All’s well that smells well

It’s time to wrap up my 2012 Perfume Project! Technically the end of 2012 would have been the timely time to do it, but let’s crack on anyway!

  • After sniffing 52 perfumes over 52 weeks, the winner was the first one I tried, Chanel’s Coco. Deemed “earthy, dramatic and foxy” when first scooshed in January 2012, it’s remained earthy, dramatic and foxy every time I’ve retested. I haven’t got round to forking out for a bottle yet, but it’s nice to know there’s the potential to smell that way. In my own mind, at least!
    Coco by Chanel
  • The runner up was the orange blossomy goodness of Elie Saab, followed by Vanilla Freesia & Lychee by Korres. The latter was a gift from The Mothership and is a nice everyday fragrance which makes one smell like an exotic, summery, fancy cake. In a good way!
  • The worst: Rive Gauche by YSL. I love the packaging – it looks like a canister in which an evil madman would store a lethal gas that would DESTROY THE WORLD if broken open – but I agree with Gareth’s verdict that I reeked, “like an old piano teacher from the 1970s”
    Rive Gauche
  • It’s so easy to be seduced by packaging. Would the Project outcomes be different had it been all Blind Sniffings? I love Coco’s classy glass; would I be half as enamoured if it looked more like a bottle of Irn Bru? I was also gutted that I didn’t like any of Tom Ford’s perfumes no matter how hard I sniffed… the packaging is so swanky! And even if I had liked Marc Jacob’s Daisy, I probably would never buy it as the dorky bottle reminds of an Avon kids’ fragrance I got for Christmas in the 80s.
  • The best part of the Project was testing the wee samples donated by Debra. Many were tiny, plain vials attached to a handwritten label, so I had to use my nose and not be led astray by fancy packaging. Debra, if you’re out there, thanks again! I passed them on to a good friend doing her own Perfume Project. I hope they will keep jetting around the country ’til they’re all snuffed out.
  • My favourite of Debra’s collection was En Passant by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums. My notes were, “Vanillaish? Aquatic. Warm. Not old lady.” The professional reviews I read afterwards used words like stems, leaves, linen, cucumber. Are these things really subjective or is my nose making shit up?
  • All in all, it was a great project and I missed having a pointless yet absorbing project (with accompanying spreadsheet) this past year. Where to for 2014? 52 malt whiskys in 52 weeksWhen in Rome, and all that? Hmm… back to the drawing board.

About Shauna Reid

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17 thoughts on “All’s well that smells well

  1. I love Coco, although it’s my second fave after No 5. I discovered recently that Chanel have some new fragrances – and a swanky shop not far from me. I may have to test them all out and drop huge hints for next year’s birthday/Mothers Day/Christmas gifts. 🙂 OH! Or just buy some duty-free when I GO TO EUROPE. Eeeeee!

  2. I almost never wear perfume but my favourite is Tresor by Lancome. It’s got a grave or an acute or something over the e. And the o in Lancôme has a little hat – oo it got put in automatically the second time but not the first.

      1. Well you just *know* I’m going to vote ‘yes’ for the whisky project.
        You just need to make sure 2015 doesn’t become ’12 rehab centres in 12 months’ 😛

  3. Clearly, 52 malt whiskys is the way to go. You’ve become so cosmopolitan! I remember when you hardly ever drank, and now you are hitting the hard stuff.

    I like Esteé Lauder Youth Dew, which is TOTALLY an old lady perfume. Perhaps I’d better do my own project and choose something that’s at least middle-aged.

    1. DO IT, Ginger! I would love to hear your thoughts on perfume. Your way with words is GOLD!

      As for hitting the hard stuff, I’d only need a wee sip to make my assessment, I wouldn’t need a whole dram. Hehehehhe!

  4. What a great idea for a project. I have been thinking a lot the past few weeks about how I want to get a grown-up perfume to wear, perhaps I will steal your project for this year!

  5. I am so wishy-washy, in perfume as in most things, that I currently rotate between three different scents, including Coco Mademoiselle, which I save for only very grown-up occasions. (And I hadn’t realized what a stupid thing that is until I just typed it out. Hmm.)

    My mum used to wear Rive Gauche when I was very young and I only remember how much I loved looking at the bottle in the bathroom, nothing about how it smelled.

    I want pictures of Chez Nessie and your new ‘hood! (Look how demanding I am all of a sudden.)

    Miss you and am sending oodles of wishes for happiness & great good health for you, Gareth, and the whole family. xoxo

  6. OMG! You have a spreadsheet! I am seriously impressed! Maybe I should try 52 diets in 52 weeks? I only last at one for about a week, so this way it would be time for a new one by the time I got sick of the old one.

  7. It is pricy, but maybe you can hit an airport and buy it at the duty-free store?

    I tend to like fruity colognes and light florals — Honey by Marc Jacobs has similarly silly packaging, but it smells luscious to me.

    I get little samples whenever I order from Sephora so sometimes I’ll toss in a fragrance sample or two.

  8. This is seriously impressive!

    In my uni days I used to manage a fragrance counter. I got to the point where I would walk behind people in supermarkets and know exactly what perfume they were wearing. Awkward.

    I had totally forgotten about Rive Gauche, but do remember loving the weird retro packaging.

    What a fun project!

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