One Thousand Scents

Thursday, August 11, 2011

'Til You Drop

Tomorrow, as it happens, is my birthday. Today, as it happens, Jim had to go to Dartmouth to teach a seminar, so I went along to keep him company during the drive (about two and a half hours each way). At nineish, Jim dropped me off at the Mic Mac Mall and headed to his gig. I wasn't going to buy myself any birthday presents, but I'm sure you can guess what happened when I was set loose in a mall with a credit card and a couple of hours on my hands: I spent hardly anything, really, and came away with a whole bunch of stuff.

First stop was The Bay, because they carry the Mugler scents and I was wondering if they might perchance have A*Men Pure Havane, which I had not had the opportunity to smell. I own Pure Coffee and Pure Malt: I wasn't seriously considering buying the third one, but if it was tobacco-heavy as I thought it could be, it might have been able to seduce me. They didn't have it, so I snagged a few samples (nothing really compelling) and ducked out.

At some point after that — it's kind of a blur — was Lush, which, I had heard, had an interesting line of scents called Gorilla. I usually steer well clear of Lush, because they emit a nearly visible cloud of stink: Jim wonders how you could possibly focus on smelling a fragrance in there when there are so many competing aromas battling it out in your nostrils, like trying to hear a particular song when forty people are singing different ones at the same time, and he's got a point. I didn't really try very hard to smell anything once I had discovered that there was boxed set of eight two-mL vials of the current Gorilla scents (the seven you see above plus Breath of God), so I got that ($19.95) and got out. You can't tell from the picture, but the vials, or rather their closures, are most clever: the cap comes off to reveal an insert with five tiny, tiny pinpricks in it which dispense just a film of the liquid inside, the perfect dose. I tried on some Vanillary once I was safely outside and it is just my thing: rich, luscious vanilla with a sharp spike of jasmine.

After some to-ing and fro-ing which is not relevant to the topic at hand, I made for the bus stop to head into Halifax but was distracted by a Winners, which is Canada's version of T.J. Maxx if you're American, T.K. Maxx if you're British, and I don't know what if you live anywhere else. They usually have fragrances, and I'm not usually that interested in them, because we're talking mostly celebrity stenches and other mass-market dreck (although the one near my workplace did have several of the D&G tarot series and a whole bunch of Laliques, including Encre Noir, none of which was priced low enough to tempt me.) This one had two things in the clearance section that piqued my interest, though. The first was a 100-mL bottle of Black Pearls by Elizabeth Taylor

for $11, which I remembered reading about a couple of months ago on Now Smell This; it wouldn't seem like my kind of thing except that the review made much of its heavy dose of leather. But I put the box down and moved on to something I had never seen before, two scents from a line called Odori.

(In order those are Leather, Lavender, Tobacco, Saffron, Iris, and The Odours, which is not really a very good name for a scent; even Italian can't mask that.) They seemed kind of cheaply boxed, and the unpromisingly titled Gli Odori did nothing to attract me, but the other was Tabacco,

and hadn't I just been looking for a tobacco scent not an hour before? One of the boxes was open — it really was — and so I took out the bottle, a heavy glass thing in what appeared to be a hand-made wooden frame. I gave it a spritz into the air and it was really, really nice, dark and luscious without being heavy or sweet. I don't yet know how it will smell on skin, but in the air it's pretty spectacular.

And then you know what I did? I said to myself, "I don't need any more scents, and I'm not buying this," and I walked away.

And then I said, "But you know, it's only $12*, and it's really nice, and my birthday is tomorrow," so I turned around and walked back and picked it up. And then I figured, hey, if I'm going through the checkout, I might as well get the Black Pearls as well, so I picked that up, too.

So: ten new scents, $42.95 plus tax. Can't beat that.

And in Halifax I went to Biscuit General Store but they didn't have anything that interested me (they stock some Tokyo Milk, I think, and also L'Aromarine and a few other lines, not that you can tell from their unfortunately useless website), so I went to Mills Brothers, which when I first lived in Halifax in the eighties was THE place to buy scents, and it's turned into just a colossal disappointment. They have a very few L'Artisan scents, none of the new ones as far as I can tell, which means it's probably old stock that just keeps hanging around, and they have L'Occitane and not really anything else that you can't get most other places.

By that time, Jim was done with his seminar and heading into Halifax for lunch with me, so that was the end of my sniffing and shopping for the day.

And here is the punchline. When I got home I looked up Odori Tabacco online to see what I could find out about it, and the first link to come up was Luckyscent, whom I trust, so I went there: they sell it, for TWO HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS.

So listen to me and listen closely: if you live in Halifax or Dartmouth or anywhere within driving distance and you like tobacco scents, go to that mall and go to that store and buy yourself one of the three remaining bottles of this stuff. DO IT.

* The original price sticker says that it sold elsewhere at $225 but was available at Winners for $59.99. Then there are five markdown stickers layered one on top of the other, and they're called stickers because they are SUPER sticky and tore apart into all kinds of pieces as I did my best to pry them apart to sate your curiosity, but nearly as I can tell they read $51, $36, $25, $20, and finally $12.



  • Mad applause for your bargain shopping. Further mad applause because my birthday is tomorrow, too.

    By Blogger StyleSpy, at 10:36 AM  

  • Winners rocks doesn't it? I was in a Toronto Winners on Wednesday and picked up a bottle of Floris Snow Rose for $12.99. I'd never tried it, but what the hell, I knew it was a limited release for a quality perfume house, is now discontinued, and it was originally about $70CAN.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:54 AM  

  • Yes, what a bargain! Ok now I *have* to go to Winners! I never go! And there's a Lush close to my house, it's tempting...

    By Blogger Alnysie, at 2:31 PM  

  • Glad to see someone I like on the receiving end of shopping karma. I just did an unintentional mitzvah: the nonreturnable Chanel pumps from Hautelook, which were *just* too small for my wife's feet, went to the local consignment place.

    Which sold them for $8. I got half.

    Also: there's a tobacco A*Men Pure? Holy crap, I need to go hit my local dealer!

    By Blogger D.J., at 10:07 PM  

  • StyleSpy: Happy (belated) birthday to you.

    Kjanicki: I am ashamed to admit that at that price, I, too, bought a bottle of Floris Snow Rose, because I read about it and it seemed interesting, and it is.

    Alnysie: Yes, you have to go to Winners. Nine times out of ten you will find nothing of value, but that tenth visit....

    D.J.: The tobacco A*Men was a limited edition and is discontinued: even the website doesn't have it, and I can't find a single source for it online. The Perfumed Court does have samples, $5.99 for 1 mL, but I personally wouldn't get a sample knowing that if I loved it I couldn't have any more of it.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 6:44 AM  

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