Suzanna reflects on perfumes that stood the test of time for her. This is Suzanna’s last article for Bois de Jasmin. We’re sad to bid her goodbye, but I wish her much luck and success with her new endeavors. I also wish everyone celebrating Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday. Bois de Jasmin will return on Monday, December 2nd, with its regular schedule.
Trends and fashions notwithstanding, there are fragrances that always have a place in my wardrobe. These are the bottles that are consistently replaced even as they haphazardly get shoved to the back of the cabinet. They may also be the oldest bottles in the collection and the ones with the most juice remaining. They are definitely the fragrances most often to be seized by sudden necessity—today is a Robert Piguet Fracas day and nothing else will do!
So, here is a peak inside my perfume cabinet. The perfumes mentioned below hit the right spot, year after year. They are stalwarts and sometimes standbys, but whatever their use they will always be a part of my fragrant life.
I always keep both the Eau de Toilette and the Eau de Parfum on hand. The famous peach is mild at first, but the bergamot, spice, and moss are obvious and in the most elegantly rakish way. When the peach does reveal itself to me, it is a sensation. I’ve been wearing it since I was 19.
While some liken Femme to Guerlain Mitsouko, I find Femme more, well, feminine, and definitely sultrier. Femme is one of my warmest fragrances—it just glows with the cumin note and the interplay of floral and cumin is as smooth as heavy satin. Again, something I discovered in my late teenage years.
This bright, white abstract floral contains an incense base that is almost hidden by the shock of the aldehydes. It took me years to appreciate No. 22, but when I finally “got” it, it became one of my favorite florals. It has a crispness reminiscent of a sheet dried in the wind. I’ve worn No. 22 for about 22 years, come to think of it!
Jean Patou Joy
Another that took me years to appreciate, until it became one of my favorite rose/jasmine fragrances. Joy is utter luxury with its pairing of florals with green notes over a musky-woody base. At first I thought it too mannered for my casual lifestyle, and then I realized it was always “correct” no matter the occasion. This one I borrowed from a family member when I was around 16!
Serge Lutens Clair de Musc
Of all the scents in the Lutens kingdom, why do I pick the plainest? Simply because Clair de Musc is hands-down the best “white” musk scent I have smelled. When I want to wear musk, this is what I wear. Nothing else smells as good to me as this crystalline musk that has been lightly powdered with iris. Going into its tenth year of wear.
I fell in love with this one at first sniff. It’s dark, spicy, and hot and it occasionally sends up a whiff of something animalic and potentially impolite. I adore the lavender note. One of the first great postmodern fragrances, in my opinion, of the non-perfume perfume type. I’ve been wearing it for a decade now.
The fragrance that kicked off the fruitchouli craze, 20 years ago. It’s a bit thinned out now and I haven’t liked any of its flankers, but the more Angel is spun off, the better the original smells. It’s always smelled to me of patchouli wrapped in avant-garde fashion, where that fashion is for exaggeration and non-conformism. In my collection for 19 years.
Although I love Chanel Coromandel, it’s Reminiscence Patch for me when I want to soak myself in patch. This is like an aged patchouli that has been infused with vanilla and on my skin it is that and not much more. When I have a craving for patchouli, I am glad I have this juice on hand! Discovered this around the same time as Angel, so 20 years in my repertoire.
Montale Vanille Absolu
I’m not a fan of the overtly gourmand vanilla scents (like Comptoir Sud Pacifique) and I especially dislike powdery-sweet vanillas. Vanille Absolu is neither of those; its vanilla bean seems to have been treated to a touch of oud as well as clove and cinnamon. The oud really gives Vanille Absolu a richer, warmer character. This is the baby of my stalwarts; I think I’ve been wearing it since 2006.
Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again
A sparkling, fizzy grapefruit note is a prelude to blackberry musk, rose, peony, and muscat grape. In Love Again is back on the market, so please comment if you have tried the La Collection edition. My current bottle dates from the second run in 2004. This fragrance is always a thrill to the senses. I’ve been wearing it since 1998’s original launch.
What are the keepers in your wardrobe and how long have you been wearing them?