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A Conversation on 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

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Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

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Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

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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 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

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

Deneuve

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 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 Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

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 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 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

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 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

Miscellany

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 3 Fleurs

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

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

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

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

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

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Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

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

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 Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

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 Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

CHANEL CHANCE


A Cautionary Tale Of Perfume Seduction, Fear & Greed


Last spring, on a warm and humid evening that spoke of summer, my husband and I attended a going-away party for one of his co-workers at a popular restaurant, where our large and boisterous group was seated outside at long tables arranged on the deck.  Among the wait staff serving us was a gorgeous college-aged girl who proved unflappable at memorizing dinner orders while fetching drinks, refreshing water glasses, and keeping track of people who bounced from table to table before the meal was served.   She also proved unflappable in the beauty department.  As the sultry evening wore on, I could feel my hair droop and my makeup start to melt, while she became even more luminous.  Her face, framed by a Pucci-style scarf that kept her choppy blonde bob in place and accentuated her blue eyes, drank in all of the golden tones of the fading sunlight.  Her bare shoulders glistened, a study in femininity that seemed nuanced and pixie-ish compared to the more fully bared, wonder-bra cleavages of her contemporaries (busty coeds being a dime a dozen in a university town).  Not only was this girl beautiful, she smelled gorgeous, too.  Whenever she leaned in to fill my glass or remove a plate, I caught a whiff of jasmine that seemed as pure as what I imagine the living flower must smell of: not an indolic jasmine (which I also happen to love), but something more incandescently sweet.  Finally, I asked what perfume she was wearing.  “Chanel Chance,” she answered after a moment in which she seemed to be mentally counting back the hours of her day.  A look of astonishment crossed her face.  “I put it on this morning,” she said.  “I’m surprised you can smell it!”


A month later, my mother was up visiting me from Florida, and we went to have drinks with some of her oldest and dearest friends from high school.  One of the women in the group, a moneyed woman who owns a number of professional properties in town, sits on the board of at least one non-profit, and whose father was a prominent judge, greeted me with a hug.  Goodness, what is she wearing? I wondered as her scent passed from her soft neckline to my nose.  The women in my mother’s circle always look and smell great, but this woman smelled better than great.  She smelled modern and fresh and oh so chic.   So again, I asked, and again the answer was Chanel Chance.  How baffling!, considering that I had been following the perfume blogs for some time now and had read mostly negative reviews and comments about this scent.  It had largely been dismissed as a sell-out scent: a disappointing concession by the revered house of Chanel to win over the youth market with a fruity-floral scent that could compete with the mass of other fruity-florals being released.  How could a fragrance that seemed to meet with almost unanimous disdain from the perfume-blogging community (a community I revere) smell so stunningly good that I would actually forsake my usually shy demeanor to inquire about it?  And the fact that it smelled every bit as fabulous on my mother’s friend, who is 66, as it did on the young waitress… well, I wasn’t expecting that (although I’m not sure why, considering that both women shared a similar beauty aesthetic: polished, elegant, devoid of flashiness).


On and off over the next eight months, I thought about purchasing a bottle of Chance, but kept putting it off because other purchases loomed greater in my perfume-collecting plan.  Yearnings are fierce in the world of the collector, but it seems to me that true collectors, even the most avid ones, are a breed apart from consumers.  Most collectors I know do plan: they keep a budget, study the market, prioritize their wants, and stalk their quarry.  They are covetous, much more so than consumers, but they are also fully aware that not being able to afford everything you want is a gift.  Because that whole plotting-and-planning-and waiting thing is agonizingly seductive—it is.


So anyway, the thought of buying a bottle of Chance lingered at the back of my mind like a niggling thought, but was a low priority for me, because I was after bigger prey and I thought that Chance would probably quickly pass into the same realm as other fruity-florals—that I would be able to buy it for a song from the perfume discounters after its popularity with the young crowd had faded.  And besides, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to admit to myself, or the world, that I loved Chance.  Not that it mattered: I didn’t have a perfume blog when I fell in love with it, and I had barely started leaving comments on other people’s blogs.  But there was no way I was going to jump into the comments pool with a, “hey, you know I think Chance is actually quite pretty” statement.  Even when you know you are not cool, you are not exactly keen on being slapped on the back with a “Kick Me” label.


Imagine my surprise then, when, a couple weeks ago, I was reading a post in perfume goddess Colombina’s wonderful blog (Perfume-smellin' Things) about a recent sniffing trip she took to Chicago, during which she visited the Chanel boutique, and she wrote: “I… and I can’t believe I will write this… liked Chance.  Which basically means that there is now not a single Chanel left that I couldn’t wear with pleasure.”


You could have knocked me over with a Q-tip.  You probably could have knocked her over with a Q-tip, too.  Clearly, she had not expected to like this scent… ever.  But the awesome thing about Colombina is that she keeps re-sniffing and re-trying things, even the things she hates, and is not afraid to admit it when she has changed her mind.


Validation is a sweet thing, as heady and seductive as perfume itself.  Not long after I read that post, I began scouring several of the discounter sites I consider reputable to see if I could get a good price on Chance in the eau-de-parfum concentration.  Funny thing was, while the eau-de-toilette concentration was widely available, the edp seemed to have largely vanished—and when I went to the official Chanel website, Chance was no longer represented on their site in anything other than the edt and parfum versions (as well as the ancillary bath/body products).  Didn’t it just figure!  The moment I decided to move this scent up on my priority list, the edp had been discontinued (and my preference is usually for the edp, given the choice).  Of course, that’s when fear set in: I might not get a bottle of the edp if I waited, because when Chanel discontinues an item, it is pretty much gone.  And if you do manage to find it, you will pay a mint for it.  (Witness Chanel No. 22, which you could find in reasonable-sized bottles in almost any concentration until Chanel decided to “re-release” it as part of the Exclusifs collection.  Now one is almost forced to purchase it in the 6.8-ounce drum bottle from the Chanel boutique, risk your luck on Ebay, or get a decant.  And though Chance will certainly never approach No. 22 in desirability—the former is merely lovely; the latter, an ethereal work of art—nevertheless, I could clearly envision an opportunity slipping away.)  It was then I decided to get myself to the shopping mall, a place I am usually loathe to go.


At BonTon, they had only two 50 ml bottles of Chance edp left in stock—and the sales assistant said she had wondered why the company had only sent a few of the edp's in the post-Christmas re-stocking of the Chanel scents.  I snatched up one of those bottles as if my life depended on it—completely bypassing the tester, not even casting a passing glance at it.  This was undoubtedly the easiest sale this SA ever made, which might explain why she slipped three generous Chanel spray samples into my bag as she rung me up.


So had I ever tried this scent before deciding to buy it?  Well, yes, on a shopping excursion last summer I had tried on a spritz, but you know... it had been a while.  Still, I felt confident and happy, riding home with my purchase, because I think of myself as a Chanel girl in terms of fragrance.  Coromandel, No. 22, and No. 19 are in heavy rotation in my scent wardrobe.  Chanel scents, even the cool chill of No. 5 and the baroque Coco, all have that highly polished, sophisticated style that I consider to be quintessentially French.  I feel very ooh-la-la in Chanel.  They make me walk taller, seduce me into throwing on high heels instead of low, remind me to tie on a scarf before heading out the door.


(There is an old Carly Simon song that goes: “Grandma used to nag at me to straighten up my spine, to act respectful and read good books, to take care of what was mine.”  I’m betting that Carly’s grandmother was a Chanel woman.)


Nevertheless, as you already know, this is a tale of regret, so let’s get right to it.  Chanel Chance is très jolie…just not on me.  Let me be the cautionary tale about buying a full bottle of something without properly testing it first, because this is just a disaster on my skin.  And is it my skin, or my nose?  I don’t know.  All I can tell you is that I am one of those rare people who can wear fragrances that others find too spicy or dirty or incense-y, and my skin seems to tame those notes into submission.  But the sweet and fruity notes in Chance—oh, they are amplified on me.  This scent is blindingly bright and makes my teeth hurt with its sweetness.  One tiny, tiny spritz is sufficient to last all day.  The top notes are pink pepper and lemon; middle notes are hyacinth, jasmine, and iris; and base notes are amber, patchouli, vetiver, and white musk. 


I will likely try this scent again—I have a whole, honking bottle of it now, so why not.  And maybe the heat of summer will soften the bright edges of this one; after all, the women I smelled it on were both wearing it in summer, and I have found (contrary to what most perfume-lovers report) that all of my fragrances seem to unfold better on my skin in hot, humid weather.  Seeing as it’s only February, I have a long wait ahead of me.  And that’s fine.  I’m in no hurry to put this one on again for quite some time.  I will decant it, or maybe I will gift it to someone who wears it well, as it truly did smell gorgeous on the waitress and my mother’s friend.


Or maybe I will let it sit on my dresser for a very long time and be exactly what it is for me now: a lesson about greed and fear and haste.

Images: photo of Kelly Sweet from her website, Kelly-Sweet.com; photo of Chanel Chance from Sephora.com

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 2/15/2008.


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