I haven’t had a shower in three days. Duncan has Type A influenza, and I am feeling weird myself as well. Like a man suffering from rabies, I am hating the thought of water touching my body. Instead, I am dousing myself in cloves; in all the Italian perfumes I was writing about the other day, and, to go to the shops, in my pyjamas and a hoodie (because I can’t be bothered to get dressed), I am steeped in the exquisitely rare parfum of Shiseido’s Nombre Noir.



In my initial, stunned review (because I couldn’t believe that I had found it for the equivalent of ten dollars, or whatever it was) I admitted to you that I was overwhelmed and a tad dry-eyed; I suspect at that point I had been reading all the ecstatic reviews with perfume lovers prostrating themselves purple-prosedly before the altar of Serge Lutens and Mr. Turin, and the cynical, devil’s advocate in me could only smell a variant of Knowing, Rose De Nuit, and Jean-Marc Sinan, and had to churlishly beg to differ.



I still think that Rose De Nuit is probably the closest I have smelled to this delicious, damasceneous perfume (YES, it is all about the damascones, the volatile, neon prune roses) and they leap out from my hoodlum, crumpled clothes and fill up the room, as does all my SPICE from my skin that lies beneath – and also the stench, I suppose, of my lingering, unwashed filth.




And yet as I walk out into the cold cold night surrounded by this dramatic, incandescent, and decadent perfume I feel like the French aristocracy; like an iconic marquis, like the sybaritic, indulgent royal scumbag that I possibly once was, in another life long ago





(and yes, the photo above is of me, taken just after that monster got into power…….I wonder… all of this deep perfume mania, this pungent incantation, some kind of livid, pointless revenge; some kind of talismanic attempt to frustratedly de-poison him, and it all, from my system? I don’t know; I know that I am still, as many of you are, traumatised……………..)








Filed under Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Psychodrama, Rose perfumes


  1. You are scaring me. Get to feeling better.

    • What part is the most terrifying? The hair? The not washing? The wasting of such precious perfume? I’m actually quite enjoying it.

      • Plus Duncan is brilliant at getting fevers that just flush it all out of his system. He got much much better in a period of 24 hours. I am the opposite (though I don’t seem to have caught it yet, thank goodness).

        But despite the fact that the alter ego in the picture you see is named Burning Bush, I am one of the coldest creatures on this earth. It is virtually impossible for me to get a high temperature. Perhaps I really AM a vampire after all. And that IS kind of scary.

      • Trust me, I have been there before too. It brings out the inner caveman.

  2. Kayse

    Feeling crummy is all part of life, isn’t it?
    …May as well roll around in it and enjoy the decadence of lazing around while your valiant body battles it out with the bug.
    Your picture is hilarious, and makes me giggle. I’m feeling cruddy too, but steaming hot eucalyptus salt baths almost make me feel like being sick is a luxury.
    Especially when you don’t have to go to work.
    Keep piling on the expensive perfume!

    • Mind you, I think tomorrow I will feel better. I too also LOVE eucalyptus salts, especially the ones by that German company, whose name has slipped my mind. SO invigorating. I am definitely ready for a shower now!

      And I like this picture, because it looks a bit like a seventies rock group and a bit Versailles (or so I like to imagine).

  3. jennyredhen

    So pleased that Nombre Noir has grown on you.. Isnt it easy to have expectations without realising it? .. often the reality is far removed from the unacknowledged expectation and it takes time to adjust to it.. especially if the expectation is from a past association.. I suppose the reality is better.. it has to be doesnt it??? I remember the first time I went to Bali and I had been very influenced by a Sharon O’Neill song from the seventies called Asian Paradise…needless to say the reality was far different. I love Bali though and lots of that old reality are still there, even if not immediately obvious…. The essence of something will always come through.

    • I know what you mean. I still don’t think that Nombre Noir is vastly different to other perfumes (and my god, a 14ml of parfum (mine is a 7ml) is going on eBay right now for 2000 dollars – I should have possibly kept mine as an investment rather than just splashing it about willy nilly – but then that only increases the decadent feel for me so is part of why I like using it blatantly) but anyway, often these days I find I am enjoying wearing perfumes on clothes to make the scent linger longer. Parfum d’Hermes (have you tried it? I reckon you might like it – REALLY gorgeous) still covers the cashmere scarf I put it on last week, and I find that I can carry the scent off better that way as well. I suppose I have discovered with these scents that I love rose more than I realized, particularly in a baroque of splendour plum/spice context rather than a chaster- than-thou synthetic sickening context or the rose oudh heavy thing which I am tired of. NN smells great on clothes: it VOLUMIZES itself during the day, gets bigger and more gorgeous….I don’t know, I suppose all of this is also because I can’t wear perfume to work, particularly not perfumes like these, so as I am off work right now and it is so cold, all this scent feels deliciously protective and lush.

      • David

        I always spray perfume on my hair and clothes because my skin is a sponge that will absorb and dissipate even a powerhouse bombshell like Poison.
        The old bottle of Scandal I recently found lasts about an hour on my skin. But on a handkerchief, the leather and lipstick-in-a lady’s- pocketbook notes linger for days and days. It’s a very put-together smell that gives me confidence as I visit some colonial towns in Brazil. But now I’m in Belo Horizonte, the third biggest city in Brazil, and I realize I didn’t pack any of my beasts of the night. I think I was in a prim and proper mood when I was packing last week. Who the hell am I kidding?

      • !

        What do you wish you had brought?

  4. And with your PJs, out in the cold cold, you were wearing . . . don’t tell me . . .BEDROOM SLIPPERS? Good way for a sybarite to catch his %^&$@ DEATH!!!!! At least tell me you had a nice cozy scarf around your Nombre-Noir-slathered neck. Because that stuff, as rich as it is, is NOT going to keep you warm. Love, Auntie Robin

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