WHY DO I WEAR MITSOUKO TO BED?

Mitsouko ad 1974 Guerlain perfumeshrine.com

Mitsouko is not my favourite perfume. It is not even my favourite Guerlain.

But there is a I4ml vintage parfum by my bed, like the bottle in this picture, and I keep finding that I unstopper that stopper, budged though it is in that bottle, and, recently, keep wearing it while I sleep.

It is a doctored edition, I will confess (and I know that that is outrageous.)

There are several different vintage parfums in there: a touch of parfum de toilette, one drop of ylang ylang oil cause you know  I do that, and a significant amount of added bergamot.

But last night I got it to exactly how I want it.

Remixed her up a treat, to the proportions that I think I remember.

Yes, she can be witchy, damp and sour-tempered; yes she can be musty.

But when you get that golden ray effect, that Chinese empress pillow of velvet, the rueful, gustatory glow of the citrus and the mosses, then I suppose it makes sense why this is currently my night-time companion.

Duncan is always asleep. The cat is in the other room at the moment.

This glides me quite nicely to the next zone.

23 Comments

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23 responses to “WHY DO I WEAR MITSOUKO TO BED?

  1. ninakane1

    I love this. The witchy crone leading you to a forest space of sleep and dreams. Bien dormi.

    • Actually I poured that miserable-ish extrait we were comparing with L’Heure Bleue when you were here into my cauldron of more mellow and bergamotted Mitsoukos and voila – she was absorbed in the benevolent mix and smells lovely. She has been absolved and converted. Judging from your reaction to Mystere, though, when I made you smell it, I am sensing that you are not into the more mossy, earthy pungent types of scents. Vetiver and patchouli, yes, of course, which are more pure, but not the ‘tapestry of mud’ type affair. Mitsouko is not that, but it does have a quite low registered quality (perhaps that is why it drags me off to sleep), but one that doesn’t click with your more chiming, crystal selections.

      • I can’t remember which one the Mystere was, but I’ve noted recently that I dislike oakmoss and often wish I could remove it as an element in perfumes I smell. It somehow sours and flattens the sharpness of a concoction – even the name conjures mulch and squelch for me – recalling long, boring walks in English woods wearing squeaky, blister-inducing wellies… But Mitsouko is interesting. Glad you rejuvenated the madame we were whiffing. I’m not entirely averse to Mitsuoko. It smells beautiful on my mum who frequently wears it, and it somehow complements her sharply-tailored linen garments (which are usually dark-blue, puple and black), her small, thin frame and nervous but resolute Irish Catholic energy; and that slightly manipulative, mischievous air carried like a mist over the peat bogs that typify women like my mother.Perhaps this is why I can never quite see myself in Mitsuoko. Are my selections chiming and crystal? I’ve never thought of them that way, but I can see what you mean. I love patchoulie and vetiver – increasingly vetiver – and I do love that thick heavy civety oudh – like the Meequ’at I brought you – but the boggy water types that oakmoss seems to bring out…lavender too – I rarely like lavender added to things…hmm, as usual you are spot on.

  2. jennyredhen

    I mixed Mitsouko with Anais anais as I wanted to use them up. I dont much like either of them on their own. I thought the mixture smelled quite nice.. but I know nothing about these matters really.. do you have an opinion.. an honest opinion.. ??

    • You mean as to what they must smell like mixed up? I have no idea. Chalk and cheese I would imagine. I love both in the right mood, but I can’t quite envision the green white lilies of Anais and the spiced musky overlay of Mitsouko working very well. Then again, all skins are different and some completely anti-intuitive combinations sometimes really work.

      And anyway : if you think it smells nice, then it does.

  3. Lilybelle

    Mitsouko doesn’t love me. I can’t wear it it. Though I do appreciate its golden haunted quality. I love your post. 🙂

    • It doesn’t really love me either, although I can wear it sometimes, and am strangely discovering that that is at night. ‘Golden haunted quality’ is a perfect way of putting it. Do you wear scents to bed or do you think it is a decadent waste?

      • Lilybelle

        I love to wear scents to bed. I think it’s the best way to get to know a fragrance. They seem to smell best in the wee hours when you wake up and wonder what smells so heavenly. I have to tread carefully, though, because my husband dislikes most perfumes, mostly when they’re sprayed or freshly applied.

      • I get the same thing. ‘What the hell is that orange blossom?’ at 2am.

  4. Holly

    Neil, I truly envy your vintage finds.
    I don’t think your doctoring up perfume is outrageous in the least. I sampled Imperial Tea today, and it went almost directly to dusty, acrid tea. Then mouse. I think it would definitely benefit from some additional jasmine.

    • ‘Acrid tea and then mouse’. Hilarious. And that is definitely how I experienced it myself to some level, but on me the tannins from the oolong and the harsh jasmines somehow kind of worked and it starts to sing. I can imagine adding extra jasmine though.

      I mean this ‘remixing’ perfumes things is very risky, obviously, and I wouldn’t advise blithely. I would never touch Vol De Nuit or Shalimar, never, but with Mitsouko, I know I like it bergamot heavy to contrast with the other notes. The one drop of ylang and the significant amounts of bergamot were added about four months ago, and it is only now that everything has stilled and coalesced together. You certainly learn something about perfumery by doing it, actually; I mean the ylang ylang initially seemed like a tragic miscalculation, but in the end it does what it always does once it blends itself in quietly: uplifts. And I only add it of course if ylang ylang is in the original list of ingredients anyway (as, of course, is bergamot). Some Mitsoukos in vintage are too dusty and flat for me. I want the sun rays in the forest.

  5. orsetta

    one of grandmothers wore Jicky and somehow when i think of her i can always smell it too – a phantom scent… 🙂
    i recently bought a bottle of the current extrait and, while good, it’s obviously not the same thing. i should probably doctor it with something too.

    thank you for another great post – and what a glorious ad!

    • Oh but Jicky, how would you doctor it?

      No. I also have a current-ish extrait, and I can definitely imagine that it doesn’t have the aromatic, animalic depth of the original, but those ingredients are probably impossible to obtain now. What can you imagine adding to it? A couple of drops of a really beautiful lavender oil? A touch of bergamot? I think Jicky is perhaps more risky.

      • Ps. the ad, yes: interesting to see an actual Japanese element in it here. And as I have written before, it really IS the most popular Guerlain here in Japan for people of a certain generation and by far the most common perfume you find by Guerlain in the flea markets.

      • orsetta

        i know, you are right about Jicky – the ideal would be to befriend some gentle ‘civetta’ 🙂

        but indeed a test with a touch of bergamot might be interesting

      • I think the original, earlier Jickys were warmer and more aromatic. I would love to come across a vintage edt one day – I can imagine it is suavity incarnate.

        Be warned, though: I wrecked a whole load of Jicky by adding extra lavender and bergamot. It just didn’t want to be messed with and just ended up smelling like a slightly pukeworthy essential oil combination with an unwelcome feral undertone.

      • orsetta

        thank you – i will leave it alone then.

        i still have some drops of vintage edt and it is heavenly.
        i can also highly recommend the vintage cologne, in the ‘clock’ bottle. i imagine you can still come across it in Japan…

        PS: i just realised i WAS really diplomatic and did not mention Mitsouko at all, only the glorious ad 🙂

  6. Marina

    I can almost smell you from here or shall I say I can imagine it and you

    • I know it smells better on thee.

      Did you read my No I9 review? Now THAT I know is perfect. Mitsouko is an outsider to me but there is always something compelling that remains. When do you wear it? What strength?

  7. I love that you do that! I wear perfume to bed too. I like it just about 45 minutes old. In fact I like to wear shalimar to bed. I am so liberated by your additions! Huzzah!

  8. I cannot imagine a more perfect way to stumble off to dreamland than being gently led by a primped Mitsouko. You have molded her perfectly to your wants and now she carries you to the realm of slumber. Perfection..
    If you ever come across any Madeleine de Rauch scents, you must try both Vacarmes ans Miss de Rauch. Both are similar to Mitsouko, but with a more mellow 60’s vibe to them. Oh, Belle de Rauch is similar also, almost like Mitsouko with more vanilla in the heart.

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