Expanding on my recent tweets about perfume

My Twitter page was getting kinda full of obsessing about perfume today, so I decided to come fill up my blog instead :).

So, you know, I’ve been enamored with perfume for ever.  I always wanted to have a “nice” bottle of perfume when I was in high school, because I never was into the Bath and Body Works fruity-watery body spray thing.  (My sister could open her own B&BW store, though, with all the body sprays she owns!)  There ARE a few scents at B&BW that I like, but they’re usually the ones that get discontinued…it figures :).


My first foray into “real” perfume was with a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy that I wanted for Christmas in 2007.  I did like it a lot, but I mainly chose it because I figured a lot of other people would like it.  It was kind of a safe bet for me to choose it, I guess.  Very soon after that, I was googling things to do with H.P. Lovecraft one day and came upon Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.  Being the obsessed HPL fan that I was (and am!), I picked out six samples: Al Azif, The Music of Erich Zann (they spell it “Zahn”), Arkham, Nyarlathotep, Miskatonic University, and Shub-Niggurath.  I was really excited about Arkham, but I thought it was a little too masculine the second time I tested it.  Al Azif, though, I loved.  It’s an incense scent that doesn’t smell head shop-y, and for me it’s a comfort scent.  Miskatonic University–I loved the old book and polished oak notes underneath the coffee.  Definitely see why it’s a best-seller.  Nyarlathotep was one of the first scents to get me interested fragrance as a concept.  It DID smell dark and bright at the same time.  Often, I associate a scent with a color, and Nyarlathotep seems like a charcoal black and a pale yellow scent to me.  Even though it wasn’t conventionally feminine or “pretty”, I liked it.  Rather, I was fascinated with it, with trying to figure it out.  Shub-Niggurath was a bit too gingery for me, but again I could see why a lot of BPAL fans like it.  (Now that it’s aged for 2+ years, it smells rounder, more buttery…better!)

But the biggest shock of them all was The Music of Erich Zann.  The first time I smelled it, I was completely puzzled and a bit repelled.  I thought it was very strange and couldn’t see anyone wearing it as actual perfume.  But, still, I was fascinated with figuring out the components of the scent, and so I wore it several times, especially when reading Lovecraft or listening to an audiobook of “The Music of Erich Zann”.  (Check out the link! I’m a fan of the work of the people at Voices in the Dark.  They’ve even got audio excerpts of the Kalevala!)

(The Music of Erich Zann has since been discontinued.  After sampling more than 150 BPAL scents, I realized that Erich Zann is nowhere near their strangest perfume.  I like it enough now that I bought a bottle off eBay a few months ago.)

After that, I started googling perfume reviews, and I think that’s how I got into niche perfumery.  The blog Now Smell This was a huge source of information for me and reeeally helped me navigate the huge world of perfume to pick out some samples.  Other blogs like Perfume Posse and Perfume-Smellin’ Things were also a great help to a newbie like me.  (I’m still a big fan of all three sites…they’re the main way I keep up with new perfume and I trust all three of them to give me good advice when I’m putting together a sample order.)  I don’t remember all the details of my first foray into niche scents, but I do remember that I was reluctant to make my first order because it was a little bit more expensive of a pastime than I was able to afford at the time.  When I found fishbone96’s decant site, she was closing up shop and had a lot of discounted items for sale.  I made probably four orders from her over as many months, and got a bit of an education on perfume as a result.

Now that I can afford my interest in perfume, I’ve expanded my collection a bit.  I’ve currently got a large wishlist on The Perfumed Court that I plan to order in the near future.  I made an order from them recently, and that order is the inspiration for this blog post.

The fragrance in my last order that captivated me immediately and completely was Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur.  From the first moment, I totally associated the scent with its inspiration, the circus.  It’s animalic and smells like well-worn leather, with tonka adding a vanillic sweetness.  To me, it’s a comforting scent…but it’s absolutely sexy.  My only concern (and it’s not as big of a concern as it once was) is that other people will think I smell like I rolled around with the circus animals, like I need to bathe, or something like that.  I think it stays somewhat close to the skin, though, so it hopefully doesn’t smell like I’m walking around wafting the smell of an animal in heat.  I love skanky, musky scents–as long as they’re done right.  Muscs Koublai Khan is one of my biggest perfume loves and has been ever since I first tested it.  Recently, Musc Ravageur was in the package with Dzing, but I haven’t tested it enough times to figure out what I think of it.  My second bottle of perfume was Coco Mademoiselle…and while it isn’t musky or anything, I love the way it makes my skin smell after drying down.  I’m a huge fan of skin scents, and that’s probably why I fell in love with Dzing immediately.

So, I’ve had Dzing for probably six days or so, and I’m planning to buy a bottle as soon as I can.  I’m also looking to get Muscs Koublai Khan while it’s still in the export line.  There goes $280 (plus S&H)!  I don’t mind, though.  I rarely think about dropping $100-200 on a bunch of random junk that I neither want nor need, but for some reason I have a hard time convincing myself to buy things that I actually want.  I waited years and years to get an iPod, and it was a Christmas present.  I even bought a bottle of Black Cashmere and returned it because I couldn’t justify randomly spending $50.  (But you’d know that if you read my old blog posts :D.)

I finally bought a decant of Jaisalmer, also.  It seems to be the bloggers’ least favorite scent in the Comme des Garcons Incense line, but it’s my #1 favorite.  (I can’t be too unfair to Kyoto and Zagorsk, though; I’ve only had them for the same six days as Dzing, and I’ve only tested them once each.)

So, there’s the story of my interest in perfume.  I don’t want to call it a “hobby”, because there’s a little more to it than that.  I had a few more things to say, but I don’t remember them at the moment, so I’ll save them for another day, okay?


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