|Seriously luxe packaging for an eBay buy|
Incensed at the thought of having to leg it over to the sorting office that afternoon, I pulled on my dirty clothes from the day before and ran out the door in search of a tell-tale figure dressed in red. In a matter of moments I spotted the offending postie delivering to houses at the far end of the street. I challenged him about the failure to knock, but he insisted that he had. I challenged him about the phony time and he said he didn't have a watch, so was obliged to estimate it. Hmm, based on the number of people likely to be out at work while he is doing his rounds, he must do a lot of estimating of the time in a typical shift. Anyway, I remained calm and polite and he promised to come back and deliver the package when he had finished at that end.
Sure enough, he was as good as his word, helped by a little note I had affixed to the door, pointing to the (admittedly rather archaic style of) doorbell that you twist to operate, and enjoining him to ring it vigorously. Parcel signed for - which, despite containing some 130ml of perfume across the two bottles, arrived refreshingly devoid of hazchem warning label - I spent a very satisfying few minutes unpacking it. The seller had not skimped on the bubble wrap and tape, and both bottles were tightly swathed like mummies, nestling in a beautiful silk lined box.
|My Edwardian doorbell|
I should point out that this was a partial blind buy on my part: Grand Amour I am familiar with, and very much agree with Elena of Perfumeshrine and Victoria of Bois de Jasmin, who both detect similarities to Chamade. Yet Grand Amour is more complex and ambivalent than that analogy implies, as both go on to explain. I love this quote in particular from Perfumeshrine:
"The atmosphere of Grand Amour is one of sustained uncertainty, poised as it is between the unctuous base of its resinous orientalia and the grassy, sappy, almost refreshing floral top."
"Orientalia" is a splendid - and ever so slightly suggestive- term for the base of Grand Amour...
Victoria also captures the contrasting facets of Grand Amour with her usual eloquent lyricism:
"While Chamade plays up the radiant green crispness, the sweetness of Grand Amour conveys a certain disarming tenderness. In an unexpected twist that makes Grand Amour such a fascinating fragrance, a ribbon of myrrh resurfaces under the floral opulence of the heart. Its somber incantation provides a brilliant counterpoint to the headiness of the composition, suggesting that even great love always retains an air of mystery."
My bottle is the edt, but nevertheless, the natural ageing process has lent it the colour of the edp. I have two samples of Songes edt that are also at opposite ends of the colour spectrum, which again I put down to their respective ages. Grand Amour was one of the very first niche fragrances I smelt after the onset of perfume mania, and I remember how close I came to buying a bottle. It feels fitting to have finally done so, especially for under £20.
|Myrrh crystals donated by my friend Gillie|
Myrrhe Ardente, on the other hand, was new to me, but the two bottles came as a job lot, so I scrutinised the reviews to determine whether I might like it. Katie Puckrik of Katie Puckrik Smells had likened it to 'mushroom-flavoured root beer', which didn't initially fill me with confidence, while numerous other reviewers on Makeupalley and Fragrantica alluded to a 'cherry soda' or 'cola' note going in. They are all right, but the cola / root beer note soon settles into a generalised subtle sweetness that is seamlessly blended with myrrh and benzoin. The incense registers as the softest of tingles, a nuzzling, comforting prickle that is far removed from the flagstone-y or medicinal facets of the note. In the end, it was Victoria's review that tipped me over the edge, for she is one of several bloggers with whom my own taste is broadly aligned. She had me at the 'alluring softness' and 'sensual warmth', which perfectly sums up the character of Myrrhe Ardente now that my bottle is here!
Then in a bid to extend my repertoire of myrrh experiencing MOs, I have just ordered some charcoal discs off eBay so that I can burn the resin at home - for the in-home combustion equivalent of Dolby surround sound.
|Charcoal discs doing an excellent impression of black pudding ~ Source: bakhoor.info|
Yes, I am delighted with this semi-blind buy, and as I was writing my glowing feedback on eBay, I remembered that the seller had included an explanation in her listing as to why the owner was divesting herself of these two bottles.
"I am selling them for a friend who has now found her 'perfect perfume' -- given to her by her new true love -- and is renouncing all others in a dramatic gesture!"
So on a whim, I wrote to the seller, thanking her profusely for her extremely conscientious wrapping of the parcel, and inquiring what was the perfume her friend now considers "perfect".
This was her reply: "As for my friend's new fragrance, it is J'Adore by Dior, and I suspect the name has something to do with her preference, since it was given to her by her new love, and of course she loves his giving her something that says he adores her..."
Well, you can't argue with that. Plus it has a pretty top, in a 'National Geographic-tribeswomen-wearing-ten-gold-necklaces-at-once' kind of a way. As for the extra emotive charge / aptness of the name, the name Grand Amour is a perfectly good contender, come to think of it, however, that is a fragrance the owner had presumably bought for herself - or been given by a relative, perhaps - so it wouldn't have done at all.
This little story got me thinking - would a perfume given to me by a Significant Other have instant superior status to others in my collection, whatever it was? Hmm...And would a perfume name that alluded to the donor's love directly or in some other oblique way further enhance its appeal? Say, if they gave you "Enchanted Forest", and you had had your first clinch on a woodland walk. Or is it more the case that if the juice is not to your taste, nothing could redeem a perfume in your eyes, and confer merit upon it through the transformative power of love....?
For myself, I reckon that if the scent were half way passable, sentimentality could well fill in the gaps. But mostly I prefer to 'love the one I've chosen' rather than 'love the one you're with' - or given, as in the present case.