Today was a sick day, the Jiboulee weather in Paris got the best of me (unequipped Canadian who expects anywhere else other than Canada to have better weather – I packed only summer clothes pretty much). I got up very late after trying to sleep off a head-cold or an upcoming flu and went to meet Denyse near the Palais Royal. We sat at a café for a while talking mostly about the restrictions, regulations and legislation issues – a topic that one cannot get away from especially when in Europe*.
Than strolled through the Jardin de Palais Royal to Serge Lutens. Being a weekend, the shop was buzzing with officially dressed sales clerks and customers. By serendipity we met Thierry – a Parisian perfume connoisseur who shocked me by telling me everything about my latest Paris travel post. I was not expecting to meet a SmellyBlog reader in Paris so that was a wonderful surprise!
I tried too many Serge Lutens exclusives all at once: on my left writs Tubereuse Criminelle again, and on the upper side of that hand Sarasin. On my right wrist I tried and on top of the right hand Mandarine Mandarin, which starts like candied mandarin peel but ends up more like curry.
We than proceeded towards Rue St. Honore, to visit IUNX and Colette. Colette was quite crowded so we went straight to Hotel Costes, where Olivia Giacobetti’s IUNX line is being gradually re-introduced. The tiny shop is a dark modern catacomb of sorts, made of tinted glass and dark furniture. Red bottles of the hotel’s signature scent and candles are lined up and on the very left wall large monoclins emit the 5 scents and one is instructed by a strict sales clerk to inhale the scents in this particular order, from left to right:
Cologne Blanc, Eau Sento No. 2, l’Ether, l’Ether (for the second time), and than Splash Forte (the one that smells like dessert).
My immediate favourite was l’Ether, which smells mostly of geranium, myrrh and musk. I would have been happy to buy a bottle on the spot, but they come in a towering 1/2meter tall bottles or so, that seem impossible to operate. The candle collection is overwhelmingly beautiful albeit most of the smells reminded me of some of the outstandingly gorgeous Diptyque candles. I hope they will bring out again the Guimauve scent (marshmallow with strawberry and orange flower water) so this might be something to look forward to in a future Paris visit.
It was already the end of the day and shops gradually started to shut down. I was able to sneak into Penhaligon’s before closing even though I wasn’t planning on it – I just stumbled upon it. But unfortuantley I got to Colette just minutes after closing time (I really was hoping to get me some Kyoto and sniff other Comme des Garcons as well as Le Labo’s line which aside from Vetiver 46 I’m completely unfamiliar with) and also missed the big Annick Goutal on 14 Rue Castilligone (which was ok because I already smelled what I wanted to in St. Germain) - not to mention was not for the life of me even able to spot any clues as to the whereabouts of JAR. I will just have to go to Paris again and not get sick this time!
* And just as an aside: Since I had many opportunities to discuss this in Grasse with working professionals, I am coming back to my original conclusion that the regulations are entirely se to eliminate any sort of competition for the big aromachemical houses: this is a double-sided sword that is set to a) make it extremely difficult for small, independent companies to survive thanks to a complex system of beaurocracy that is so labour intense it is only possible for large companies to comply with, having the means to develop elaborate software and have keep on their payroll a legistlation department and b) reduce if not eliminate completely (eventually) the production of natural raw materials. And even though synthetics are also becoming restricted, banned and so on this is not really a problem since it only creates more work for the chemical companies to develop new molecules to replace them.