Eiderdown Press
Musings about Perfume and Life
Capote/Evening in Paris
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
Click on Links to Previous Posts, below

A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

Annick Goutal Vanille Charnelle

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame


Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Angelique Noire

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Encens Mythique d'Orient

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes Jour d'Hermes

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien


Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Aomassai

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Puredistance WHITE

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Ramon Monegal Cuirelle

Ramon Monegal Pure Mariposa

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

Sammarco Perfumes Bond-T

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Smell Bent Florist's Fridge

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

Swiss Arabian Nouf

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Bechdel Test

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector


Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Eau de Hongrie

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu




I have never read Truman Capote’s famous novels, but I have read and re-read his short stories, which in 2004 were compiled in one book, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, and which I perennially dig out of my bookshelf each November. “A Christmas Memory” is not only a holiday classic, but certainly one of the most accomplished and heartbreakingly lovely short stories ever written; it speaks from, and to, the deepest core of a person’s being—that place where we acknowledge that we are solitary and alone in this world, except for the times we are able to experience a shared wonder in the world with a companionable soul.  In “A Christmas Memory,” that companionable soul takes the form of Miss Sook Faulk, the elderly spinster cousin who was young Truman’s closest friend during his childhood; a woman so shy and innocent of heart as to appear simpleminded, but who gave him what he might never have received otherwise: “the gift of a dignified love—a gift he’d received from no closer kin,” novelist Reynolds Price states so eloquently in his introduction to the collection of Capote’s stories.


Capote, as many familiar with his biography know, was born in 1924, the only son of a beautiful, self-absorbed mother and a father who proved inept at providing for the needs of a wife and child.  His mother, Lillie Mae Faulk, was only seventeen when she gave birth to her son, and not long into her marriage she embarked on a number of promiscuous affairs, perhaps spurred by the disappointment of learning, as early as her honeymoon, that her husband was a poseur: a man of flashy gestures and “an appetite for elegance,” as Capote once described him in a story, but with little in the way of real wealth.  He was always running out of funds, such that midway through his honeymoon, he sent Lillie Mae back home to her family because he could not afford the remainder of their trip.  At one point in their marriage, he was even jailed for financial fraud.  By the time Truman was four, his parents had abandoned him to the care of Lillie Mae’s relatives, her elderly, unmarried cousins—three sisters and a brother—who lived together in a big house in small-town Monroe, Alabama.  Lillie Mae took off for New York City, where she met a wealthy Cuban businessman, Joe Capote, whom she married after divorcing Truman’s father.  In 1933, she sent for Truman to come live with them, which he did, eventually adopting his stepfather’s surname.  However, by then his childhood had been thoroughly scarred by his parents’ desertion.


Those scars surface in several of Truman Capote’s short stories, and in two such stories, neither of which are autobiographical in nature, there is nonetheless the symbol of Lillie Mae, the absent mother, within each of them: that symbol being Evening in Paris perfume.  I came to realize this after reading snippets of Gerald Clarke’s authoritative and engaging Capote: A Biography, published in 1988, in which the biographer wrote:


…none of the Faulk sisters, even the beloved Sook, could take the place of his real parents.  Lillie Mae, it is true, would appear occasionally from some distant place, her stylish, expensive clothes exciting envious glances from her friends.  But she soon disappeared in a fragrant cloud of Evening in Paris, her favorite perfume.  Truman was always desolate when she drove off; once, finding a perfume bottle she had forgotten, he drank it to the bottom, as if he could bring back the woman with her scent.  On one visit he convinced himself that she was going to take him away with her.  “But after three or four days she left,” he said, “and I stood in the road, watching her drive away in a black Buick, which got smaller and smaller and smaller.  Imagine a dog, watching and waiting and hoping to be taken away.  That is the picture of me then.”1


Clarke also reveals in his biography that Lillie Mae had a weakness for men of the hot-blooded, Latin lover stereotype.  Her brother-in-law, complaining of her dalliances in a letter, noted: “Invariably, they are Greeks, Spaniards, college sheiks, foolish young city upstarts, or just as immature small-town habitants.”  Is it mere coincidence, then, that in Truman Capote’s stories, “A Diamond Guitar” (from 1950) and “Mojave” (from 1975), both of which involve abandonment, the guilty characters include two young men of Spanish descent who share the same last name and have a thing for Evening in Paris cologne?


“A Diamond Guitar” is a poignant love story, of sorts, that takes place on a prison farm in the deep south, out in the middle of nowhere, on forested land where the convicts labor at tapping trees for turpentine.  Mr. Schaeffer is a prisoner who has earned the title of “mister” for his ability to read and write, his talent at carving wooden dolls that are sold in the town’s general store, and by virtue of his long residence there.  He has survived his sentence rather peaceably by forgetting what life was like before he came to the farm—in other words, by forgetting what it was like to feel alive—and then along comes a new young prisoner:


Tico Feo was eighteen years old and for two years had worked on a freighter in the Caribbean.  As a child he’d gone to school with nuns, and he wore a gold crucifix around his neck.  He had a rosary too.  The rosary he kept wrapped in a green silk scarf that also held three other treasures: a bottle of Evening in Paris cologne, a pocket mirror and a Rand McNally map of the world.  These and the guitar were his only possessions, and he would not allow anyone to touch them.  Perhaps he prized his map the most.  At night, before the lights were turned off, he would shake out his map and show Mr. Schaeffer the places he’d been—Galveston, Miami, New Orleans, Mobile, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands—and the places he wanted to go to.  He wanted to go almost everywhere, especially Madrid, especially the North Pole.  This both charmed and frightened Mr. Schaeffer.  It hurt him to think of Tico Feo on the seas and in far places.  He sometimes looked defensively at his friend and thought, “You are just a lazy dreamer.”2


Most of the time, Tico Feo is a lazy dreamer, but, of course, he knows how to successfully dream up an escape—one that involves Mr. Schaeffer and then leaves him behind.


Capote’s “Mojave” is actually a story-within-a story, in which we meet a stripper named Ivory Hunter and her quarry, a seventy-year-old blind man named George Schmidt.  George is widowed and living in a trailer court when he meets the aging Ivory, who is well past her stripping days and appears to be somewhat reformed—the type of good woman who reads the Bible and “good magazines like Reader’s Digest and The Saturday Evening Post,” when she is not plying him with her other feminine wiles.  Things are going real well for George and Ivory, so he marries her, turns his bank-savings into a joint account, and puts the trailer in her name.  Then he gets word from his friend Hulga, his neighbor in the trailer park, that Ivory has been cheating on him with Freddy Feo.


‘Now see, Freddy Feo was an itinerant Tex-Mex kid—he was just out of jail somewhere, and the manager of the trailer park had picked him up in one of those fag bars in Cat City and put him to work as a handyman.  I don’t guess he could have been one-hundred-percent fag because he was giving plenty of the old girls around there a tickle for their money.  One of them was Hulga.  She was loop-de-do over him.  On hot nights him and Hulga used to sit outside her trailer on her swing-seat drinking straight tequila, forget the lime, and he’d play the guitar and sing spic songs.  Ivory described it to me as a green guitar with his name spelled out in rhinestone letters.  I’ll say this, the spic could sing.  But Ivory always claimed she couldn’t stand him; she said he was a cheap little greaser out to take Hulga for every nickel she had.  Myself, I don’t remember exchanging ten words with him, but I didn’t like him because of the way he smelled.  I have a nose like a bloodhound and I could smell him a hundred yards off, he wore so much brilliantine in his hair, and something else that Ivory said was called Evening in Paris.’3


Ivory denies accusations of an affair, and after a spell, she convinces George that what she really wants is for the two of them to pick up the trailer, leave California, and head for the cool Northeast.  He concedes, and in no time at all, she’s got the trailer uprooted and their savings converted into traveler’s checks.  With Ivory at the wheel, they hit the open road and George falls immediately asleep—but when he finally awakens, his blood-hound nose detects the smell of brilliantine and dime-store perfume wafting from the back of the trailer.  And when Ivory gets keen to George’s awareness, she leaves him standing by the side of the road in the middle of the Mojave Desert.


“We all, sometimes, leave each other out there under the skies, and we never understand why,” one of Capote’s characters later concludes in the story—which is not only a universal truth, but evidence, I think, that the author was trying to come to grips with his own abandonment.  Still, as late as 1975, whether consciously or not, he was attaching a specific name—and a specific scent—to that feeling of desertion: Evening of Paris, his mother’s favorite perfume.


1.        Gerald Clarke, Capote: A Biography (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1988), p. 24.


2.        Truman Capote, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 189.



3.        Truman Capote, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 281.



Image: photo of Truman Capote in 1947 by Henri-Cartier Bresson/ Magnum Photos.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 12/8/2008.

All I Am - A Redhead

A Perfume Blog (Blacknall Allen)

Another Perfume Blog (Natalie)

Ars Aromatica

Australian Perfume Junkies

Beauty on the Outside

Bloody Frida

Bois de Jasmin

Bonkers About Perfume

Ca Fleure Bon

ChickenFreak's Obsessions


Eyeliner on a Cat

Fragrance Bouquet

From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter

Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog

Grain de Musc

I Smell Therefore I Am


Katie Puckrik Smells

L'eter - Blog of Olfactive Experience

Memory of Scent

Muse in Wooden Shoes 

Nathan Branch

Natural Perfumery by Salaam

Notes on Shoes, Cake & Perfume

Notes From Josephine

Notes From the Ledge

Now Smell This

Oh, True Apothecary! 


Olfactoria's Travels 

Parfumistans blogg


Perfume Posse

Perfume Shrine

Perfume-Smellin' Things

Purple Paper Planes

Redolent of Spices

Riktig Parfym: Ramblings of a Fragrant Fanatic

Scented Salamander

Scents of Place

Scents of Self

Smelly Blog

Sorcery of Scent 

Sweet Diva

The Alembicated Genie 

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

The Fragrant Man

The French Exit

The Non-Blonde 

The Perfumed Maze

The Perfume Magpie

The Scented Hound

The Sounds of Scent

The Vintage Perfume Vault

This Blog Really Stinks 

Undina's Looking Glass 

WAFT by Carol 

Yesterday's Perfume

Web Hosting Companies