” I couldn’t see you……but I could smell you..” (EAU DU SOIR, SISLEY, 1990)





I left the house a few minutes before Duncan arrived home last night, but I as I turned the street corner, making my way to start walking the hill down to the station, he suddenly came running after me:





” I couldn’t see you…but I could smell you…..”




he said, my dark trails floating all the way from the house on the air – vintage Eau Du Soir by Sisley – the first time I have worn it.




I don’t know how he exactly knew it was me (duh you weep en masse) : maybe most other people simply just don’t wear these strong, dramatic scents at such high volume; maybe the spiced, mossy, almost angrily ambered pitchblack rose (peppery, clovey, very arrogant, yet eminently tasteful), is simply not something that anyone else in this neighbourhood would be wearing on a weekday night; perhaps that taut, rich Iberian smell (one of the very darkest of chypres) gave me away, though I think that the two key ingredients in this scent, the Egyptian jasmine absolute and seringa flowers, blended beautifully with that simmering sheen of grapefruit, mandarin orange and spruce, were something atypical for me and not entirely Neilish.





I don’t know, I just felt like wearing it, and it felt kind of gorgeous, and very right: that feeling when you are inhaling deep and feeling rather pleased with yourself for having such good taste, very much a case of I AM GOING OUT: I’m going to marry the night.








Eau Du Soir is one of the rare perfumes I have bought in contemporary format only to discover the vintage  (black opaque bottle, totally different to the other version with the gold, sculptured lid) much later, indicating that it must have been pretty acceptable in the reformulation for me to fork out my cash for it (the biggest bottle, in one of those guilty splurge purchases from the Takashimaya store in Yokohama, which I then, very soon after, dropped, and smashed, changing for a night out somewhere in a bus station near Tsujido; slipping from my rucksack before my evening artillery, change your clothes, check your hair in the mirror, switch to night mode and spray on your Sisley but then,    NO, suddenly, the sound of thick, shattered perfume bottle glass, the pungent rising of that smell, gone…splashing, gilt, effervescing jasmine patchouli: the moment when your chest stops; clenching yourself in fury and frustration and momentary despair ( I have dropped endless Caron Infinis, a rare Je Reviens, a 28ml N°19 parfum, an Arpège 14ml parfum (the day after reviewing it on here!, see my ‘Gone’ post); smashed two Chanel Pour Monsieurs, one on a train, and the worst, when I was living in Rome, a 600ml bottle of Christian Dior Fahrenheit  –   see it   ahhhhhh…slow motion slip from my and drop,            d   r     o    p   , smash to the bathroom tiles, a pond of gasoline and synthetic violets…   )






I was paralyzed ( I can still see it falling), but then, to my shame, but secret glee, marched out and just bought the same bottle again and pretended it hadn’t happened), this all meaning, I suppose, that my ruinated Soir was at least in good company.




I never got to wear it that much though, obviously,  because of this travesty of non-co-ordination, and was therefore very pleased when I came across a small precious bottle of the vintage (at the you know where), sometime late last year, for virtually nothing.





The key difference I have found in this bottle with the current version I am more familiar with, is the fullness of oakmoss which brings out a more velvet-like texture; prominent and thick in the fundaments of the scent, melded to perfection with the patchouli and jasmine/seringa, it is a sea of midnight black that lasts and lasts, almost verging on overpersistence: the top notes glossier, the florals perhaps richer, and of higher quality, probably, as well, but not, I would say, so different to make you want to throw away your current version. Or smash on a bathroom floor…..








Filed under Flowers

34 responses to “” I couldn’t see you……but I could smell you..” (EAU DU SOIR, SISLEY, 1990)

  1. ps I realize the pictures are crap; they are actually of my messy kitchen, where I had spent the day putting together music for a party we were having, but it was here that I sprayed on the scent, and here that Duncan must have found it and then gone out into the street, and I liked the sense of a true moment captured, even if it looks rubbish, and banal.

  2. ninakane1

    I love this post!

    • I was feeling a bit sloppy and truthful; the syntax isn’t even right but I can’t be bothered to edit it. Thanks, Neens. Looking forward to having you back on here. ONLY A WEEK TO GO NOW!

  3. I realize that I am also talking nonsense, because in fact he smelled me in the street, from a distance, so it didn’t start in this embarrassingly messy room, with my shirt and bag slung on the sofa, but then he would have come back after we met (and kissed ) on the street, it was really sweet actually), and then he would have come back here but anyway I am talking rubbish

    • ninakane1

      The story and the pictures work beautifully together for all those reasons. It makes perfect sense to put them together. Beautiful. Can’t wait to be back here on properly! 6 days and I’m done!!! X

  4. brie

    Agree with Nina…love everything about this post including the photos but especially the image in my mind of Duncan running after you screaming “I couldn’t see you but I could smell you!”

    and how could my ballet nutter be so clumsy? I thought I took the cake when I accidentally dumped 3/4 bottle of vintage 22 perfume down the sink once……

    • Don’t even start talking about ham-fisted clumsy….I am INCREDIBLY clumsy, as all my friends will attest.

      And yet my piano playing is pretty sensitive I would say, so there must be SOME motor skills.

      (I can just see your expression the instant you realized by the way, mouth agape as the horror set in……)

      • brie

        yes I believe we once had this discussion…you are the same sign as my middle one (the barking buddha who once presented with delayed motor skills)…but you cannot be all that bad if playing the piano is facile….

        yes….my day was ruined beyond horror!

  5. Lilybelle

    I don’t know the fragrance, but I love your spirit. I just came in from a warm and muggy evening and splashed Florida Water lavishly to cool down, now feeling better, relaxing, reading your post and just *getting* it, smiling. I think the photos are just fine. Sometimes it simply is what it is. Good night! xo

    • Thanks for your comments. The Florida Water sounds intriguing. I love a simple citrus done well ( if it is one ): if you like a dark but fresh floral chypre, Eau Du Soir is very good. Not blowsy or moody like some; straight, chic, efficacious.

      • Lilybelle

        You know, now that I think about it, I may have a sample of Eau du Soir somewhere. I’m going to see if I can unearth it. Florida Water is cheap citrus cologne with spices added, usually sold in Hispanic bodegas.

      • I LOVE cheap Spanish colognes. Last year in Barcelona I bought a bottle of Adolfo Rodriguez or Dominguez or something, but it was inexpensive, crisp, well crafted and EXACTLY what I wanted. I actually think that decent citruses are hard to find; they are usually too encumbered, rasping and try hard for me. Take me to the drugstore!

      • And check out the Soir when you are in a glamorous, but slightly ill humoured state and just want instant panther

  6. What a wonderful post! I wonder if other people in the neighborhood have also thought to themselves, “Ah, Neil must have passed by . . .”

    I cringed reading about the dropped perfume bottles. Especially the 600ml of Fahrenheit. Good gosh, I didn’t even know they made it in bottles that large. That is practically the size of a bottle of Tide Laundry Detergent! Your shoes must have been soaked.

    • Well it was back in the day when Fahrenheit was all the rage, and also in Italy where people love their scents… I doubt you can get it now, but there was something glorious about splashing from such a huge bottle. I was always, as one friend said, profumatissimo

  7. Totally off topic, but today is my debut as a guest contributor to Australian Perfume Junkies, so if anybody would be willing to take a look, I’d appreciate it. Ginza, it gave me a whole new respect for your writing skills. It can be HARD to produce a good post. I’m not satisfied at all with mine, but I had a deadline, so will hope to be more poetic next time.

    • Excellent: we were telling you that you had to do it. Will take a look in a minute.

      In my case I worry I don’t take enough time poring over my posts and editing. Sometimes I do, but often I just splurge and press publish. I like the human, instinctive messiness of it all ( though typos mortify me )

      • brie

        and I so enjoy reading your “human instinctive messiness” in all its brilliancy!

      • Thanks darl, though I feel like a bit of a tit now; might need some of those smooth pebbled marble-esque reviews for contrast.

        Or else just dive headlong into Japanese mania….

      • I worried over mine until it lost freshness, then made a typo anyway! So I am hoping to get better at that “just hit publish” stuff.

  8. Michael

    Hello, I am very intrigued by your review of ‘Eau du Soir’, and would love to ask you a question about this most special fragrance. Would you be so kind as to email me? Thank You! 🙂

  9. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    DEFINITELY the perfume for the party..

    crisp; ambiguous; fresh……. Just the ticket for a soldier…

  10. Marina

    I loved this on you. Perfect choice for the party. Xoxo

    • Thanks M

      I remember now this was one of the ones you were most definitely liking on me. I have decided to combine it with the Givenchy Gentleman, actually. Some of that on the uniform, Soir on the body..


  11. Dearest Ginza
    One resists the temptation to talk of you having a smashing time at your soiree and instead intreats you to dance your little silk sock (or stockings) off.
    ‘Marry the Night’.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  12. emmawoolf

    Gorgeous. It’s my go-to evening perfume too, I adore it. (Incidentally, and I know you are not interested in such things but I shall tell you anyway, I purchased this perfume when I was pregnant, and it was one of the very few scents that didn’t make me gag at the time, because I was consumed with all-encompassing nausea for four months, and I guess because it is, as you have mentioned before, one of the few perfumes that utterly devoid of sweetness.) I’m sure you wore it with oodles of panache. Can’t wait to hear more xx

    • I am not pregnant, to my knowledge, but I can imagine that perfectly. I have a cold and feel bunged up and el yucko, and somehow the Soir spake to me with its dark freshness. No sweetness for me either, today.

  13. Another wonderful one that I would have missed if you hadn’t reposted.

    I couldn’t see you but I could smell you. Almost gives me goosebumps. You and Duncan always restore my faith in the endurance of love and attachment.

    I had shied away from Eau du Soir because of Turin’s scathing review, but then found it (not vintage, sculpted gold cap) at the Sally Ann, a full 100ml bottle (I guess they concurred with LT), for $6.99 Canadian, so couldn’t resist. You describe it well. The juniper note is massive to my nose, almost savoury, sharp and cold. If Cialenga was non-Statement, Eau du Soir is ALL Statement. I would love to smell the vintage.

    I shouldn’t love the picture of you dropping and breaking an assortment of fragrances over the years, but it is endearing.

    I remember meeting my dear young friend Nadia in person for the first time. We’d met previously, virtually, on a fragrance swap site, realized we both lived in Vancouver, and she arranged to come to my place to share some decants. I’d decided to wander down towards the bus stop to meet her, thinking it would be 20 or 30 minutes before she arrived. On the way, I passed a tall, striking redhead. A few seconds later, I hear behind me, “Robin?” She had smelled me, a cloud of vintage Magie Noire. She just KNEW.

  14. Alex

    Just out of curiosity Neil, when did you purchase your large and then current bottle? I’m just wondering if circa 2009 batches are any good!

    • The old version was from a flea market; the large one around 2009 in actual fact I think. I still liked it; it just wasn’t AS good as the sublime black one (try and get that if you can).

      • Alex

        Tnx! I did find and purchase a purse spray, in a round bottle. It must be pretty old because it only states 3 ingredients, (alcohol, fragrance, water) definitely prior to 2005. I’m also eyeing a 2009 limited edition bottle, turquoise with red cap. If the purse spray pans out I might splurge on the other 😏
        Happy New Year!

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