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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)

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Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

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April Aromatics Calling All Angels

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April Aromatics Nectar of Love

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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)

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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

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Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

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Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

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Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

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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

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Molinard Habanita

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Mona Di Orio Oud

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Montale Patchouli Leaves

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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

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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

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Puredistance I

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Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

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

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Rome Vacation Photos

Sammarco Perfumes Bond-T

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

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Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

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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

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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

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What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

Guerlain Samsara: Beautiful Continuum

A very good friend gave me a spray sample of Guerlain Samsara in the extract (parfum) concentration some months ago. This past weekend, realizing the sample was nearly gone, I decided to wear the last dregs of it in the heat of a summery night, the first one we’ve had this year, while watching a film I love. A film which provided the perfect send-off for this perfume—not that I was consciously trying to pair the two together; it was more of an intuitive thing. Mostly, I wanted to wear my last drops of this beauty in the still thickness of night while I was winding down and could breathe in its buttery, banana-like scent without distraction.

Samsara is the scent of a certain kind of quietude: like a pregnant pause in the middle of a serious conversation, it manages to be both quiet and dense, a scent super-fatted with the creaminess of sandalwood and a tropical custard of jasmine and ylang-ylang. It vibrates at a low hum, like insects in a jungle, a constant white-noise of a scent that functions much like the white noise that helps one relax into sleep—its vibration promising what absolute silence cannot: the certitude that life continues and you will wake to be part of it again. Making it okay to close your eyes and take a respite before pressing on. Yet proving it is smarter than any white-noise machine, Samsara sides with the jungle and spells out this promise in sensual terms, ensuring that you will want to return again.

Did Jean-Paul Guerlain intuit this need for sensuality, perhaps, when he composed Samsara—its name the Sanskrit word referring to the Hindu concept of reincarnation, the cycle of birth and rebirth which all souls undergo as they seek to gain enlightenment and (after who-knows-how-many lifetimes) cease their suffering and attain nirvana?

I would like to think he did—that he was guided by some divine intelligence that said, “For those who so chafe at this notion of reincarnation, they’ll spend all of eternity spinning their wheels and getting nowhere, offer them something that will sweeten the deal, help move things along by a few lifetimes”—and that this is the reason Jean-Paul gave us a Samsara that offers up a sense of fleshly indulgence (albeit indulgence not fully awake but in a state of drowsiness) featuring thick notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, rose, narcissus, tonka, iris, and vanilla.

In parfum concentration, Samsara is sandalwood-heavy, which makes for a creamy rather than woody composition, and the floral notes of jasmine and ylang-ylang have a banana-crème aroma to them. As perfume lovers know, jasmine has a number of different faces: sometimes it is honeysuckle-like and sweet; at other times it is naughty and indolic; and at still others, it is high-pitched and a little too eager to impress. Here, combined with the ylang-ylang and buffered by the sandalwood and the slightly powdery and ambery base accord, the jasmine has a fruited quality that is deep and almost liqueur-like. Without it, Samsara would be fluffy, light and too vanillic for my tastes: with it, the scent has some delicious weight.

As for the movie I watched as I wore my last precious drops?

That would be Venus (2006), of which I’ve written before and which features Peter O’Toole and Jodie Whittaker in the lead roles. O’Toole plays a man pretty much like himself: a revered actor at the end of his life, a life in which he has largely put his own pleasures first, who is very much aware that death is now staring him in the face. His body and looks have been ravaged by time, but his nimble wit, splendid voice and aristocratic bearing remain intact—and he uses these to pursue one other thing that still remains: carnal desire. In the last act of his life, he falls for an uneducated and uncouth young woman who is the grand-niece of his best friend. There would seem to be nothing redeeming or redeemable about this lowly girl, whom he nicknames Venus, and their relationship to any outsider appears unhealthy. In a very straight-up way, they trade currencies: he buys her things for the semi-sexual favors she grants him (most of them as small as kisses on the neck). Yet in the pursuit of their baser needs, they eventually achieve that state of rapport that is the only thing that matters between two people, the only thing that can banish separateness and lift us up to the next level, or at the very least, keep us from dying alone.

Like I said, the perfect send-off for the last of the Samsara.

An acknowledgment of the fleshly desires that bind us to one another while we are here, that vibrate and hum even into the quietest of days, when eventually we must close our eyes and say adieu.


Guerlain Samsara extract (parfum) can be purchased from Macys.com; $192 for 0.5 oz.

Images: Bottle image is from Macys.com; movie still of Peter O'Toole in Venus is from Thecia.com

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 5/31/2011.


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