Monday, December 3, 2007

Perfume report (and more pics)

Scentwise, the trip started on a very positive note. The woman in the seat behind us on the plane was wearing Mitsouko--probably the parfum, judging from exquisite mellow sillage. If there is anything that can overcome the extended olfactory nightmare of an 8 hour flight, it's Mitsouko. I was almost as lucky on the trip back. Sick as I was, the smell of jet fuel and plastic food was killing me, but there was a young woman across the aisle who kept topping up some gentle sandalwood/vanilla thingie, and it was actually very soothing. Of course, she was engaging in just the sort of behavior that gives perfume freaks a bad name, but I'll always be grateful to her.

I knew there was a Penhaligon's in Glasgow, so I hit it the first day there and dropped some of my mad money on a bottle of Lily and Spice (smells just like something else I can't put my finger on, but I loved it so I caved); a little silver compact filled with solid Bluebell (quoth the very cute SA: "Kate Moss loves this"); a men's sampler with Endymion, Quercus, etc.; and a women's sampler that I wanted mainly for the Malabah. I'd never sniffed it before and I thought I loved it--but yesterday it smelled god-awful to me. Weird how that happens. I'm hoping I'll recover my desire for it, but meanwhile I do love the Elizabethan Rose, which is just the sort of pure, fresh rose that never fails to make me happy. The SA really was very sweet, and could not quite wrap her head around the idea that I was buying all this stuff for myself. She insisted I take some wrapping paper and ribbon "in case you decide to give something as a gift after all." Dave suggested that perhaps she hadn't met a lot of perfume addicts.

That's hard to believe, though, because Glasgow actually seems to be a very perfume-friendly place, at least in terms of scented bodies per capita. I kept getting whiffs of what I'd swear was Daim Blond, and Light Blue is as ubiquitous there as it is here. The overwhelming preference seemed to be for light chypres, or the drier fruity/woody scents. Florals not so much, and I didn't get smacked by a heavy oriental even once. The department store sniffing was quite civilized, as it always seems to be in Europe. They just put the stuff out on the shelves and let you sample unmolested. I didn't have to fight off a single sales zombie during my two outings. The selection was good, too. Even the rather dowdy House of Fraser had several Serge Lutens testers out (Gris Clair, Douce Amere, can't remember what else.) The crappy exchange rate made it easy to resist buying anything I could readily lay hands on in the US, but there was plenty of temptation.

Okay, enough perfume. I promised pics. Again these are all by Dave, I didn't touch a camera the whole time we were there. These first three are Edinburgh: looking down the Royal Mile at St Giles' Cathedral (note the traffic cone on David Hume's head); the dog cemetery at Edinburgh Castle (the highlight of Dave's trip); and a shot of the city taken through one of the cannon ports at the castle.


Here's my favorite place in Glasgow, The Necropolis, a 19th century cemetery that sits on a hill behind Glasgow Cathedral. It's vast and rather rundown and completely irresistible. They were doing a citywide light show a couple of nights when we were there, which was nice but was put to shame by the sight of the full moon rising over the Necropolis with the headstones in silhouette. The huge monument in the first pic is (who else?) John Knox. The woman in the second pic is yours truly. Dave always takes a picture of me in every cemetery we visit--one of our slightly warped romantic rituals. The last two are different views of the city, both taken from the Necropolis: grimy Glasgow and pretty Glasgow. That's Glasgow Cathedral in the pretty shot.


perfumeshrine said...

You did have a GREAT tour of all the right places, I see!!
The Necropolis looks especially romantic in November light *sigh*

Chypres in general are quite popular in Europe, especially in the south as they lend themselves well to heat. I am a little surprised you didn't smell Angel clones, though! Those are very popular too!

Gotta love a woman wearing Mitsouko...

chayaruchama said...

The redcoats are coming... !

When I die, will you bury my remains in the dog cemetary ?

BitterGrace said...

I took the liberty of scratching your dupe comment, Helg. You're right, we did see all the right places, in spite of our snobbery ;-) I was a little surprised by the absence of Angel clones, too, though they really would have felt out of place. Glaswegians don't seem to be about trying too hard.

Chaya, you are going to have to fight with Dave for a plot. I think he wants the whole family there.

David Maddox said...

There's one phrase comes to mind when looking upon the dog cemetery: "aye, there's a good dog." And it seems appropriate to share the following -- yes, from Burns of course. If anyone can translate this, I'd be grateful.

Address To A Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

BitterGrace said...

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

Are we sure this is about haggis? Sounds suspiciously erotic.