sometimes it’s good to hesitate

On pay day it is natural to want to buy something – the fruit of your labors. So while grimly moving like a pike through the murky epistemological lake of Yokohama on my way to and back from exam classes, I was fetishizing / calculating some feasible perfume purchases I had set my sights on previously (sometimes one has to keep a luxury splurge secret from one’s partner -especially if certain agreements have been made ( but isn’t that, in a way, part of the point of a ‘luxury purchase’? The ‘secret indulgence’?)

In truth I don’t frequently do this. I get sent enough freebies to freshen the collection, and just can’t mentally digest spending the amounts that niche houses would have you shed ( in Japan, with import and consumption taxes, prices get fantastically elevated), and yet I still found myself today unimaginatively craving either a 15 ml ( too tiny !) or 50ml ( too expensive !) bottle of Heretic’s green viperish Dirty Grass.

I could have just said fuck it, and bought it blind. But at about ¥32,000 I think that would have been somewhat foolish. I know myself too well : when it comes to wearing perfume I am extraordinarily fussy. If something isn’t right – an extraneous synthetic here, even a smidgen of fake sandalwood there, I will instinctively just not ever ‘reach for ‘ it.

Perfume is internal. It has to chime true with you, feel authentic in some way, be pleasurable all the way through even generously allowing for some unneeded glitches – I am not sure I entirely enjoyed the coriander / galbanun / violet leaf opening of this all natural, bitter earth vetiver ( although part of me did); once it settled down a little, however, this started to feel familiarly like a me scent.

But too much so. I have made vetiver blends myself at home whose conclusions smelled EXACTLY THE SAME as this perfume. Some of the ingredients are certainly quite costly – I have bought both galbanum resin and violet leaf absolute before from a specialist aromatherapy shop in Omotesando, Tokyo, but I am still, as I ride the bus home looking forward to some home cooking, quite pleased that I didn’t just waste my money on buying something luxurious for the sake of doing it and not thinking it through properly. Sometimes, for the sake of proper satisfaction, it is better to smell deeply, stop and analyze: hesitate.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “sometimes it’s good to hesitate

  1. gunmetal24

    I love the ‘real talk’ in this article. I have been trying to battle my ‘bottle purchase’ addiction and it’s not been easy. Nothing like the short lived excitement of bringing home a new paper bag with that sealed bottle thinking I totally need this and then that gets shoved back into the corner rarely seeing the light of the day because its redundant no. 4 out of 3 other similar-ish scents you already have.

  2. It’s very satisfying to be wise sometimes, and think again. I already have more perfume than I can use in my lifetime, and so many I truly love but haven’t even wanted to go near for most of the past two plus years. Starting to use them at home again, on random occasion. All the masking and distancing, with all the general atmosphere of upside down craziness anger and hatefulness going on here in the US, always simmering. It’s still a daily bad news overload here. I’ve turned to much easier to wear things that i feel won’t become identified with all this dramatic frustration and wrongness. Lighter pleasantries still have the ability to uplift me through the masking and worries.

    • I understand exactly what you are saying. I have also been in ‘pleasant mode’ as much as possible but, like me, I imagine that just knowing the treasures are there waiting provides a certain pleasure in itself – the satisfaction of the acquisition of very pleasurable elixirs.

      Their time will come.

  3. Hanamini

    I’ve been overseas and away from my home for three months due to a family crisis. I can’t wait to get back to my bottles, which are not associated with it. But the idea of more purchases seems very alien right now; I’m determined to revisit all my samples when back. This post struck a chord. I’ve got one unopened present bottle of Lutens’ La Myrrhe that my father never had a chance to give to me; that will take courage to crack open, as well as the right timing. Until then, no other full bottles. Keep posting, I so enjoy these posts and the comments thereto.

  4. Thanks for this. Your post and the comments all hit home, especially about the emotional needs and chords a perfume can touch on. My costly past mistakes have given me the ability to hesitate and think the purchase of a scent through, thoroughly. The timing of this couldn’t be more perfect as just this morning, I discovered that I had a sample vial of Vero Profumo’s Naja stashed away that literally has one last drop. I loved this when it came out and had fully intended to save my coins to buy a full bottle when Vero suddenly past away and the available bottles seemed to disappear overnight. Today, I went looking on the internet and found that a perfume shop in Italy, with a website is selling it at 230EU, which is already out of my range and that’s not even counting all of the taxes and shipping costs I’ll have to pay to get it to the US. I can’t afford it at this time. But then on the other hand, Vero and I were pen pals, so this is personal and the sent will never be made again. I’m going back and forth this morning on what to do and reading this post and the comments really resonated.

    • I think you need that perfume !

      The difference is that you love it and have a deep connection through knowing the perfumer ( what is this like, by the way ?)

      The scent I was considering getting would definitely have given me pleasure, but I know the final accord ( just regular vetiver oil) would have irritated me every time.

      When a perfume has real talent – that intuitive alchemy that only they can summon in their own creation – it is a magical thing and definitely worth saving up for.

      • Vero was such a sensitive, creative and thoughtful soul that it’s no wonder I found all of her creations otherworldly. I never met her in person. We had exchanged emails and gifts and had talked about eventually meeting, but that was not to be. We only live once, so I’m seriously considering going for that bottle of Naja. I inquired and was just assured this morning by another perfumista, that the site in Italy that has it in stock, is totally legitimate, and the woman behind it was a good friend of Vero’s.

      • Do it.

        The only problem with her perfumes is the bottles – I never found them inspiring to look at, and that would put me off buying one, even if the far more important thing – the perfumes inside – were (from the few I have experienced) very complicated and potent – yet delicate – and seamless.

  5. OnWingsofSaffron

    Reminds me of the Tintin books I had as a kid: Captain Haddock with a little devil over his one shoulder and an angel over the other. Of course he was pondering over another bottle of Whiskey , and indeed, it is more than clear which entity over which shoulder won the competition! And so I am in a quandary: should I buy the Chanel N° 1 L’Eau Rouge (body mist) on eBay, or not? No, never: absolutely useless! Why not, a quick luxurious spritz won’t harm …

  6. Robin

    Very sensible of you, dear Neil. Letting this fish go will allow you to happily splurge later when the bottle is truly a can’t-live-without. That idea has kept me from more than a few impulse buys that in hindsight wouldn’t have really added enough to my collection to be worth the $.

    I can’t think of anything really expensive I’ve bought that I regret buying, because I really think those through. I think I mildly regret certain things I bought on impulse that were inexpensive, really mostly for the instant kick of something new, a shot of serotonin, that I’m not crazy about and just take up space. Then again, maybe those cheap thrills were just what I needed at the time, so can’t be too hard on myself. There are worse vices.

    For some reason, these days I’m not doing that: not buying mood boosters. I think I might have reached some sort of saturation point.

    Excellent food for thought, today’s post. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome. And glad you can relate to what I am talking about. I definitely understand the quick serotonin kick, but agree – these are not the worst sins in the world! Also, being surrounded by one’s perfumes is genuinely pleasurable – a gorgeous buffer zone.

  7. A lot of these newer niche houses that have the hudspah (or asininity?) to initially hit the market as a “luxury” brand seem to be of the same ilk. Blend a few pricey or synthetic fragrance substances & place in minimally designed & decorated bottle and its “modern” high end perfumery worth $$$s. Escentric Molecules is an extreme example of this trend, Byredo & MFK slightly less so.

  8. You made a very wise, yet difficult choice.
    I indulge my addiction every month; I have a fragrance allowance, bless my hubby,so I am able to back-up scents I love, buy ones I used to love, but very rarely do I buy new ones. I occasionally do a sample order from Luckyscent, that way I can try some of the fragrances you have reviewed, as well as ones Ida has (God how I love Ida), and occasionally find ones I will save up for in the future, such as Liz Moores’ Papillon line, Anubis and Spell 125, both of which are gorgeous.
    I would never buy a scent unsmelt, unless you suggest it, which I did with the Caron 90’s Fleur de Rocaille, so gorgeous!!!
    Blind buys are not my thing. I learnt long ago I am too finicky for most newer scents. I could probably blind buy most things up until the early 90’s, but not after. Modern scents, umless they are expertly done, are lost on me. the synthetics will attack my nose and make me think “Airwick room freshener?” And why the hell would I ever spend $300 US or mor for a room freshener?

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