|70s Go-Go boots ~ Source: eBay|
But the other new releases in the Art de Parfum range seemed more like oddball mainstream rather than niche scents to my nose, and I even thought one or two smelt overtly aromachemically, if you know what I mean, such that the overall composition failed to engage / mesh, let alone wow. Tara and I chatted about this afterwards because she has a much superior nose to mine and did not get a synthetic vibe from this range, something I know she would normally pick up on straight away. So I vowed to try the quintet of scents again, because I was disappointed by my own lacklustre reaction to them.
But there's more...!
I remembered that I had a similarly mixed reaction to the ROADS collection of fragrances, a number of which I featured in a post here. I quite liked several, but the rest sadly left me cold. I couldn't imagine buying a bottle of any of them. Why am I not surprised that piece didn't make the Jasmine shortlists this year? Well,for starters it is more of a travelogue than a set of perfume reviews, never mind its less than reverent tone...;)
And then there was another coffret of samples I was kindly sent by Jeffrey Dame of Hypoluxe - a capsule collection of scents under the aegis of Thorsten Biehl's Kunstwerke, by perfumers Geza Schoen, Mark Buxton and Patricia Choux. I featured a Mark Buxton composition (mb01) that particularly caught my fancy in this German-themed post from 2014, but again I was underwhelmed by the set as a whole, notwithstanding the pedigree of the perfumers whose work it showcased. I remember one perfume reminding me forcefully of Dior's J'adore L'eau cologne florale, for example, a resolutely mainstream flanker of the ever popular J'adore.
It was the same script - only more so - with a range called Aura Soma, the least said about which the better.
And yesterday it dawned on me that the common thread between all four sets of samples is the fact that they have WHITE TOPS. It seems that at some subliminal level, my brain does not equate white tops with 'niche' / 'luxury' / 'high end' scents, regardless of their actual quality and how they may or may not smell.
A quick delve into my 'samples in progress' boxes and bowls reveals that the scents I do regard highly mostly have black tops, or little stoppers. One range (not pictured and yet to be featured) even has classy blue apothecary-style vials!
In the bowl above are samples from the following brands:
Mona di Orio
Hermes - translucent!
Acqua di Parma - a sort of mother of pearl finish, but definitely not your bog standard white!
So then I scurried off to find my presentation box of Puredistance samples, which - whether I like each and every one of their range or not - is a house which resoundingly epitomises quality ingredients for me. I was reassured to see the serried ranks of black tops, giving further weight to my theory. Yes, I know M is missing - I gave it to a friend who gave it to her colleague.
And to put the lid on my research, I opened a big box of atomiser samples that I had collected at the start of my perfume hobby. Verdict: of the seven white plastic-topped sprayers that came to hand, six were mainstream designer scents, including a couple of 'regular' Chanels. The only high end brand that had gone for white was By Kilian (Forbidden Games), and I am now racking my memory as to whether they may actually use black tops on their other collections?
Well, what a turn up! I am not saying that I have never loved a perfume in a sample sprayer with a white top, or never disliked one in a black top, but I can say that in the main my perception of perfume in quality terms really does seem to be a black and white issue. ;)
Finally, here is Serge Lutens, taking absolutely no chances with an opaque brown number, similar to the (black?) vials of Keiko Mecheri. Which is all very well, but these come with their own issues, namely that you have no clue about fill levels. Until they finally stop working. An annoying phenomenon which I have addressed in this Scent Crimes post - from six and a half years ago, no less!
So I have to ask - is it just me whose perception is influenced by sample top colour, or can anyone else relate?
It sounds a pretty preposterous theory on the face of it, but I toss it out there notwithstanding. Maybe top colour is in fact some kind of unspoken 'code' in the perfume industry that I have only now tumbled to?!
And yes, I did own a pair of boots like that in the 70s - white patent, which I teamed with my pink (you heard right!) wet look coat. Personally, I am not sure that white boots - or white atomiser tops - or white shoes on men, even on a golf course - were ever a good thing...
*With apologies to Evelyn Waugh. (It shouldn't really be 'bodies', come to think of it, being more about the tops, but I shall push the envelope of poetic licence.)
Actually, in the case of that Art de Parfum sample pictured above, we are also talking a bit of the body as well as top... Maybe it was the additional - and substantial - plastic 'shoulder' that tipped me over the edge?!