On the gift front, I hope that Santa 'delivered', and that he conscientiously worked his way through your wish list. If he had any wit, he would embed half a dozen reindeers in Amazon's Swansea warehouse, and have them on permanent standby. My own presents included a Chanel mascara, a fat bottle of gin and a Black & Decker crevice tool, so I am well happy.
Now, newer readers may not be familiar with this long running mini-series mentioned in the title, which recounts sundry crimes against perfume - or perfume related things - that have particularly exercised me. I wrote a flurry of posts back in 2009-10 - about anything and everything from confusing Stella flankers to the evils of bathroom storage, trigger-happy sales assistants and opaque perfume receptacles. I must have felt I got a lot of things off my chest back then in a relatively short space of time, for it is getting on for two years since I filed my last report in this sorry canon. Though I did make reference to a scent crime post in my recent piece about the new perfume shop in Stafford, called Vienna. The one about my friend Clare's fruitless attempt to find a stockist of Mitsouko in our town, and how a sales assistant witheringly dismissed the entire house of Guerlain as 'old stuff'.
I have touched on perfume bottle - or sample vial - design a few times in this series, and now find myself increasingly bothered by the packaging of promotional products, unsolicited yet consensual consignments of which I am receiving more and more these days. I may revisit that theme - and how I should approach such offerings (aka 'PR swag', to put it bluntly) - in my upcoming 'end of year' musings.
Then in my review of Puredistance BLACK not so long ago, I couldn't resist having a mischievous pop at the heavy duty laquered-look box that had been used to present a sample of Opardu, the brand's previous release. This was more on weight rather than size grounds, it must be said. On an impulse, I just stuck the Opardu box on the scales and it topped out at almost 1 lb, a hefty receptacle indeed for a 2 ml sample vial!
|Looks a little bigger if allowed to stand on its own box|
However, the prize for the most disproportionate packaging to product has to go to a scented candle I was sent recently from a company called Rive Sud in Cannes. The one I received was a highly spiced, church incense-y number called Via della Basilica, featuring (declared) notes of incense, pepper and myrrh:
"Like a poem by Pavese, the streets will open out onto a pine-clad hill and stones, leading to the silence of the basilica." (My rendering of the French blurb on the Rive Sud website.)
The collection of four candles was created by Cannes-based interior designer Christine Bodino in tandem with perfumer Delphine Thierry, the nose behind Cloon Keen Atelier's Castaña, which I happen to own! I was intrigued to smell any scented product inspired by the Mediterranean, having lived on the Riviera for a year in my student days, teaching in a school in Cannes in fact, just a hop and a skip behind the Croisette. My morning commute from Antibes featured dark silhouettes of palm trees against unfeasibly lurid peachy-pink sunrises, exactly like those holiday postcards I reject on a point of principle for being too gaudy.
I haven't burnt the candle yet, but other bloggers who received the same press package as me have lit the wick and recorded their thoughts, notably Kevin of Now Smell This and Gaia at The Non-Blonde.
What surprises me is that no one has been similarly struck by the humungous big box the candle came in - or seen fit to mention it at any rate. Compare the candle's small size on the table with a standard vase!
|Possible negative 'splay' effect of the (albeit matching) roses?|
And see how lost it looks amongst the polystyrene packing peanuts!
That very same outer box ended up being sent to a friend in Canada, where it comfortably transported a present for her and three further gifts for her children. So at least it was appropriately sized for that journey...
Do you have any examples of extraordinarily OTT packaging to share? I'd love to hear about them!