BIRTHDAY TOP TEN

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Hello, dear people. Today is my birthday, and as usual it is a beautifully sunny, crisp December morning ( I do associate this day with sun: not always, but almost – me running to school deliriously excited with whatever presents I had received that morning in the bright cold sunlight, usually a new record which I would be desperate to get home to play again, or, later on, a new scent). I have always loved this day, and I right now I feel like being extra self indulgent as I am alone at home on this (unfortunately) working day – I teach later on, but fear not, tomorrow is a big birthday extravaganza as per usual: like last year, both the D and myself are performing at the club in Tokyo and it is going to be fun, and wild, and the predictable ageing disgracefully.

At this precise moment though I feel like some perfume talk. I have always liked lists – the nerdish side of myself not usually presented here on the Black Narcissus for some reason –  but there is always a slightly squirming, masochistic pleasure in trying to whittle down your favourites to a top ten, and the cruel and unimaginable exclusion of so many creations that you love and couldn’t bear to say goodbye to…….but it’s fun to try and think of the perfumes you feel you really couldn’t live without, the ones, say, that if there were to be some bizarre edict : “you can have unlimited supplies of these scents until your death, but only these”, ugh, which ones would you choose? Which ones would you let go of?

 

I love doing the same with films, actually, and which I also find painfully impossible, and albums, artists, anything. Yesterday I was at work, and had fifteen minutes where I couldn’t be bothered to do anything sitting in that teacher’s room full of po-faced stiffs, except try and work out a top ten list. Naughty, but it is almost the end of this school term and I am utterly burnt out and exhausted and just DESPERATE to cocoon in the home nest after the year that has been 2016….but let’s not get into all that again now.

No. It’s my birthday, so if you don’t mind, let me bathe in my own ridiculous spotlight for a few more moments or two. Let’s shut out that nasty outside world and concentrate on perfume. That misunderstood, culturally underrated, beautiful, invisible skin of radiance that can give us so much unadulterated pleasure and joy. If it were you (and I really hope you will then give me your own top tens as a birthday present to me – I will really enjoy reading them later and plunging into regret and dismay at what I had forgotten to include), what scents would you take to that remote, cut off, mythological desert island? (Or other planet, come to think of it: I don’t want to limit our imaginations or curtail the choices based on climate…)

Then again, when it comes to perfume, it is almost impossible to ignore temperature and season. Now that winter is almost upon us (here in Japan it is still quite Autumnal: sometimes very cold, other days, like today, quite pleasantly warm in the sunshine), I am naturally gravitating towards all my soothing orientals in my choices, as these are ultimately my favourite category of perfume and the ones which suit me the best, but come summer, what would I do with a bathful of Bal A Versailles?

Still, at least half of my selection would definitely always be those perfumes that I can ease into like a cream fur hood in a snowy white landscape- I suppose ultimately I am just something of a crazed, self-indulgent male odalisque. I find so much of the world, and people, so stuffy, conservative, tight-lipped and well, dull as fuck, that I feel that is practically my duty to go out there and fill the skies with sensuous, sensual, thick, rich and delicious perfumes that demonstrate how delightful being alive can really be and that it doesn’t have to be this constant, furious hairshirt of ideology, skinflint bitterness and grim-lipped, self-negating misery.

Having said all that, like most true perfumists, I cannot in truth completely limit myself to just one restricting category of scent. Like all of you, there are particular smells for particular moods, particular days and moments: sometimes, only one will do, a perfume I wear only once in a blue moon but which is absolutely right just then: cases in point, for me, might be a sudden urge to wear vintage Rochas Mystere (sorry, can’t access French accents right now: don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly become illiterate in my dotage), which on a particular winter day puts me in a fantastically removed, dark (but light) mood; Hermes Hiris, which again, is cold, clear, depressive, but sometimes is the only thing I want, and, likewise, the exquisite Caleche, which I find almost unconscionably elegant and poetically moving in the right circumstances, like a protectant veil against stupidity, of which, on this planet, there is much; (stop it, stop it, stop it), but yes, cloves, yes cloves, sometimes I don’t think I can live without them, either: I need my home remixed Bellodgia parfum (with stacks of added clove, black pepper essential oil and few drops of ylang ylang to get it just nice and bitey), or, preferably, a nice, thick bottle of vintage Caron Poivre: one of these might in fact make it into my top 10: not quite sure, as might Guerlain Vetiver or another vetiver of some kind such as Maitre Gantier et Parfumeur’s exquisite Racine (aaaghhhh all the perfumes I want refills of!!!): great, but possibly just outside my top ten. I even have my totally macho days when I head towards the ‘men’s closet’ part of my collection and douse myself in Azzaro Pour Homme, which is a bit Saddam Hussein on steroids, but which I like sometimes, as I do Kouros, and even Ungaro I (though that is almost too much for me now, as though I were Burt Lancaster taking a bath in pure testosterone) : still, there are definitely times when I need them.

And what about summer? What about the greens, and the citruses? I have a whole selection of colognes downstairs in the bathroom from green teas to lemons and limes and orange blossoms, and they get used quite often, particularly after a hot shower. Having said that, I still don’t think I have ever found the ultimate citrus : in some ways O de Lancome might fulfil that role but it is too loaded with memories and a bit too mossy for me ; I thought I had found it in Miller Harris Citron Citron but it was a bit…….taut for me in the end: I am still looking……

 

No. Nice as they are, I don’t think that any of these lighter scents would truly make my top 10.

 

 

Which is, tentatively, this.

 

 

The perfumes that I can always feel good in. The ones that I feel suit me, that complement my ultra-emotional, oversensitive but at times monstrously extroverted character, and give me soft, nudging, pleasure throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

  1. Guerlain Shalimar.

 

 

 

 

I am not necessarily putting these in order, but I will always need Shalimar. It makes me feel just like a big, purring cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: my cat Mori this morning: D woke me up at 6.30 to give me this delectable vanilla slice and a cup of tea (excuse the mess in the bedroom) but she almost got there first…..

 

 

 

 

2. Guerlain Vol De Nuit

As you can see in the picture at the top, I have several bottles of this in different strengths, and there are a couple of other bottles somewhere in the house that I couldn’t locate, also in different flacons (every single one found at flea markets and Japanese recycle shops, incidentally ( I know, I know). The classic propeller bottle 30ml is probably my most deliriously exciting ever find and the one I most treasure in my entire collection. I am really trying not to use that one for as long as possible.

 

 

This scent – read my full length review for more in-depth analysis – is one I continue to be obsessed by.

 

 

 

3. Yves Rocher Noix De Coco

 

 

It may be quite an outrageous statement, but in some ways this is my favourite scent of all time. It is also by far the cheapest (about 5 euros), but I am telling you that it is perfect. The equivalent of your favourite fluffy sweater, t-shirt or pyjamas, great in spring, summer, autumn and winter, not only the cuddliest coconut but also almond ( I LOVE almond, but here it is in just the right quantities, delectable), vanilla too, but none overpowering nor too sweet, just utterly utterly delightful. So glad that someone created this. It was tailor made for moi.

 

 

 

4. Laura Mercier Lumiere d’Ambre

 

This is my discovery from this year’s summer in England  and I now have my amber. I never need another. Like the Yves Rocher above, this isn’t poetry, it’s just a great smell and suits me perfectly. It is irresistible. I will keep buying this.

 

 

 

5. Jean Desprez Bal A Versailles.

 

 

 

What can I say? On the coldest days in winter, when I want protection, there is only this. The greatest drydown in the history of perfumery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(intermission)

 

 

So, anyway, those gorgeously rich and snuggable perfumes above could keep me going in skin-powdered mellifluousness come the winter months, but what about the other seasons?

 

 

 

 

6. Chanel No 19

 

 

Obviously, one of my very great perfume loves of all time, if not the greatest, is Chanel N0 19 vintage parfum, which I am sadly finding much less of now at flea markets here and will have to stop giving away to other people because I need to stock up on it myself. If I ever make it to old age, this is the scent I hope to be able to wear. There is nothing better.

 

The thing with this perfume is is that it is my iris, my vetiver, my leather, and my green. It is the best of all those types: when chosen at the right time is just…..amazing. There is no perfume that continues to get better and better for a period of over twenty four hours. It is a work of absolute structural genius and unsurpassed elegance.

 

 

 

After this it gets difficult for me. For while I do need my patchouli and have considered including either my (extra patchouli oil added) Serge Lutens Borneo 1840, or my Givenchy Gentleman (my one concession to traditional masculinity), the latter, in dry down, isn’t all that different to how the Chanel smells, in truth, so I could probably forgo it.

 

 

 

No, these days I need my exotic flowers come summertime.

These are the ones I wear unfailingly in the heat.

 

 

 

7. Summer by Kenzo

 

 

This might surprise you, but in terms of sheer skin time, this is the winner this year by far. I have got through almost two entire bottles. I live in it during the summer months in Japan. Discontinued, it is getting more expensive to get hold of now, but though flawed – in the rain it is horrible, the synthetic grass and swimming pool notes too much – on the right day – a searingly bright hot, swarming city day here, for instance – sprayed on my white shirts for work, it is just heavenly: addictive, unique – almond milk and mimosa and childhood memories of wonderful holidays – just the smell, and evocation of happy times spent splashing in the sea at the beach and then drying, oblivious to all past and future sadnesses, in the sun.

 

 

 

8. Velvet Desire by Dolce & Gabbana

 

Another unexpected inclusion perhaps, but this perfume, which I picked up at Dubai airport a few years ago thinking I would buy something dense and Arabish but instead found that I couldn’t resist this at all, is one I will buy again. I love my jasmine, especially Sambac, I love my tuberose and  I love my gardenia, and they are all here, with frangipani to boot in the delirious mix, and the combined concoction, by Arquiste perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux,  just smells so exotic and heady that despite the embarrassing name, I love it every time. On a man it is a touch transgressive and odd, which is why I enjoy wearing it under my shirt cuffs to work. If you can’t be yourself, you may as well just jump in front of a train.

 

 

 

9. Either Loulou by Cacharel or Eau de Tiare by Reva Tahiti

 

 

Again, you can see I am just Gaugin, basically,  in temperament: I don’t yearn to smell weird or conceptual, mean or dark (except on occasion: you must realize that this list, which I am now finding almost uncomfortably revealing and embarrassing as it makes me look like a total ditz or airhead (“All along he was making out as though he were this fierce black panther in his Montales and his Sisley Eau Du Soir (adore, in the right mood) and his blacker than black patchoulis, when in fact he is essentially just Racquel Welsh at the Golden Globes), but although I appreciate my incense and the odd woody perfume (I enjoy wearing my Shiseido Feminite du Bois or Lutens Cedre on occasion, for instance and will wear virtually any vetiver), ultimately I suppose I need the joyfulness of heat and the liberation of tropical to fully satisfy my dream-seeking senses, and  Eau de Tiare really does presents the sea-a wave-sprayed, aquatic extreme of frangipani/ tiare flowers and a smell I just fall for every time (the scent of those flowers drifting in the air of Luang Prabang in Laos last year was positively oneiric), whereas Loulou, god bless her, is the coconut almond, thicker version: to my absolute delight Olivia gave me the vintage parfum this year, ultra rare, covetable, and my god it is amazing. Rather than waste it on my skin, I just subtly dragged the stopper along the soft inner part of a leaf green hoodie I had just bought, and the smell it continued to exude the entire day just basically infused me with total happiness and contentment. Divine. This is why we wear perfume.

 

 

10. Mmmmmmmmm, this is difficult. But perhaps

 

 

Caron Nocturnes ( Or should it be Guerlain Ylang Vanille……..? I LOVE that in summer, like drinking childhood cherryade …..)

 

 

I don’t know. But even though  I have an entire wooden antique table of vintage perfumes by my bedside that I wear all the time at night or just to enjoy at home, they don’t, ultimately, suit me. Old school musks don’t work – too feminine – and although perfumes such as Chamade or Parfum d’Hermes  are scents I venerate for their absolute beauty, I know in truth I just can’t actually get away with wearing them. I just really enjoy having them.

 

 

Plus it’s quite nice to include a ‘champagne aldehyde’ in this list, the only one I can really carry off properly. Plus, it contains all my favourite elements: the citrus top note, a gorgeous, gorgeous orange/mandarin, is one of my favourite beginnings in perfumery, mixed as it is with stephanotis flowers, tuberose, and jasmine, but then it all tails off not into musks and a dithery apron of soft, mossy bedspreads, but, instead, a more mysterious ending of vanilla and vetiver that I know smells very good on me.

 

 

 

 

Yes. I think this is quite a good one to end with actually. Whether it is cool or not to like Nocturnes, I don’t know, but I do know that it is definitely me.

58 Comments

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58 responses to “BIRTHDAY TOP TEN

  1. jennyredhen

    Much love to you on your birthday .. .. that is a fantastic list.. what are the next 10 favourite perfumes on your list …. the also rans.. the runners up.. the nearly there but not quite… what about making the top 10 list every year and seeing what drops off or adds on. I am wearing Classique by Jean Paul Gaultier today. I do love it.. the other day was Metalys and I love that as well. Its great to love things …as well as people… have a great day and a great night and a great weekend.

  2. jennyredhen

    to make the list up to 10 add Samsara and Chamade,both by guerlain, La fille de Berlin Serge Lurens, Angel by Thierry Mugler, ma Griffe by Lanvin Fidji by Guy Laroche and Infusion de Iris by Prada.and Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood.

    • I love all of those, actually. Wondering about buying the Fille De Berlin. Boudoir smells surprisingly good on me as well. Bizarrely macho in the dry down.

      • jennyredhen

        the only perfume I had before I started reading your blog was Samsara .. I discovered all the others thanks to you and your friends recommendations

  3. Another enjoyable post. Happy non-Birthday and keep on smelling great!

  4. MrsDalloway

    Happy birthday! Loved reading your list. My current (unordered) 10 – not for a desert island really, but if I had to cut down in my life now…

    Chanel Sycomore and vintage No 19 (got this in parfum and EDT after reading your posts, so it’s a copycat – so beautiful.)
    Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur and Iris de Nuit (my first loves when I started getting properly into perfume and I still love them)
    Hermès Cuir d’Ange and Vétiver Tonka (just got a giant bottle of C d’A as backup, so I practically do have an unlimited supply)
    Lancôme Cuir – too much soft leather on this list?
    Roja Vétiver Extrait – bought in the outlet sale. I only ever wear this to work, so it wouldn’t make the cut for an island, but it is beautiful and bolstering.

    Gets hard for the last two places. Tam Dao EDP or L’Artisan Bois Farine? AG Heure Exquise EDP (gorgeous but closer to No 19) or the 2014 Diptyque mimosa Essences Insensées (gorgeous but more limited to spring)?

    • MrsDalloway

      Maybe I’ll leave Sycomore and take Heure Exquise instead. Then Bois Farine and the mimosa for the last two slots. Sorted!

    • That Roja Dove Vetiver extrait is GORGEOUS. I really wanted it myself when I smelled it but it was just outrageously expensive. Vetiver Tonka I would also love a full bottle of as there are times when it is just perfect. That is what I chose to wear on the flight back home to England this summer. Warm and comforting. The Heeley collection is one I think I need to spend more time with. They stock a lot of the range at a department store called Hankyu in Ginza.

      • MrsDalloway

        Yes, it was £99 for 50ml discontinued, which isn’t cheap but I’d never have justified the full £275. On a cheaper note, I have the Yves Rocher Noix de Coco lotion and shower gel and must get the EDT. My husband wears Cuir Vétiver, which is also very good.

  5. Happy Birthday dear Neil! Oh how I would love to see your performance at the club with D. Have a blast.

    I love lists too and this was a joy. I tried vintage Bal A Versailles for the first time a couple of weeks ago and…wow. I also wore Summer by Kenzo to death in the 90s. It’s seamless.

    My list would include Vol de Nuit, Passage d’Enfer, Cuir de Lancome, Coromandel, Fille de Berlin, L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger, Hermes Eau de Mandarine Ambree, Bois des Illes parfum, an iris (which one?!), Vanilla Smoke, oh I’ve suddenly run out and no green!

  6. DDJ

    Happy Birthday! All the best to you. ….Always enjoy your writing and I love perfume lists. You’ve spent more of my money than you can imagine.

    Comparatively I’m a perfume dilettante and philistine. I’ve never bought a perfume I didn’t like … but then I don’t have your depth of experience to compare each one against.

    On my desert island, we’ll be wearing: Vintage Kouros, Dior Jules and Eau Noire, Union Celtic Fire, Micallef Emir, Liquides Imaginaires Peau de Bête, Montecristo, Absolue Pour le Soir, Salome and Maai.

    Oh, hell. I hate rules…. LM Hard Leather too.

  7. Happy Birthday! It is a very clear but ice-cold day over here in Austria, truly a nice day for a birthday, I would say 🙂
    Here is my present for you, my current top ten deserted island perfumes:
    – Ormonde Woman, Sycomore, NR For Her EdT, Iris Poudre, Eau de Shalimar, Pear + Olive, Le Parfum de Therese
    That was easy, now for the tricky part.
    – MdO Vanille, Louanges Profanes, Ambre Sultan

  8. Happy Birthday, Neil!!!!

  9. Vernona

    Dear Neil, Happy Birthday!!! Best wishes and loads of fun at the performance tomorrow!!
    Here’s my top 10 of the moment (probably not even of the day) as it is an everchanging list
    It would be a very sad day if i had to limit myself to 10 only. Mission impossible. Hahhaha I actually often feel like you do, with all the fancy perfume art talk and then my most loved and most worn end up being quite simplistic comfort scents with not much art involved…
    So top 10 of the moment in no particular order:
    1.Dior Feve Delicieuse/Guerlain Tonka Imperiale (I’m cheating allready, but these both are amazing tonka perfumes and I can’t make up my mind)
    3. Guerlain Cuir Beluga
    4. Guerlain Gourmand Coquin
    5. Montale Intense Tiare
    6.Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
    7.Profumum Dolce Acqua (you MUST try this one, if you haven’t allready, for almond and coconut perfection)
    8.By Kilian Beyond Love
    9. By Kilian Back to Black
    10.MFK Grand Soir

    Oh cr*p! I havent included any of my favourite Lutens…Datura Noir, Bois Vanille…I need Amber absolute too and EL TUberose Gardenia… You know what, this top 10 list is impossible, so glad I’m not going to a desert island any time soon 😉

    Best wishes my dear, one more time! xoxo

  10. Andrea

    Happy Birthday! Love your list. For giving me such enjoyment reading your blog I have come out of my nest – My birthday gift to you is my top 10.

    Guerlain Chamade
    Chanel Cuir de Russie
    Balmain Vent Vert
    Hermes Cuir d’Ange
    Dior Diorissimo
    Malle En Passant
    Cartier Le Heure Vertueuse III
    Chanel No 19
    Guerlain L’Heure Bleu
    Piguet Fracas

  11. emmawoolf

    Many happy returns, and thank you for your desert island perfumes. Also love a list, as I am far nerdier than you. Mine are deeply predictable and sound so dull next to all these profumistas’, but anyway, here you go, as it’s your birthday. Counting down of course, in true Top Of The Pops fashion…. 10 Chanel No 5, 9. Guerlain Vetiver for Men, 8: Sisley Soir de Lune, 7: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, 7 Chanel Cristalle EDP, 6. Jil Sander Woman III, 5. Sisley Eau de Soir, 4. Yves Saint Laurent Y 3. Miller Harris Noix de Tuberose (I love it, so trashy). 2. Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle and…a new entry, straight in at number one: Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. I love it. Happy birthday xx

    • Actually I wish my list were more aesthetically pleasing: I am very pretentious about such things, and things like ‘Velvet Desire’ just bring it down. But it is all about the smells…..and yours is divine. I know you in most of them of course but how amazing…a tuberose top three!

  12. Oh, to have that propeller bottle of VdN extrait!!! Oops, how rude of me. Should have wished you many happy returns! (Oh, to have that propeller bottle of VdN extrait!!!!) I love your list and your bravery in making it. Even thinking about it makes me despair. A Sophie’s choice, heartbreaking to contemplate, impossible to reconcile. And wow, I never would have thought you’d choose the likes of Summer and Velvet Desire. More power to you, I say. It’s very inspiring to see you choose the real loves, i.e., the things you love to wear, not the predictable icons. Rather freeing, for those of us who feel mere desire is somehow less important than capital-I Importance.

    It pains me, and these are the top ten of today for you, and not necessarily tomorrow, or I would feel as though I couldn’t breathe, and in no particular order (and all in vintage as applicable, extrait preferable but generally liking all iterations); all because they tug at my heartstrings like no others and because they are just beautiful

    Femme
    Je Reviens
    Vol de Nuit
    Tabac Blond
    Que Sais-Je?
    1000
    My Sin
    Diorama
    Le De Givenchy
    Rose Barbare

    Ouch, that hurt.

    • How pleasing to the eye to read this classic list of beauties (although I have never smelled Que-Sais-je?). Le De I could never get with for some reason, too pale and musky or something so you will have to enlighten me. I want to try Rose Barbare again: I was reading Persolaise’s perfume guide again the other day and he raved about it. And my sin: D got me a vintage parfum for my birthday and this time I think it smells as it should. I want to smell it on a woman in furs.

      • Dear, dear Duncan. And really and truly, it smells exceptionally good — you get that dark, edgy rose?! Happy for you. Yes, it begs for fur, doesn’t it? Was just reading you about Crepe de Chine, finally found mine, and thought, too, of fur. Those old Weils, I think, Zibeline and Antilope, if memory serves, were designed to blend with the scent of a good sable/etc. Le De (gaa, the name! oh well) to me is lilacs, real ones, not lilac room spray, but mostly it’s the sentimental connection, because my dad got me those little Perfumes of France sets and it was one of them, and it stood out from the others as — to my 10-year-old nose — unspeakably Parisienne. Que Sais-Je? is a nutty chypre thing, “golden” but with a bite. So many good Patous: Moment Supreme, Normandie, Colony — LOVE the pineapple chypre, so happy! — Cocktail . . .

        I realize those are all boring classics, so I’m not sure what that means. I could have added Nuit de Noel, Le Dix, Sublime, Parure, Nahema . . . Maybe it IS the iconic factor. Hmm. Drat. Not very adventurous of me. Ack. I love many modern ones as much: Puredistance Opardu and M, Amouage Jubilation, Memoir and Lyric for Woman, the original 2007 Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, Champs Elysees because Ric loves it (and for the same reason, Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Mon Precieux Nectar, Gourmand Coquin and Chanel Beige), Le Parfum de Therese, Une Rose and Une Fleur de Cassie from Malle. Actually, for heartbreak, not the nostalgic type but the too-beautiful-for-this-world type, Une Fleur de Cassie might be one of my very favourites. I wonder if you know it, Neil? But of course you do.

        I’m sorry for going on and on, but it’s hard to stop once a girl gets going.

  13. And I’m wearing Chamade right now, as it happens, the sadly discontinued EdP, sniffing my hand and thinking, damn, this one should have been on there. It would never end. I have to say, the exercise was more joyful than painful, which was a pleasant surprise. (Oh, wait, I didn’t include Narcisse Noir??? Ad nauseum . . .) It felt like, Wow, isn’t this the most incredible world where so many gorgeous smells have been put into bottles. Thank you for the joy!

  14. P.S. Can I squeeze in Infini? 😉

  15. Lilybelle

    Happy Birthday!!! ♡♡♡♡♡

    This post has me smiling ear to ear (Raquel). I totally get why Noix de Coco makes your top ten. I had one once and it was the best Vanilla/Coconut of them all.

    Ten is a very generous number of desert isle fragrances! I could *probably* come up with five. Ten = an embarrassment of riches!

    But I can’t type more because I’m on my stoopid phone which frustrates me no end. I’m a clumsy texter. Bal à Versailles eould head the list, though.

    I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday weekend!

  16. Tara C

    Happy birthday to you! Love Bal à Versailles, my mother’s evening perfume. My top 10 change a lot but there are a few constants:

    Dans Tes Bras
    Iris Silver Mist
    Voleur de Roses
    Traversée du Bosphore
    10 Corso Como
    Bois Oriental
    Encens Flamboyant
    Fève Délicieuse
    Fate
    PHI Rose de Kandahar

    And one extra sentimental one that will always be there: Byzance.

    • How fabulous. Byzance! Actually, I have been considering buying the Traversee du Bosphore recently, and would LOVE Iris Silver Mist. I wore Voleur de Roses to death a couple of decades ago and still yearn for it. What is Fate though? Enlighten me. I remember enjoying the strange, burnt, gilded aspect of Encense Flamboyant actually – a really unusual frankincense (which I am obsessed with). And the Feve Delicieuse: someone else mentioned that one. I dismissed it too lightly I think and will have to go and smell it again).

      Dans Tes Bras though………..HORROR!!!!!

      • Tara C

        That would be Amouage Fate, the women’s version. As for Dans Tes Bras, well, if you don’t like cashmeran, it is a horror indeed. 🙂 I also like Byredo M/M Ink, which lots of people seem to find horrifying. Chacun à son goût!

  17. Hope you had a marvelous birthday.

  18. MrsDalloway

    Hope the performance was a triumph – did you wear any/all of your top ten?

  19. empliau

    Happy belated birthday, Neil – I hope you and Duncan had an amazing night out.
    My ten (in no order):
    vero.profumo Mito VdeE; Un Lys (Serge L.); Fleurs d’Oranger (also uncle S.)
    Le Parfum de Thérèse; Lys Mediterranee; Eau de Camille; Niki de Saint Phalle; Carnal Flower; La Chasse aux Papillons; Diptyque Olène; Tihota.
    I seem to have a thing for white flowers ….

    • What a DIVINE list. I would every one except Therese (because it just wouldn’t smell right: melon on me is un horreur) but I do like it on other people. Your tastes certainly aren’t cheap though. I like that you have included Papillons and Olene: both gorgeous scents I also wear that I think are vastly underrated.

      Also, Frederic Malle thanks you for your business.

      • empliau

        Well, the only FB I have on this list is Un Lys, my 50th birthday present. The others are splits and samples. (I did have a FB of Niki de Saint Phalle in 1983, birthday gift from my sister.) My tastes want to write checks my budget can’t cash, so I buy small amounts and hoard.

        Carnal Flower is the only perfume my husband notices on me, and he absolutely loves it. I wear it when I particularly want his attention, and it hasn’t failed yet, so I think I should be thanking FM ….

      • There are several expensive scents mulling at the back of my mind for potential purchase, and Carnal Flower is at the top. The cash just never seems to be available though

  20. Hope you had a most smashingly wonderful birthday. I am sure your night out at the club was one of pure delight. I adore your top ten list and many are on mine also, so here it is.
    1 Shalimar
    2 Parure Guerlain
    3 Fille d’Eve Nina Ricci
    4 Femme de Rochas
    5 Alpona de Caron
    6 Pois de Senteur de Chez Moi de Caron
    7 Secret de Venus de Weil
    8 Fête de Molyneux
    9 Bal à Versailles
    10 Ombre Bleu de Jean Charles Brosseau
    My favorite scents are all warm and rich, not many would work well on a deserted island, but I love them.

    • A very beautiful list. I don’t know the Secret de Venus, but thanks to your EXTREME generosity, I have experienced the vintage extraits of the Fille d’Eve (unbelievable), the Pois de Senteur ,and the edt of Fete. You shouldn’t have given away your treasures like that. This list is fascinating. Alpona…….I must do a review of it. Somewhere I still have a vial of vintage extrait. SUCH a strange perfume. That orange peel darkness………

      Delighted we also share the adoration of the Ombre Bleue…….there are almost no words for how amazing that thing is. And no one (except us) and about one other blogger has ever talked about it. This is one I WON’T share, actually, as I have so little. I want to keep my Botticelli Venus grotto of Capri just there, on the shelf, just so I can smell her, for as long as I live…. xxxxxxx

  21. happy belated…and it is absolutely “cool” to love Nocturnes as that should be in your top ten (it is in mine, but you already know this)…..

      • Vintage Cristalle ( not the current which is lacking backbone), Vintage no 22 (perfume or EDT-love both), the original Prescriptives Calyx (the current Clinique formulation is watered down crap), Victoria (the original and first Victoria’s Secret perfume…a gorgeous amber that came in a beautiful fluted glass bottle with a lapis colored cap …very elegant), Jour Ensoleille( SSS), Un Ete in Provence=Escada ( I associate that one with my first trip to Paris which is why I think I like it so), Tibetan Mountain Temple (Pacifica), Reglisse Noire (1000 Flowers…this one stirs me…don’t know why) and Heaven (the Gap- a simple white floral blend…I have drained at least thirty bottles of it over the past 20 or so years…the only fragrance my person has ever complimented me on and the only one he can tolerate)….if I could add more I would also include Orange Sanguine….that one is so versatile and well liked in my inner circle and just makes me smile when I sniff it on others…..

      • Tibetan Mountain Temple! You sent me the solid. Such a delicious spiced ginger: perfect, actually. I might have to get some more.

      • Yes…I did send you the solid!!!! the EDT is less sweet and more resinous with the emphasis more on the vetiver…but both are lovely…it has become the fragrance I wear to yoga class and I associate it with calmness and peace so it had to be included in my top ten …

      • It is a great little number: let there be no doubt.

  22. Happy Belated Birthday! I’m always behind the curve with visiting my favorite blogs. I LOVE lists. So you are in good company. But ask me year to year and my list would probably change. My number 1 I would have to say is Mitsouko parfum extrait. Any season, any time it works. I have the current EdP, but it’s a little harsh for me, but the extrait…like “butter”. You have made me want to visit Vol de Nuit again…it’s never worked for me. And I only have experienced the most recent version of Nocturnes…it didn’t work. Maybe I need to get a vintage whiff? I hope your day was a special one! xoxoxox

    • Thanks, Hound!

      Go on, give me a hint of at least your current favourite top ten. You have an extremely eclectic and wide ranging taste in perfume.

      As for Vol De Nuit (vintage extrait only), it is weird. Just like me!

      And Nocturnes, good god yes. The new version is pleasant but weak and pathetic. If you ever get the chance to try the old version, do. It is extremely comforting.

      Meanwhile, I await your incantations.

      • If you insist. Let’s see:
        1. Mitsouko as mentioned.
        2. Ysatis…go big, go bold.
        3. Chanel Biege. It’s my standby when nothing else fits. It always fits.
        4. Caron Tuberuese. Thick, sweet and rather waxy. I love it and wish I had more of it I would wear it more often.
        5. Roja Enslaved. Makes me feel like a sex bomb.
        6. Roja Risque. Truly feminine.
        7. Puredistance White
        8. Samsara…the one perfume that never waivers on my skin…it always smells brilliant.
        9. Caron Alpona…which shoudl be higher on the list. I have a small bottle that I could wear every day, but of course I can’t. I get the more compliments with this than any other perfume.
        10. Caron Nuit de Noel…tis the season and men seem to love this on me. Works for me 🙂

      • AAAGH I LOVE THIS LIST!!!! And this is the second time Alpona (such a strange, waxy creation that few know) has appeared. I don’t know where my vial of extrait has gone to, but I can remember it perfectly. How does it smell on you? And Ysatis! So funny: this morning I found a bottle of the parfum on the tatami mat that had fallen onto the carpet. Still adore it. And Caron Tubereuse….you know I really really really really love that one and crave a bottle badly. So cold and creamy and perfect. Nuit de Noel: I was amazed recently, actually:I went to Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo and they happened to have all the extraits: and the current version of Noel smelled AMAZING. I really want it, want that bottle. So many of these creatures lurking in the back of my mind that I want to buy but don’t have the cash for. Roja Dove perfumes are SO lush, aren’t they? They have a powdery, skin-clenched thickness I really like, and quite dirty to boot. I would love to imagine how you smell in these!

      • I will second that on the Nocturnes…ONLY vintage…

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