragrant enough for me to break from the usual post. If you’re ever in Paris and order eggs and they come back any other way than you’re used to, or you want something more than a bagette or another damn croissant, run to BIA.
I am having fun in Paris. There’s a saying, “when in Rome do as the Roman’s do,” and with that, I had to stop off at Sephora for France is where it began back in 1969. I was curious to see if they carried anything over here that couldn’t be found at home. For the most part, they had just about everything. Mathew McConaughey was being well promoted for his endorsement of Dolce & Gabana’s The One and the music pumped just as loud. What I was surprised to see was Serge Luten…that did bring a smile to my face. I am currently wearing Santal Blanc and am loving it.
As I perused the men’s section and was picked off by a sales attendant, he began telling me of a Givenchy promotion. Apparently for their 50th anniversary, they re-released their original men’s scents in France only. (Ok…now we’re getting somewhere.) On top of that, with the purchase of any Givenchy product, you could have your bottle engraved. As cheesy as that may sound, it was enough for me to jump. I picked Vetyver…masculine in its own right, its subtly sophisticated. I will admit, the promotion took it over the top. I engraved my bottle with none other than Fragrant Moments. I’m not sure if this will be making its way to the states, you know sales people will tell you just about anything to get you to make that purchase. However, a few of the original re-releases can be found online at Sephora.