Until a mere couple months ago, I did not get perfume, not really. Obviously, I loved perfume and had a growing collection of several bottles I liked using, some of which I liked, some I was ambivalent about, some I vaguely disliked, not ever taking a pause to ponder about their secrets. I thought: how do you even describe something so fleeting? how do you compare something so subjective? how do you know the good ones if everyone's tastes are so different? I had no idea where to start, so I just relegated perfume to the 'Mysteries of the Universe' category in my mind and peacefully went on spritzing a little every morning.
That was until I was offered a further glimpse into the realm of perfume by means of an internship - and to prepare myself a bit for the job, I started researching. I first turned to my local library and borrowed a couple books, and then I bought a few more. Then I started reading more perfume blogs and forums. I felt a whole new world unravel before me: science, craft, art - it was simply engrossing. The ingredients, the notes, the accords, the finished perfumes: I wanted to experience it all. The more I read, the hungrier for smell I became... and of course I started to look for my first true perfume, the first true love.
I already knew from wise people's experience not to buy a full bottle unsniffed; even more, not to buy a full bottle without having tested the fragrance for at least a day, if not more. I began stalking Sephora, local counters, perfumeries in search of something different, wonderful, puzzlying, something to call my own. I started with the classics, the problem being the ones I wanted to smell the most were nowhere to be found. I moved on to mainstream gems, but nothing caught my heart. And then, out of all places, I found it in a niche perfumery in Warsaw - it beckoned me with a scent somewhere from my childhood (of course!), somewhere from my dreams. I had it on my mind for days before venturing out to Nordstrom to grab a sample; and then it was just a couple of days more until I was ordering a full bottle all for myself.
I don't have to tell you what it was: by now I'm sure you can all see from the photos. At this point, a review would also be rather pointless since you know that I love it, but let me profess my adoration for one more paragraph. Inspired by the Garden of Ninfa in Italy, Annick Goutal's Ninfeo Mio consists of notes of Italian lemon, citron, pettigrain, bitter orange, galbanum, lentisque, fig leaf and lemon tree wood and is an olofactory interpretation of the mythic Garden of Hesperides. Given that I'd been convinced I disliked citrus and felt quite snobbish about fruit, it seems an unlikely choice - but Lord, is this a beauty. At first sharp, bracing, cool, green and bitter, it settles into a wonderfully dry, dusty but creamy warmth on the skin. A lot of the time, fig smells very much like blackcurrant to me, one of the fruits of my childhood; and beyond that, Ninfeo Mio feels like The Secret Garden out of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, which is one of my all-time favorite books. So there it is: an embodiment of something out of my past and something out of my dreams.
Thus, I've become a beginner perfumista, eager to discover more beauty in the fragrance world. I already have a list of perfumes to sample longer than my arm, and I'm afraid you will have to occasionally bear with me as I compliment or criticize. Tell me, are you a perfumista too? What perfume has started it all for you?
This sounds amazing!! I'd love to smell it!ReplyDelete
I still don't get perfumes really, but I do love them. And I find it interesting how what appeals to us and how that changes too.
One of my favourite fragrances is really simple-Jo Malone Orange Blossom. But it also reminds me of my childhood and my mother so I really love it.
Orange Blossom is just so beautiful and feminine! I think the Bay carries Annick Goutal in Canada? Go sniff it, you won't regret it!Delete
Yay, it arrived! It smells so nice...you deserve it for all those hard hours put in at the perfumery :)ReplyDelete
I too have a slight obsession with perfume...but you do a much better job at describing them! I've been looking at my collection lately, wondering if I should just let go of the "ok" scents..
I'm determined to use most of mine up, especially before I buy another bottle, but I have one that I can't stand - maybe we should try and do a swap sometime :)Delete
which one can't you stand? in the past, i would find myself spritzing right before bed, or at other times that i would normally not use them--just to try and finish them off!Delete
i tend to receive a lot as gifts, so i always feel bad not using them. and then there are a the few that are so sentimental, you nearly finish them and then try to preserve just a little bit LOL
I have a Franck Olivier perfume (I don't think this brand is available in the US) that is just... so not me. I'm currently concentrating my efforts on a Burberry bottle, it's ok, but I'm over it and want to finish it off and move on to something else. I actually started to dislike receiving perfume as a gift, I'm too picky now!Delete
The bottle is super cute and girlyReplyDelete
Love, love, love perfume. I first started becoming intrigued after visiting the Grasse region in 2000, but couldn't find anything in department stores that spoke to me. Something about the synthetic musks and fixatives that most of those brands use was noxious to me.ReplyDelete
I discovered Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab a few years later, and that opened me up to the idea of hand-made, oil-based perfumes. They are still my favorite brand for a variety of reasons, and through that experience I got into other natural and niche perfumes (Ayala Moriel, Sweet Anthem, Andy Tauer) and then began dipping my toes back into more commercial but still niche perfumes, like Tom Ford, l'Artisan, and then full circle back to some of the more well-done, big-brand 'fumes.
I'm definitely at the stage where I want to discover more of the niche brands like L'Artisan, Frederick Malle, L'Histoire des Parfums etc... I'm promising myself an order of samples in April :)Delete
Now I really want to try this one - I love the Secret Garden :). I also was like you - I grew up thinking I hated perfume, because all I ever smelled were the overpowering mainstream department store fragrances that made me feel sick. then I discovered niche lines and realized perfume truly is an art! I think the first perfume that made me realize this (strange, since I do not like this perfume really) was Hermes Un Jardin Apres le Mousson - I was shocked that it didn't smell like any "perfume" I'd smelled & it really did smell like fresh rain! Keep up with perfume reviews, I love them :)ReplyDelete
I prefer stronger, more "masculine" fragrances. And I definitely have too many bottles of perfumes ;)ReplyDelete
If you like fig scents , try Diptyque Philosykos or L'Artisan Premier Figuier or Premier Figuier Extreme :)
I decided to dedicate myself to finding "the one" too - problem is, I don't like very many perfumes. I also have a hard time imagining which scents actually suit me. I've currently got 3 perfumes that are basically total opposites of each other: Prada L'Eau Ambree (discontinued?) Joe Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber and Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin which is rose-based but much nicer than most rose scents... The quest is ongoing.ReplyDelete