Ten Names, Ten Perfumes: Answers to the Giveaway

 

 

These are the ten perfumes the wonderful Ayala Moriel offered up for her readers to guess at over on her SmellyBlog. As far as I know, all are still in production, with the possible exception of Bvlgari Black, which has been rumored to be discontinued several times over the past few years. They also seem to be more or less intact, though surely some of them have been nipped and tucked a bit, especially the ones with hefty doses of citrus oils. The packaging for Anné Pliska, never the best part of that perfume, has been violently pinkified.  Please do comment if you have more information about availability or formulation.

 

1) “The high, singing scent of lemons fading to the spring green of honeysuckle growing along a creek, and a bit of the muddy banks, too.” (p.12)

I had never noticed the honeysuckle vines growing rampant along the little creek near my house until I started wearing Annick Goutal’s Chèvrefeuille. Then one morning in spring I was out walking the dog and noticed a familiar scent… This is great place to start for the perfume shy who don’t think perfume can smell “natural.” I also think it would be lovely on a young girl who wanted something besides the usual celeb fare.

 

2) “The scent of night-blooming jasmine, heady and heavy with fruit and a touch of ashtray – the lovers were smoking before they disappeared into the brush.” (p.12)

A somewhat fanciful reference to (rather than description of) Etats Libre’s Jasmin et Cigarette–now disappointingly renamed Jasmin et Tabac. (Apparently cigarettes are now more taboo than male genitalia, a cartoon version of which decorate the bottle of another of their perfumes, Secretions Magnifiques.)  JeT performs the neat trick of going from smoked to unsmoked tobacco. It begins with a true hit of ashtray that rapidly transforms into a honeyed tobacco rich with jasmine. I first discovered during a long hot week in New York so it will always smell of the city in summer to me, a little overripe, a little dangerous, a piece of a louche life I never lived.


3) “The smell of the air just after a summer thunderstorm – an astonishing scent of trampled grass, broken branches, bruised flowers, and electricity.” (p.119)

See my post on JAR Bolt of Lightning.

 
4) “It was, precisely, the scent of lilacs in passing, a rain-freshened breeze carrying the scent from somewhere down the block, a scent of mercurial spring, made all the more lovely by the cold gray day”. (p. 125).

Anyone who reads blog reviews regularly will have guessed that this is Frederic Malle’s En Passant. I can’t say much more about than I’ve already written above except to say you should try it (and that some poor souls smell cucumber where I smell rain).

 
5) “And finally, a grapefruit softened with vanilla and patchouli that left clean and bright behind for something dirtier and more interesting.” (p. 142)

Those of you who have tried and rejected Guerlain Acqua Allegoria Pamplelune will no doubt argue that it is interesting right from the start if one finds sulfur, sweat and urine interesting. Which is to say: this one goes very, very wrong on some people. I, however, am not one of those people and I find the dirty grapefruit notes fascinating and not a little sexy. Long may she live.

 

6)  “…a fantasy in black leather, asphalt, rubber, and smoky vanilla.”  (p. 142)

This is Bvlgari Black, of course, described more or less the way I’ve seen it described in nearly every review I’ve read, because that is what it is: a dark, smoky vanilla and black rubber perfume with the aura, if not the exact scent, of a black leather jacket going down a street somewhere nearby. They even put it in a black rubber bottle, what can I say?

 

7) “The scent rose up all around me in a soft cloud. The sweetness expanded, lush and narcotic. I stood quietly in the middle of it, breathing. Then it roughened with a dusky bitterness that brought me back to myself just enough to open my eyes and begin walking.” (p. 164); “Maybe I would leave the flowers in my hair. And I would still have my perfume – that beautiful dream of white flowers, that touch of honey.”  (p. 204).

Annick Goutal’s Songes, of course, with just a touch of Botrytits, that honey perfume.

 

8) “This one takes you on a walk by the sea through a cypress forest, and then suddenly you stumble on a grove of lemon trees and just one fig tree, covered in rip figs. It’s the perfect thing in hot, humid weather. Just one spritz and you can feel that salty breeze coming in off the ocean.”(p.195)

This is how I felt about Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo, Fico di Amalfi at the time. I managed to sell several bottles of it to friends at the height of my fandom, so I don’t think I was completely hallucinatory, though I’m slightly less enamored with it now. I still smell the lemon and the figs and it is still very nice in hot weather, I’ve just left my fig phase somewhere off stage left. (No doubt by this summer I’ll be wanting to edit this paragraph to say you should all run out and buy a bottle.)

 

9) “This one smells exactly like a creamsicle when you first put it on, but if you wait two minutes it turns into a rich, sophisticated amber. It’s like you  put on a bright orange corduroy jumper and then it suddenly morphs into a little black velvet dress with pearls”. (p. 195)

This is Anné Pliska, and I really can’t describe it any better than I already have, except to note that the amber is dry, rather than rich–this is a restrained amber, very grown up, even a little haughty, if amber can ever be such a thing. The transformation from the juicy creamsicle top to that little black dress perfume still cracks me up and I’ve learned to thoroughly enjoy both Acts I and II.

 

10)  “I revisited a smoky incense-and-lilies that I have always wanted to like more than I really do”. (p. 222).

L’Artisan’s Passage d’Enfer is universally praised and beloved by everyone but me, it seems.  Though I can sense what everyone loves about it, I can’t get over the dominating incense note in the base. More for all of you.

 

Thank you to Ayala for being the inspiration for the Big Reveal and to everyone out there playing along!

 

Image: Banquet Piece, Jan Davidsz Heem

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18 Comments

  • Deanna says:

    Loved every one of these descriptions and the reveals! That JAR sounds beyond amazing; I live to test that one day.

  • Alyssa says:

    Thanks, Deanna! The whole JAR Experience is really worth having. This last time around I was completely smitten with their Golconda, a carnation based perfume. It’s truly stellar stuff.

  • Dionne says:

    I was surprised to see saw Bulgari Black for sale in an American Sephora when I popped down at the beginning of this month (reading your book to The Engineer as we drove down), as I haven’t seen it anywhere in Canada for a while. Maybe the rumors are false?

    I didn’t enter over at Ayala’s blog, because I only recognized five of the ten (Jasmin et Cigarette, En Passant, Pamplelune, Black and Songes) and a couple of comments already had more than I knew. I’m still essentially a good girl and don’t like to cheat on the answers. ;)

    • Alyssa says:

      Ha! I’m like that too, Dionne, as you well know. And yes, this is exactly the scenario with Bvlgari Black. There are rumors it’s been d/c’d, it becomes difficult to find, then it pops up at Sephora. Backstock? Distribution issues? Some people order it and some don’t? Who knows. I’m glad it’s still out there. I really should buy a mini just in case it disappears from planet earth. I don’t wear it but I love knowing it’s out there.

      And five of the ten is pretty good!

  • Ayala says:

    Dear Alyssa,
    Thank you so much for such a fun giveaway – I hoped more would dare to brave the challenge – it was not easy and I only guessed 7/10 correctly LOL. I am so glad you were happy to “play along” and reveal these parts of the story. Thank you for the generous book-giving; and thank you for the insightful post!

    P.s. WHAT?! Bvlgari Black is being discontinued?! It’s such a genius perfume.Unfortunately, I never shelled out for purchasing a bottle yet. Therefore, I’m heading to the nearest store to purchase a bottle of it TOMORROW before it’s too late..!

    • Alyssa says:

      Wait! Don’t panic! :-) As I said above it’s only a “possible exception.” As AnneMarie notes below, it is probably a distribution issue since it’s still available on the web site and it does pop up in Sephora every now and then. But, hey, if you need an excuse…

      And that YOU for the nudge to finally get these posts up and for your kind words about the book!

  • annemariec says:

    How lovely to see these revealed at last. I have been off line for some time, so I missed Ayala’s feature on SmellyBlog.

    I’m in Australia and I see Black fairly often, and a few months ago bought a 40 ml bottle for my teenage son. It suits him brilliantly. I think Black is still on the Bvlgari website. Maybe the distribution is very patchy? That might account for the persistent rumours of discontinuation.

    AA Pamplelune: makes me think of a grapefruit flavoured boiled sweet. High pitched, sweet/sour, cloying/refreshing, not something I want to wear, but not unpleasant, and certainly no sulphur, sweat or urine. (Thankfully!)

    • Alyssa says:

      Thank you for the update on Black, Annemarie, that’s good to hear and I think what you’re saying about distribution makes perfect sense. (Though I do tend to get paranoid when that happens since it sometimes means they’re selling off backstock. Not always though. Maddening industry!) What a lucky, handsome-smelling son you have…

      Pamplelune is definitely not for everybody. It cracks me up how varied people’s reactions to it are.

  • Cheryl says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry I missed this game! I’ve been buried in work and out of touch with my favorite blogs. But I did play the game as I read the book, and it’s fun to see I guessed several correctly. Not surprisingly, the perfumes I was able to guess were those I’ve bonded with, or grappled with myself.

    BTW: I recognized Pamplelune by the description. So many people find it bright and fresh, that I keep re-sampling. Every time,though, it smells sour and cat-peeish to me. I think I’m overly sensitive to the bouregons de cassis note.

    • Alyssa says:

      Does bouregons de cassis = blackcurrant? If so, yes, that would be definitely be the culprit. I have a set of essences used to train wine people in recognizing different notes and blackcurrant is described as often overlapping with cat pee. Still, I love it in most things (it’s brilliant in Diptyque’s L’Ombre Dans L’Eau for example). I love that kind of weird wonderfulness about perfume.

      And do stick around–I’m going to be putting up more of these reveal posts next week and I’m sure I’ll be giving some things away.

      • Cheryl says:

        Yes, dried black current buds. The note works for me in some perfumes (l’Eau dans l’ombre is one) but in Pamplelune, the black current buds simply take over. I resample now and then, hoping to get in on the fresh, grapefruit –no luck.

        I’m so glad that after having to hibernate from the net for a while I found your blog up and running. I’m enjoying all of the posts. Will stay tuned!

  • HeidiA says:

    My dear friend and neighbor and I have been getting together for several years to smell perfumes together. We alternate buying the samples — Aedes de Venustas has very reasonable rates, and we also use Surrender To Chance. It’s worked out wonderfully, as we have extremely different tastes in perfume, so I have been introduced to new favorites I would never have tried on my own. Plus, our body chemistries differ to the point that the identical perfume will smell very different on each of us. We use Luca Turin’s book as a reference point, and have fun discussing/arguing with his opinions — but lately, we have been using Coming To My Senses instead. The first one we ordered from that was, of course, Botrytis.

    So this contest was a chance to use what I have learned. I’m looking forward to sharing the new samples with my friend (and our expanding circle of fragrance explorers), and also to having my very own copy of Coming To My Senses after checking it out of the library five times in a row! :-)

    • Alyssa says:

      Does that mean you are one of the winners of the giveaway, Heidi? That’s so great! I love the way you and your friend have organized your sample-buying. So few of us have a perfumista friend nearby in real life, but I think that is the way to have the most fun. (And, gosh, thank you for the dedication that it takes to check out a book five times in a row, goodness, that’s great to hear!)

      • HeidiA says:

        Yes, I am one of the winners. And my friend and I are widening our circle — we were surprised, just as you were, at how many women are shy about using perfume but end up really enjoying it. It’s really fun to hear all the different opinions too.

        • Alyssa says:

          Oh that is terrific! You know, I just skyped with a book club the other night and it was so much fun I immediately wanted to do it again. So if your circle ever gets big enough that you’d want to do something like that, just let me know and we can set it up.

  • Olga (Warum) says:

    Oh, I am very happy to read about the big reveal! For whatever odd reason, I was mostly rooting for myself getting AG Chèvrefeuille right. I’m glad I did.

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