Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday in NYC, Part 3

"A new scent--unrecognizable but exquisite. In its wake came Lita Wyant, half-dancing, half-drifting, fastening a necklace, humming a tune, her little round head, with the goldfish-colored hair, the mother-of-pearl complexion and screwed-up auburn eyes, turning sideways like a bird's on her long throat."

That passage from Edith Wharton's Jazz Age novel, Twilight Sleep, popped into my head as we entered Aedes de Venustas, perhaps because the shop's gloomy interior made me think of the black decor of Lita's boudoir, considered mildly shocking by her proper in-laws. Lita, who was lured by all things fashionable, would certainly be an Aedes regular if she were magically transported to 21st century New York. I could almost see her sniffing delicately at the MPG line.

Dave and I worked our way down to Christopher Street after having spent the morning in Caron and Takashimaya, so I was just about sniffed out--at least, I thought I was. I seem to have unlimited olfactory stamina when conditions are right, and they were right in Aedes. We were the only customers, and Robin (hope I'm spelling that correctly) was the perfect unobtrusive helper as I made my way around the store.

I reacquainted myself with Chergui, SL's great amber-tobacco elixir. It's one of the few Lutens scents I find easy to love. I had one of those familiar bad perfumista/good perfumista inner dialogues:

"It's so beautiful, you know you want a bottle. What else smells like this? You're on a roll here, and Dave's buying. Go for it."

"Please, don't be stupid. Sure, it's tempting, but how often would you actually wear it? Tennessee has about 9 months of summer, and you couldn't bear it in the heat. Don't cave, you'll regret it tomorrow."

Fortunately--or unfortunately, depending on which perfumista you heed--the Chergui was out of stock. The hurdle of having to wait for an order was enough to dim its appeal.

I huffed a few Annick Goutals--Encens Flamboyant, Myrrhe Ardente, etc. Perfectly attractive, but no chemistry there. I actually would have liked to douse Dave in Myrrhe Ardente, but I had already subjected him to Yatagan and Santos. (Did I mention our Sephora stop?) I figured I'd better give him a little breathing room, literally.

I moved on to the Creeds, hoping against hope that they might have some Aubepine Acacia, or at least be able to acquire it in something other than the bloated 250 ml bottle. But no, alas. That was my first heartbreak in Aedes. I have been wanting a bottle of AA for a long time, but I just cannot bring myself to buy a small vat of the stuff. Ounce for ounce, of course, it's actually cheaper than the smaller Creed bottles, but something about the excess of that presentation offends me. The hedonist in me occasionally gives way to the puritan. I did nab a little bottle of Tubereuse Indiana, but I regard that as a practical investment, like buying clothes for work. TI is one of those all-purpose scents I know won't go to waste.

The second heartbreak was meeting Amouage Jubilation. Oh my god--so exquisite, so classic, so perfect for me...and so fucking expensive. It's actually just a smidgen more than the Creeds and SLs, but we had been on such a spree, it was time to put the brakes on. Plus, I had already fallen into bed with a scent I just met, i.e., Ginger Ciao. How many times can you do that in one day? Even when it's your 47th birthday and you feel death approaching, you shouldn't just abandon all sanity, should you?

Robin kindly made me a little sample of the Jubilation. I'm hoping I'll hate it on next sniff, but the odds are against it. I'm not as fickle as Lita.

Photo from Aedes de Venustas


Julie H. Rose said...

Oh my, that sounds heavenly, even with the disappointments. I had an almost parallel experience here, right on my living room sofa.

I was given a gift certificate for BeautyHabit and assumed I'd buy Chergui. Backordered! Everyone must be buying the stuff! It is gorgeous.I've certainly sung its praises enough.

Before that, I snagged a small bottle of Encens Flamboyant off of Ebay over the weekend.

I have a 1.5ml sample of the Amouage. It doesn't thrill, but perhaps the price causes me to judge harshly. If you haven't a sample, I'll send it to you.

chayaruchama said...

Now I KNOW you are my soulmate.

THAT was the only thing I bought; I had a consuderable credit, and NOTHING held a candle to it.

Many others prefer the other Amouages.
While I really enjoy them immensely- THIS was IT for me.
It sings a siren song I can't resist.

Perfumeshrine said...

Oh honey, dearest M, let me send you a little Amouage Jubilation 25 (I am assuming we're talking about the same scent, image if we didn't!! LOL) which I have a bottle of.
It will be my little holidays-and- birthday gift to you, oh Sagittarius one :-))

BitterGrace said...

Chaya, I remembered how much you liked it, so I made a point of sniffing. I should have known I would fall for it, too. You and I share a particular weakness for those classic compositions.

Juie and Helg--You're both so sweet to offer! I'll be emailing you.

I do hope you get your Chergui, Julie. It is probably just popularity, and not something more ominous, that's making it scarce. Robin mentioned that it was a big seller.

Julie H. Rose said...

My Chergui will have to wait. I ordered some L'artisan Safran Troublant, which I love (though not nearly as much as Chergui).

Chergui was terribly hard to procure in the States until sometime in the last few weeks. People were nefariously making deals with people who knew people in Paris. . .all so clandestine!

Chergui was sold for a short time in the U.S. before, and then pulled. Hope it's not a repeat performance. I still have 9ml left, thank goodness.

If you want my tester of the Amouage, it's yours.

Oh, I just noticed you have a birthday coming up. Me too! Tomorrow. Sigh.

BitterGrace said...

Hey, happy birthday! There are a lot of Sagittarians associated with this blog.

The Lutens frags seem particularly prone to the "now you see it, now you don't" phenomenon. A cynic might see a little market manipulation there. Not that I'm cynical.

Anonymous said...


You have great taste (Jubilation 25 is so superb; my favorite scent for nine months running. And might surprise you how beautifully it blooms in the heat).

You're a talented writer, too. I've been enjoying visiting (lurking) here lately. Found you through Mary's blog.

BitterGrace said...

Hi, Suzanne. Thanks! I just recently found your blog via Mary's. Small world. I love your reviews. The take on Jubilation was perfect. Eartha Kitt is the face of Jubilation for me now. (That's a good thing--I adore Earth Kitt.)