Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kate Walsh Boyfriend: My New Relationship Is Cut Tragically Short, And A Stuart Crystal Atomiser Gets Shirty

In my last post I featured my new purse spray of Kate Walsh Boyfriend from Ari of Scents of Self - one of my more successful blind buys. I wrote about its comforting woody, ambery, vanilla-y vibe, and likened it to a "Lite" version of Huitième Art Myrrhiad. I wore it on Valentine's Day and on the day after, reapplying it now and again in my quest to identify the oddball licorice/liquor note I thought I detected.

On Thursday, I was planning to use it as my sleep scent, and nipped into the kitchen to fetch a glass of water, the Boyfriend spray in its box in my other hand. As I turned away from the sink the purse spray suddenly fell to the ground, smashing into smithereens and scattering glassy shards for a radius of several feet. I had upended the box without noting that the top was open, and the glass vial had slid out and shattered easily on the tiled floor.

It took me a good twenty minutes to mop the viscous mess and sweep up all the tiny fragments of glass. Mr Bonkers nearly trod on one the next morning and asked if I was trying to see him off too! I was quite upset and annoyed at myself for my clumsiness, though at least my curiosity to try Boyfriend had been well and truly assuaged, and thanks to my frequent reapplications I shall probably remember how it smells for a long time to come.

The irony didn't escape me that a perfume inspired by Kate Walsh's ex-boyfriend should now bite the dust, hit the deck - and the wall, indeed - in short, become my very own fragrant Ex-Boyfriend...

But it wasn't long before my rational self reminded me that I am not exactly short of perfume, and the loss of 12ml is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of my bursting fridges.

So to cheer myself up, I did that thing I sometimes too - does anybody else do this? - I got out my decanting kit (partly in preparation for the upcoming prize draws), and fiddled with some of the more attractive and tactile items in their repurposed Ormonde Jayne bag container. This involved fighting my way through several layers of empty plastic bags and one of pipettes to reach the materials contained within. Particularly guaranteed to lift the spirits are those little coloured gauze bags you get from The Perfumed Court (and fellow swappers), which appeal to my eight year old self's love of spangly purses and all things jewel-coloured. The pink and mauve ones are a personal favourite, also those with butterfly motifs. Then I picked up and fondled some burnished metal atomisers in pleasing bullet shapes: silver and red, chocolate brown and gold.

And then, all of a sudden, I came across a Stuart crystal atomiser which I had bought years ago on Ebay, meaning to put a favourite perfume in it or possibly give it as a gift. Its cross-hatched design sparkles in the light and its chunky gold top feels pleasingly smooth and solid in your hand.

I dug deep into the presentation box and fetched out an adhesive label, bearing the following legend:



Oh dear, I thought, that's me told then! And obviously, "failure to find label" in the first place would have resulted in a similarly leaky scenario. But the next question that crossed my mind - and the one which I would be pleased if anyone reading can help me answer - is: why only EDP? Is it something to do with its strength or density (specific gravity? I never know the correct terms here), which inclines it to leak? I naively thought leaking occurred when a seal was not watertight (or liquid-tight, in this case). Which would mean surely that one liquid would be as prone to escape as the next one, but apparently not so...

And I have read about general leakage problems with puffer atomisers, but this is the first time I have heard of a regular glass atomiser with a standard spray mechanism selectively leaking in this way. Or threatening to do so anyway.

I can't think offhand of any EDTs I like enough to dedicate this pretty bottle to, so for the moment it remains empty, uncooperative and muttering its admonitions from the dark comfort of its (dark blue) box. There's nothing on the label to say so, so I am only speculating, but it wouldn't surprise me if - were I to fill the atomiser up with perfume of any kind and drop it on the kitchen floor, that might result in "leakage from atomiser" too...


Anonymous said...

Hi Vanessa,

Broken glass is a (beep!) to clear away so I sympathise over that.

The picky Stuart Crystal atomiser is a puzzler, that's for certain. I've never seen a notice like that on any of the wee atomisers I've got. Call it's bluff, maybe, and put some edp in and see what it does! If it self-destructs, I'll be round to clean up in penance:-)

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Olfacta said...

A very odd thing happened to me with a decant (from a private seller) of one of the new By Kilians -- the orange blossom one. I began to notice that my cabinet was taking on that fragrance and when I went to lift the screw-top vial to investigate, it stuck to the shelf! The vial had leaked from the bottom. The perfume strength liquid had somehow leaked through the glass itself. Not all was gone, but about half was. The bottom had a grooved rim. I'm thinking that some sort of molecular transfer took place that would allow the liquid to "eat" through the glass.

Maybe that's what they meant?

Olfacta said...

...or (forgot to add this) the vial had some minute cracks in the bottom.

Suzanne said...

Vanessa, perhaps they put that warning on the atomizer to steer people clear of putting something like a perfume oil in it? Don't know, just a guess. If it were mine, I'd probably try filling it with an edp anyway, but here's another thought: most if not all of the Chanel Exclusifs are edt's. If you have one of those that you love, it would probably go well with your fancy atomizer. Chanels are so elegant, they seem like a good match for it. :-)

Natalie said...

What an odd warning! No idea what the issue could be, but I'm going to ask my scientist husband when he gets home if he has any ideas, as I'm curious.

So sorry about Boyfriend! Thank goodness it was a purse spray, though.

Eva S said...

I think I'm with Suzanne on this and that they want people to avoid putting perfume oil in it, that makes sense. As for EDP I can't see that there would be any great difference in dendity or viscosity to the EDT?

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

Broken glass is a right beep, I agree!

As for the crystal atomiser, I was hoping that the fact it was *Stuart* might mean you could advise us here, hehe.

The consensus seems to be to call its bluff, and if this bold move fails, at least the blame will now be more widely apportioned!

: - ) ; - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfacta,

I was interested to hear about your own experiences of atomisers behaving badly. I too have had this mystery leaking problem though I can't bring the exact scents or atomiser styles to mind now.

Cracks or molecular transfer sound to me like good working theories for now. I remember when I was product manager for a range of fruit juices that Vitamin C used to "migrate" out of the product over time, presumably right out of the carton, so you never know...

Vanessa said...

Hi Suzanne,

I see what you mean about warning people off from putting perfume oils in, though EDP is a popular category of fragrance which - if it really was safe to put in - you would think they would include on the same footing as the lighter EDC and EDT.

There again, it might be like best before dates on food products, where the manufacturers put a certain date, knowing full well that the product will still be okay up to 4 days beyond that or whatever - to allow for consumer abuse, I imagine. So it may be fine with EDP, but they are excluding that higher strength to be on the safe side.

It might be nice to have a Chanel in there as you suggest and I must examine my stocks of the Exclusifs, which are just bits of decants, basically. I think I have a reasonable amount of Bois des Iles, though possibly not enough to fill it.

I could have a rootle through my collection for classy EDTs, and if there were no obvious contenders, I could try with a small amount of an EDP, and see what happened...

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

A scientist husband is just what we could do with here. My brother is a seismologist, so has a passing familiarity with cracks, though that is of course only one of our theories. ; - )

If SH could help us on the molecular transfer angle or the difference between EDP and EDT in terms of leakage propensities, that would be fab!

Vanessa said...

Hi Eva S,

Yes, maybe the EDP omission is just precautionary.

If you look at the market as a whole, I'd have thought perfume oils were a small part of it, so on the face of it is somewhat of a "niche" kind of warning! : - )

Unknown said...

Hi Vanessa,

Sorry to hear about your broken atomiser and spilt perfume! You definitely handled it with more grace than I would have, and I would certainly have cried over spilt perfume.

I don't think there should be anything wrong with filling your atomiser with an EDP or even an extrait. The main reason for leaking atomisers in my opinion is definitely a change in air pressure as well as temperature. These drive the contents up the tube and out, causing the atomiser to "leak".


Vanessa said...

Hi Joshua,

I guess I have learnt to get over smashed things quite well, being quite the Butter Fingers generally. My favourite gin glass plus several treasured mugs have all met a similar fate. All manner of objects routinely "leap" out of my hands for some strange reason. The glass or ceramic ones which have the misfortune to land on the kitchen floor are the surefire goners. : - )

Thanks for explaining about the effects of air pressure and temperature on atomiser behaviour - I never knew any of that and it is something else I should perhaps watch out for, in my efforts to "curate" my perfumes in two beer fridges. Though cool, they are unfortunately pretty damp, and I feel sure that isn't ideal for perfume preservation either, though it may not precipitate leakages as such.

Wordbird said...

I was just thinking what a bummer it was to have a bottle smash on you, and thank goodness it was something you can live with, when I realised I once dropped a decant of Bandit EDT in a hotel bathroom. I was enormously grateful that it was a hotel and not my home, as Bandit is a very 'large' scent. I don't think anyone would have needed to use air freshener in there for a long time after that.

Out of curiosity - was Boyfriend nice? It had such good write ups. (Mind you, she's recently released a flanker which seems to have ruined her cred. Billionaire Boyfriend or something. Gah!)

Tara said...

Oh, Vanessa that's very upsetting! Spilt/smashed perfume is always sad but the fact that it was so new makes it a lot worse.

Glad your pretty bags and that weird atomiser instruction was able to distract you a bit. Hope Natalie's scientist hubby can enlighten us. Maybe parfum is too viscous to spray properly and leaks out instead? I very much hope it's not eating through the glass - our poor skin!

Vanessa said...

Hi Wordbird,

Wow, Bandit is indeed a "large" scent - you were probably not sorry to be checking out of that hotel!

Yes, Boyfriend was nice in a surprisingly offbeat way - there's a sort of review of it in my Valentine's post. Well, some impressions, anyway. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Thanks for your condolences on my smashed Boyfriend. (And yes, alcohol was involved!)

We have now gathered some interesting theories about possible causes of a leak: cracks, molecular transfer, air pressure, temperature change and viscosity, to which I would add "sheer mischief".

As for our "poor skin", having followed the debate on the CPB's blog over the weekend, it is a miracle any of us are still reaching for perfume today, hehe.

Must check out your post on the same subject (phone bill collation is calling me at the moment!).

Undina said...

Ouch... Sorry to hear about that unpleasant accident, but I'm glad that a) it happened to one of the mainstream (read - not that expensive and hard to get) perfumes - btw, do you need another one bought and delivered to you? :); b) it happened not in the bedroom and c) glass didn't do too much harm to anybody in your family. But still unpleasant.

As to the strange warning... I don't know, I wouldn't try stronger concentrations (if any!) with this one. I saw perfumes "eating up" plastic containers, haven't seen it with glass yet but since your automizer is too cute to waste it on something ordinary, the perfume you might put in it will be too good to be used in an experiment with a predicted failure.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

You are quite right that if you are going to smash glass anywhere, the kitchen is a good place from a mopping point if view. Though I fancy the bedroom carpet might well have muffled its fall.

It is very kind of you to offer to procure me a replacement, but I take this incident as a sign from on high that I am not meant to hang on to this particular Boyfriend. "To have and to drop", as the saying goes.

You make a very good point that I wouldn't want to jeopardise a very precious scent in this potentially wayward atomiser. An EDT is my first choice, but nothing too expensive or irreplaceable. : - )