Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Open Letter (Vamp à NY)

Grain de Musc blogger CarmenCanada, known on the street (and as a book author) as Denyse Beaulieu, writes beautiful reviews, conducts interesting interviews, and muses quite thoughtfully, all on the subject of perfume.  Recently, she also was the conduit for a very generous give-away of many samples of the new Honoré des Près Vamp à NY.  I was one of the lucky winners of a sample.

Things you should know about the scent and the line, if you don't already:

  1. Honoré des Près scents are a "natural" line, using eco-cert organic ingredients.
  2. Olivia Giacobetti is the perfumeur.  
  3. Vamp à NY is a tuberose centered perfume.
Things you need to know about me, if you don't already:
  1. I love some naturals, and find others to be more aromatherapy-like.  I spent an important phase of my life as a fan and practitioner of aromatherapy, and still keep essential oils to make potions.  The thing is, I read perfume generally as one thing, aromatherapy blends as another.  There are things to anoint yourself for purposes of being scented that occasionally are both, but...
  2. In general, tuberose is one big honker as far as I am concerned.  As in, the blast from an air horn on an old-time automobile that warns the horses it is coming through.  There are times when I find the love, but usually, it strangle-slaps me.  I know, I know; man-candy, seduction, feminine wiles. Not for me.  

Denyse is gathering feedback and responses from the recipients.  Following the rules of her game, because I blog, I offer my thoughts in this letter.

23 June 2010
Dear Denyse,

I am still playing with Vamp.  Sometimes, Vamp plays with me.  Overall, I need to make clear my tentative relationship with tuberose, so that my focus on other aspects of the perfume are clearly coming from my respect for it, even if I am not taking to my fainting couch every time I try it.  

Because Vamp is worthy of respect.  It is an impressively "dense" perfume, which has something going on in it that suggests the perfumer is not simply relying on the gas cloud powerhouse of tuberose for effect.  It lasts.  It smells good.  It is rather intelligent for something that could rely on simply slipping you a Mickey.  Given that Ms. Giacobetti had to significantly limit her palette in the composition of this scent, this is a double achievement, no?  On the other hand, perhaps we should not focus on that too much; any artist is supposed to create within the constraints of materials, framework, and time.

It's what they do with that which determines how talented they are.

I think Ms. Giacobetti is talented.  I definitely will now seek out the other scents in the line, because I'm pretty sure there is going to be one there that does inspire me to purchase.  I might have a slight inclination in that direction, given a) the fact that an O.Giacobetti fragrance is among my few modern full price full bottle purchases, and b) I like the idea of a successful "naturals" line.  When I think of what people like Liz Zorn and Ayala Sender have already accomplished in that realm, I find it ripe for exploiting.  (I know there are other folks out there doing the same...Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, for example, is one I need to experience more of.) 

Just for yucks, here are some of my notes from my playdates with Vamp:

12 June 2010
Receive sample.  Know immediately what it is.  Open package and spritz before remembering I don’t have the luxury of experiencing this however I damn well please, but that Denyse wants feedback.  So I fire up the laptop and start jotting down notes.  Already, my brain has screamed “girl scent! girl scent!” three times.  (This is funny, given the recent exploration of gender and scent on Denyse’s blog, and my avowal that I dislike gender-izing scent.  I write that sentence, huff, and my left and right cortices are both wagging back and forth like a tsk-ing aunt.  “Girl scent,” they say.  Sheesh.)
I’ve got to go out with the girls tonight.  Seriously, this is not for them.  “Girl scent” does not mean wear it for the girls.  Which is not to say that some girly girls don’t wear girl scents for heading out with the girls.  But I have no desire to in any way present myself as man-bait.  Not tonight.  I’m gonna be yakking, eating, and maybe playing some bocce.  I don’t want to be wafting some heady sort of cloud.
OTOH, >huffs< this is reminding me a lot of Songes.  A LOT.  If I weren’t so busy writing notes like a good girl, and deciding if I’m going to scrub this before I head out, I’d go upstairs and pull out my Songes and fire it on the other arm.  Because though I’m not generally a heady white floral kinda person, Songes has been a love from early in my perfume descent, and merited a full bottle when I didn’t yet have a full concept of just how far my tastes might change/evolve.  ‘Sokay, though; I’m still more than happy to have it.  But if I spray it on the other arm, I’ll have two loaded guns, and that’s probably even more than my own sensibilities can handle.
I think I’ll be ordering a gin and tonic.  I’m going to need something of a different order on my palate.
15 June 2010
I am a sample tray again.  Vamp on one spot, vintage Miss Dior another.  Another tube somewhere else.  Run an errand with spouse.  He says “you smell good.”  Aha!  Is it the man candy?
I think I know which one he is smelling.  But I explain I am wearing more than one something.  He is used to this.  He asks where they are.  I offer them up, with no further explanation.
And I get a vote of support for continuing my marriage:  He is fond of the vintage Miss Dior.

I want to thank you, and Mr. Honoré des Près, for this opportunity to experience Vamp.  I want to thank Vamp for unintentionally strengthening my marriage vows.  I especially want to note how wonderful it is to have a sort of round-up on the experience; I've averted my gaze from the other commentaries until I was done posting, but shall now go see what others have found in Vamp.

And I'll play with it a few more times, to see if there isn't perhaps an ideal circumstance that would allow us to not only play nicely together, but to have an all out romp.


See Denyse's review, with commenters weighing in as well as links to other bloggers discussing Vamp à NY, at Grain de Musc.


March said...

Hahaha!!! And he loves the vintage Miss Dior!!! Great punchline.

A couple folks on the Posse mentioned Songes (which I didn't like and can't remember why! Aquatic? I should retry it...) so it didn't smell like root beer and buttered popcorn to you?

ScentScelf said...

Ack! No, thankfully no root beer and buttered popcorn. Alas, no trip to Angkor Wat, either. (As Marina mentions she got.)

Songes is not aquatic. It is dense and a little raspy and all about a cloud of white flower. Like Vamp, it continues to be about that thick hovering for much of its life on my skin. Unlike Vamp, I have a full bottle of it. I think because it came first, it earned my love. But if Vamp had been there, at that place, that time...I might have put a different charm on my bracelet.

Yeah, thankfully DH has scent preferences that more often than not coincide with mine. In fact, it is because of him that I have one or more of my (a-hem) "dusky" scents... {cue Jim Morrison singing about his dusky jewels...or maybe better yet, a cover version by Chrissy Hynde or Marianne Faithfull?}

ScentScelf said...

Whoops, *Marla.* Like Marla got over at PST.

Vanessa said...

Loved your musings on girly scents and going out with the girls!

I have tried Bonte's Bloom and Nu Green and that is it from this line. I seem to recall that they were both all right (one floral, one green - memory quite fuzzy now) but the SA didn't see fit to introduce me to this vampy number. I find Songes too indolic and a disconcerting colour, so the auspices are not good... You are a diligent reporter though, so all credit to you for that. I might have sprayed it on paper, gone "Werr" and chucked it away.

ScentScelf said...

Flittersniffer! Welcome back.

Yeah, the girls. :) As for Songes...ha! Yup, that is an, erm, odd color. And it is dense. Why I should go for it and not the Vamp remains to be sorted out.

But I've done enough sorting for now. Actually left posting that with a hit of Carnal Flower on my left arm, and a migraine looming in the background. I just can't toy with tube, it seems. Due diligence shall take a back seat for a while.

Bring on the cologne and the chypres!