I turn 44 today, and it’s a work day, so I have just managed a surreptitious grace across my wrists of Fiore Di Riso, a scent that Duncan bought for me BY MISTAKE last year from Lucky Scent ( I opened it: sprayed it: knew: looked at the label: Duncan, this is NOT Vaniglia Del Madagascar…….

(The silence was heavy: I tried to control my breathing and words but God, I was SO ungracious about it I am almost blushing but what a waste!! )

This is not my beloved Vaniglia,even  if, in truth, I am off all my vanilla scents at the moment but, to be quite contrary, it IS most definitely a vanilla. A weird, green, floral vanilla that to me smells like Queen Neroli deflowered on her wedding night, screechy verdant and discordant in a way and yet quite comforting:I wear the TINIEST amount as it is a spray parfum and lasts all day as it turns into something warm, pleasing and confectionery like, just right for the very cold but sunny biting freshness that was today’s crisp December sunshine ( it’s almost always sunny on my birthday).

Yes, today was solitary, I didn’t even mention it to my Japanese colleagues, but the weekend was full of lovely wining and dining with lovely people in lovely environments  and I feel quite blessed. I am a cranky old fuck so much of the time (so MOODY these days!) and yet I know so many excellent people, you included, that I know I must thank my lucky stars – and they were very bright tonight.

The Tokyo extravagances were heavily scented – the wintry air demanded it, as did my birthday – featuring a well matched combination I thought of Diptyque’s L’Eau de L’Eau which I have worn to death, overlayered with L’Othantique’s very appealing,  and also inexpensive, Fleurs D’Ambre, which is a floury, sensual, barbershop Shalimar that works just FINE: fresh, powdery, octaved, and kind of bizarrely masculine: the kind of rock-me simplicity I tend to go for.

I felt dressed, I felt like me, and I could snuggle into my Christmassy coat with my friends, and go with the Noel-ish flow.

The computer is currently being fixed at the giant Apple store in Ginza, and I hadn’t paid my phone bill either which is why I have been absent for a week.

I am writing this instead on my iPhone instead, which could drive a man INSANE or make him smash the tiny contraption against the kitchen wall as it reverts to all kinds of weirdnesses, autocorrects, loses what I have written as I monodigit every word and hope for the blasted best.

Hopefully the real deal will be back soon and I will be able to put up a proper post.

In the meantime I just wanted to say hello. The picture is me behind a blue fibre  lamp my Japanese teacher gave me for my birthday.

Any more Sagittarian perfume compadres out there?

N xxx


Filed under Flowers


  1. LeSputnik

    Happy Birthday Sagittarian perfume compadre! Mine is tomorrow. How about a bath perfumed with patchouli oil? and an ice cold dry sherry to go with that?

    • Go on then. You’ve pulled my aching leg, though I might stick with some a Rioja and an icy excellent cellar of champagne.

      Happy birthday for tomorrow. We Sagittaires certainly know how to indulge..

  2. Holly

    Happy Birthday, fellow Sagittarian!

    • When is yours and what are you wearing?

      • Holly

        Funny you should ask! It was November 28th, and I celebrated at a Japanese restaurant frequented by … Japanese people. I wore Silences, which I thought fitting for the occasion. I was sabotaged at the end by the dreaded birthday dessert with candles, so I was happy that I could cringe in my corner and not create further attention as “oh, it’s the woman who reeks of perfume!”

  3. Cotton Red

    Happy Birthday, Neil; wishing you lovely years ahead plenty of days of being happily fumed rather than crankily fuming- ha!

  4. Happy Birthday, Neil! I am very impressed that you managed all that on your phone!

  5. Wishing you the happiest of Happy Birthdays Neil.

    I am the most un-Aries like Aries in the world.

    Hope you it’s a great year ahead for you and Duncan. Fingers crossed you come back to the UK at some point.

  6. cookie queen

    I too am Sagittarian. Mine was last week. I simply doubled my Vero Profumo intake and tried very vintage Djedi for the first time. Made 500 cookies. and doubled the vanilla. All in all a good day. Happy Birthday Honey!!

  7. kapka

    Hello and happy Birthday. Mine is next week. Amber Narguil with added vetiver and (hold on) some cade oil for outdoorish atmosphere.

  8. Renee Stout

    Happy Birthday to you!!! And thanks again for supplying us with such lovely, intriguing and thought provoking reviews throughout the year.

  9. I am sure you smell fabulous!

  10. Happiest of Happy birthdays to you Neil. Coincidentally, I just finished putting together your package and it will be posted this Thursday. Just to give you a wee bit of excitement, there is a sample of Guerlain Djedi in there for you, along with a couple of other lesser known Guerlains. Not to mention many other obscure and lovely little yummies, plus a few “interesting” samples I acquired for your perusal.
    Keep up the celebrating all week long and do let us know all the fun you are having.
    Hope the computer will be home again soon, I phones are tricky.

  11. The happiest of birthdays to you, Neil! Mine is tomorrow and I shall verily upend my bottle of vintage Bal a Versailles over my ageing head.

  12. Happy Birthday Neil! Forty-four is a very fine age to be: I highly recommend it.

    • Aesthetically I definitely agree in terms of the number itself, though I personally feel as if I have recently passed my peak this year: I feel a bit over the hill. I hope you are still going strong yourself my fine man. X

  13. Happy birthday, you lovely man, you!

    I am a fellow Sagittarian perfume nut.

    In a week, I will be *shudder* 35. Which, of course, I am showing every sign of turning. Asking myself all those “35-like” questions. Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Shouldn’t I really stop drinking so much? etc. Chances are slim to none that those will get answered soon- but I will certainly continue to be a perfume nut. 🙂

    • How delightful that you are also a Sagittarian . We must meet someday. And happy coming birthday.

      I am with you: I don’t think self control and temperance are generally our strong points but then the philosophical need an outlet, and wine is the most delectable portal to the beyond and the internal. External, implacable ‘reality’ is only bearable for me in limited doses. I need an escape.

      If it’s any consolation, I think that for me in any case it is better post 40. An easier acceptance, to some extent, of the self.

  14. Happy birthday! I’m also a Sagittarian perfume nut and two of my dear friends recently got me Diptyque’s Do Son as an early birthday/Christmas present. I got them obsessed with your blog not too long ago as well.

    I helped my mom clean out some things she had in storage today too, and she let me have what I found of an old perfume stash of hers: Monyette Paris, Annick Goutal’s Petite Cherie, Agraria’s Bitter Orange, Guerlain’s Champs-Elysees, and Fresh’s Turkish Rose (no idea when they made that one…I found some skincare products in the same box from 2003). Feeling very lucky to have those unexpected gifts!

  15. Nocturnes

    Happy Birthday, darling Neil!

  16. empliau

    Dear Neil – Happy birthday from Rhode Island, where it is still December 3rd. I am a Gemini, although my first love was a Sagittarius, so I have a lingering fondness for your cohort. I hope you settle well into your new year. I have very fond memories of my 44th, now alas long ago. Many thanks for your writing, which makes me smile. I experience Japan and exotic fragrance vicariously through your blog – and I love it.

  17. Mimi G

    Hello Neil. long time lurker on your blog & Basenotes Dependent gone solo !
    We share exactly the same birth date down to the year and of course age.
    Happy birthday to us- 44 years !!
    Love Mimi G

  18. Mimi G

    and… Maria Callas , mind you ! lol

  19. I’m late-late-late but still – happy birthday!
    I don’t know what’s a retirement age in Japan, but if you look at it from that point, you’re still very young 😉

    (BTW, you do know that you can easily turn off the Auto-Correct, don’t you? Settings=>General=>Keyboard)

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