The Perfumes I Actually Finished in 2013

Perfumes I finished in 2013 volatilefiction
I haven’t counted my perfume collection recently but I think it keeps hovering at about 60-70 bottles. I don’t count the various decants and samples, of course. There are three small boxes and one cute Angela Flanders shopping bag full of them. The thing about being a perfume collector, no scratch that, a perfume fan, is that one ends up with more perfume than any normal person could possibly use in a year. Scratch that again; I am sure many of the customers I used to serve in Harrods could go through more than a bottle of perfume a day (used liberally; given away as gifts).

Us regular schmoes, then, regular, apart from our perfume obsession. We tend not to finish many bottles because our drawers, dressing tables or special perfume refridgerators are just overflowing with choice. Smaller bottles are better when you’re not hoarding one of  your Holy Grails, because you don’t want to have a huge container of juice slowly deteriorating while you have affairs with 99 others. By the way, here’s a real tip: if you are running low on a fragrance and there is only very little of it left, use it fast. The more air there is above the juice, the faster the juice will deteriorate.

2013 was a highly irregular year for me in many ways – not least because I got back into actually wearing far more perfume than in the recent years (being in the lab at Lush meant a ban on wearing perfume during perfume making days – it really interferes with the work). Last year, I worked freelance, mostly from home, and could not only wear whatever I wanted, but in large quantities and  in the foghorn and “whatever were you thinking?” categories without worry. (So one day I had the Clinique Aromatics Elixir candle burning whilst wearing Youth Dew. Another, I doused myself in the death-by-eugenol Gloria Vanderbilt that reminds me of good times behind a fragrance counter. I’m sure it used to be softer…).

The perfumes I actually finished in 2013 are all in the easy-to-wear category – I could put any of them on for any occasion and not worry too much. It looks like Annick Goutal’s Mandragore has become one of my all-time favourites. I now seem to go through a bottle a year. Mostly a warm weather scent, it works any time. It’s just a perfect balance between fresh, sweet and herbal/spicy.

Daim Blond has been my favourite from Serge Lutens since I first encountered it. I have many other scents from the range, too. I love the apricot-wrapped-in-suede effect of this scent and it just purrs on my skin. Le Chefrefeuille is too easy to finish fast because the longevity is just so poor. Not much you can do about that for a scent reminiscent of a flower stem but it’s still frustrating. Buing it feels like buying expensive eau de cologne; it isn’t really a perfume. E. Coudray’s Musc et Freesia has been in use for at least a couple of years now and last year just happened to be the one I finished it. Having said that, I went through a couple of weeks of wearing it almost every day. It’s powdery, a bit mumsy, but still elegant enough. Very easy to wear. Finally, Alien Edt – sufficiently different from the Edp to merit owning both, has featured so heavily in my rotation this year that I bought a 75ml bottle in the Escentual January sale to replace the one I’d used up. Others, well, I may not replace immediately because I was a very lucky woman and had three perfumes for Christmas: Elie Saab Le Parfum Intense, Iris Prima and a Molton Brown refreshing spritz. Regular readers might spot that two of those featured on my favourites list from last year’s discoveries.

How does one get any real use out of so many bottles of perfume? It would be easy to forget many of them. I have a system. Every few weeks, I take out about a dozen bottles from my perfume drawer and display them on my dressing table. They’ll be what I will pick from for the next few weeks. The rest are stored away (and stay unspoilt for longer this way). The weather has been stormy but not cold and my “cold weather rotation” hasn’t quite taken off the way I had imagined. It seems that I now leave Alien Edt and Mandragore on the table no matter what, so that’ll be one reason why they get used more than the others. At the rate I’m going through it, I suspect the Elie Saab will feature in this year’s finished bottles (even though it’s the big bottle).

How do you rotate your perfumes? Do you have enough to worry about that? Do you think there is such a thing as owning too many?

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11 thoughts on “The Perfumes I Actually Finished in 2013

  1. I sometimes leave perfume on top of the chest of drawers so I even remember I have it, a bit similar to yourself, Pia. And as first-world as this sounds, sometimes I swear even then I can never just decide on something without analysing deeply, “Is this really me today?”

    • As Sarah McCartney wisely stated: we live in the First World, so ALL of our problems are going to be First World problems :p (But that meme has made many of us a little bit more aware of our privilege, perhaps?). I am very persnickety about matching perfume to what I “feel like” wearing. Some days I will crave an ambery syrup like it’s medicine; on others it will turn my stomach.

      • Absolutely agree, our problems are ours and we shouldn’t feel shame! As long as yes, we just have that bit of awareness. I do find that meme hilarious when the nail is on the head. Yes amber is like medicine too, I reach for Ambre Sultan when I need a good fix 😀

  2. Hi Pia

    Like you I have a small chemist’s worth of bought bottles and enough sample vials gifted or cadged than I will get through this mortal coil. I don’t regard myself however as having too many. Well not for me anyway, a normal human being mind… I say that because like my wardrobe I’m a chameleon trying to cram 9 lives into one. A signature scent would only suit me when I’m say 50s Dorothy but then next day I may have the urge to be all Woodstock.

    My choice of scent is influenced by the season and weather but also what I wear but likewise sometimes what I wear ia chosen to match my SOTD. Also like most woman influenced beyond my control by where I am in my cycle. Some it affects in terms of scent, others by what they eat or drink

    • I love the concept of scent as a costume. I sometimes think of it as “fancy dress” (for example, I’m not REALLY a Mitsouko woman but I love the scent and wear it anyway; it feels like a disguise). And you’re so right about the hormonal changes!

  3. Congrats on your drained bottles! I am not sure I have ever done that and feel really chuffed with myself on those rare occasions when I finish a sample, even!

    I don’t tend to rotate my collection, which is of a similar order of magnitude to yours, and probably should. My sister in law calls this syndrome SABLE – Stash Above and Beyond Life Expectancy.

    • Laughing out loud here at your comments (and the acronym!). 😀 I think having a rotation and a couple of obvious “oh shit, oh shit, I don’t know what I’m in the mood for, oh, that’ll do” scents ensures I finish a few bottles a year. 🙂 Mandragore is an anomaly; I’ve gone through several bottles (!).

  4. Dearest Pia
    What a lovely piece…. it reads like a love letter to your aromatic amours of the year!
    I’m in complete accord on many mentioned especially Mandragore a much over looked and eminently wearable scent. It succeeds in being luxurious, substantial and yet strangely light all at the same time. Beautiful.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • It is a kind of love letter, what a great way of looking at it 🙂 Mandragore is under-appreciated (but in a way I’m quite happy about it – don’t want everyone smelling of it now, do I? Just as long as it receives enough publicity to generate sufficient sales to remain on the market…).

  5. I’m not sure how I choose but since I never wear the same perfume for two consecutive days and rarely repeat the same perfume during the month it wouldn’t make much sense to display selected bottles. I usually just think about what I’ll wear either the night before or while dressing up in the morning. I was thinking about coding some algorithm to choose a SOTD for me but I’m not sure what conditions to put into it and just a random selection seems wrong.

    • I do sometimes go for something NOT on display, if the smell I crave is not out. But streaks of wearing the same scent for several days are also not uncommon.

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