I have a reader named Julie who is obsessed with Weil's Mollie Parnis. Mollie who? you may ask, as I did. Apparently, Mollie Parnis came out in 1978, and it seems to me to have orange blossom, maybe Persicol or some peach note, and perhaps vanilla, oakmoss and/or musk. (Emphasis on the "seems.")
I recently got my hands on a pristine mini of D'Orsay's Voulez-Vous perfume, a gorgeous green chypre with tobacco notes and a massive dose of civet. The Perfumed Court describes it as a green floral with some citrus, and Gaia at The Non-Blonde says that it's a "haughty floral with plenty of green, hyacinth, rose and a light aldehydic opening" that dries down to "a powdery green with a touch of vetiver." Are we all kind of in the same ballpark? Ummm, I dunno! That's the beauty and frustrating thing about perfume: it's a wily thing...
I'm encountering more and more perfumes of the "obscure" or forgotten variety that I love and want to feature in my upcoming book on 20th century perfume, Scent and Subversion. But I want to be able to say something substantial about them, and I often find that when I have some notes to hold onto, I don't feel like I'm sinking into the "impalpable effluvia" of perfume (as Italo Calvino described it). I love perfume (obviously), my nose isn't half bad at detecting notes, but I'm not a perfumer or a chemist, so my educated guesses are just that — guesses.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I've enlisted the amazing Octavian Coifan of 1000Fragrances blog fame to sample a list of fragrances I'd like to get a better grip on. (For those who don't already know, Octavian is a perfumer, perfume historian, and writer who is not only able to detect specific notes/accords — both natural and synthetic — he's able to situate the perfumes in the context and history of other perfumes. He is amazing.) I've got my own list of perfumes, but I'm curious, are there any beloved perfumes you're holding onto that you know nothing about, even after scouring the Internet and books?
Tell me what they are, send me a 1 ml sample (if you have one) that I will forward to Octavian (is that not the best name ever?), and we'll both work on figuring out what the heck is in your beloved. Thank you!