This & That: Valentine Shopping, Snow, Guerlain L’Instant Iris Millesime, Fath Chasuble

Firstly, I have to share my excitement about the Valentine’s Day present I picked out for my husband. I wanted to get him something different, something new: a gift he’d never received before. He is in for the surprise of his life this year.

On February 14th, I’m going to give him The Clap!

However, if gonorrhea isn’t really your cup of tea but you’d still like to surprise that someone special in your life, nothing would bring a bigger smile to your Valentine’s face than discovering you shared a little syphilis with them. It’s so cuddly!

You give it with the confident knowledge that from now on, whenever they think of syphilis they’ll think of you…

… and Valentine’s Day. Or, as I like to call it,


Moving along, then.

Snow, glorious snow. It’s both wonderful and disturbing in its quantity this year. The most recent rash of snowstorms dumped enough for us to really have some fun it it.

Fred plotting his urine-fueled revengeNot Fred, though. Oh no.

When he was younger, you couldn’t keep him out of the stuff. The last time we got great fluffy piles of it like this, he was only about 1 1/2 years old. He romped and frolicked in it with gleeful abandon. It took me, my parents, my sister and a neighbor kid to finally corral and contain him, and jerk him back indoors. (Yes, five of us. That’s one human to every 2 pounds of renegade dachshund.)

Now he’s old and cranky, and he was mightily pissed off at me for letting his yard become a crystalized wasteland. He did some of his, uh, business outside (and snorting indignantly about it the whole time) then ran mere inches back inside the door to piddle on the carpet. Bladder of RAGE!

It’s said* that Hell hath no furry like a wiener dog scorned.

He immedietly padded over to the cupboard for a cookie since he knew he deservered one. For his tribulations, you understand. A dog will forgive a great many things, but never, under any circumstance, should you be absolved of the sin for making him cold and wet. Chop off his balls, and he’ll gratefully curl into your lap on the way home from the vet. But cold plus wet? Forget about it. He’ll hate you until the spring thaw.
Onto actual perfume topics. Finally, right?

In this unusual cold, I’ve been wearing L’Instant Eau de Noel Iris Millesime for the past couple days.

The last time I tried L’Instant Noel was during more temperate temperatures, and it didn’t really work as well on me then. The base, specifically the vanillic element, encroached too deeply into the balance in the warmer weather. I liked it, just not enough to commit to a full bottle. Now that it’s this freaking cold, I can see why folks snapped it up like so many imaginary hotcakes.


The cool earthy tones of orris (iris) seem to reflect against the white winter chill well. Orbiting the featured orris are satellites of white floral notes that include jasmine, ylang, and magnolia. The base acts rather like a jewelry setting: It’s lovely and decorative, but ultimately shows off the sparkle of the showcase notes. Ambery wood and vanilla provide a steady static background for these notes to best shimmer and glow.

L’Instant smells of secret invisible winter blooms. The spring appears less distant; One only needs a spritz to figuratively coax hibernating iris bulbs to break through the frozen earth and remind oneself that the trees are only napping.

The staying power is ridiculously good on my skin. I share a single spritz between wrists and it lasts pretty much all day. However, most fragrances with a tangible vanilla note tend to stick like glue on me, so if anyone’s experience is otherwise, do share please.

(My other standby snow perfume, apparently, is Comme des Garcon Man 2, which positively sings more and more brilliantly the colder it gets. What an underrated, unusual gem it is on the “masculine” side of the fragrance counter.)

Jacques Fath ChasubleI have also been trying Jacques Fath’s Chasuble off and on for the past couple months. Or so. It took over six months to work up the nerve to crack open the still sealed bottle I found. Why would anyone have such goofy pangs of anxiety over than? Well, I’d been longing to try it for ages, and once I finally had it I was intimidated. What if I never find another bottle again? What if it was ruined? What if it was brilliant?

Eeek! Opening it up! Scary!I’m both thrilled and sad to say that it is not ruined, and it is indeed brilliant.

I kept finding new little turns to it to appreciate, and can’t figure out what to say about it that will fully explain it. So, I’ll do what I always do, and empty out the cluttered junk drawer that is my brain. (There’s a lot of stuff in a junk drawer, but 99% of it isn’t really needed for anything in particular.)

I peg Chasuble as a wonderfully rich incense fragrance. On the top is a brief aromatic balsamic flash of mentholic pine that only slowly dims as the heat of skin warms the composition. The incense at its very core displays as unlit resin turned liquid over the middle period of wear. A peachy thread also runs through the heart, though it doesn’t disturb the incense. Rather, it filters in a brightly colored light across it. The peachy allusions quietly stream down as it dries, until it’s transmogrified into a different fruit altogether, reminding me of a cedar-plank baked yellow apple. The fruity element here is delicately laced into the other notes. On the drydown, rich woody and ambery vanillic notes emerge, and the incense finally feels lit, taking a slightly smokey turn. Chasuble wears as if in deliberate and meaningful ceremony.

It is a heady, swoon-worthy oriental fragrance. And it is as close to a personal Holy Grail perfume as I’ve ever gotten thus far. Which seems fitting. A chasuble, of course, is the vestament a priest or holy man wears during religious services. Being a rather irreligious person myself, Chasuble strikes me as a perfume nut’s ideal substitution for sanctity, when worshipping at the alter of fragrant revelation.

*I said it. Just now. Therefore, it is said, right?

7 Responses to “This & That: Valentine Shopping, Snow, Guerlain L’Instant Iris Millesime, Fath Chasuble”

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    Mary Alice

    Said this on January 20th, 2007 at 3:59pm:

    I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying your site. The Fath article was just what I needed to read now!
    As a perfumnista in arms, this is truly a treat.

    I was wondering if you have heard anything on the “new” (oh, I hate that word when it comes to fragrance) rendering of “L’Interdit” (Givenchy). I used to wear “Le De” but that , alas, is as rare as hen’s teeth. It’s the perfume in the mailbox Holly Golightly so snazzily spritzes on while dressed.

    Thank you for any info and keep up the writing.

    As for VD giftees, I’d certainly like to give my ex-husband some oleander tea. But I digress.

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    Said this on January 20th, 2007 at 5:47pm:

    Mary Alice - Thanks :) Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy go hand in hand, really. So much so that it seems pretty hard to think of one without the other, isn’t it? Have you seen those Gap ads with her? It’s a clever commercial, but I find myself appalled, because Audrey is Givenchy, and none other. Le De is abyssmally hard to find, considering how ubiquiously their newer, lesser fragrances can be spotted at the counters. Sigh. Givenchy no longer has a sense of history it seems. Perhaps things will change if the other big houses like Guerlain and Lancome find a good degree of success at relaunching their oldies but goodies to the public. However, I won’t hold my breath. I’m not really sure what to say about their L’Inderdit, though. I’m not sure what’s up with that, I’m afraid. Are you a member of the Perfume of Life boards (http://perfumeoflife.org/) ? The community there is so helpful and knowledgable, and I am sure some of the folks there would be willing to share some opinions on various reformulations with you!

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    Said this on January 21st, 2007 at 10:32am:

    What a great post! It’s always a treat to read Scentzilla, but especially with lines like this:

    “It’s said* that Hell hath no furry like a wiener dog scorned.”

    I was giggling so much that my husband was calling to me from the other room to find out what was so funny :)

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    Mary Alice

    Said this on January 21st, 2007 at 1:46pm:

    Did you know that Perfume of Life site is connected to Irma Shorell - they make repros of discontinued perfumes.

    I’ve not tried any of their stuff yet, but may.

    I hope Fred has remembered where his little dog socks are!

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    Said this on January 21st, 2007 at 3:45pm:

    Marissa - thank you! My poor little stinky guy is a very sweet dog, but a vengeful one ;P Glad to have made you laugh - you must have a dog or a cat, too?

    Mary Alice - we all have Jeffrey Dame to thank for the existance of the lovely POL community, he’s really created a wondeful little oasis of conversation. Wish I had time these days to pop in there a bit more often :(

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    Said this on January 22nd, 2007 at 7:09am:

    K — I have questions. 1) have you done a post on Fath de Fath? I can’t find it. 2) How beautiful are you!?!? that is you, right? What color lipstick is that? 3) you don’t think he’s going to pee OUTSIDE in that stuff, do you? I have a sub-standard poodle with the same issue.

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    Said this on January 27th, 2007 at 2:38pm:

    March - 1.) Sort of? I only wrote up the old cologne version of FdF, since at the time I didn’t have the parfum version of the old stuff. I haven’t gotten around to the reformulated 90s one yet. 2.) Eh, not so much, but thanks. It’s the last back up tube of my beloved Versace red lippie. I am heartbroken that Versace stopped their Beaute line, and took away my favorite lipstick with it. Sigh. 3.) Sadly, yes, I was a fool to think he’d just suck it up and behave despite the cold. What’s a sub-standard poodle? Is that a breed definition or a commentary on your dog’s unwillingness to pee in the snow, too?

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