I need a few lessons in basic Buddhism. One of the main problems with having an extremely busy Day Job and a tendency to go away on long holidays is that it's often difficult to live in the present: I'm either thinking ahead about the million-and-one-things that always need doing, or I'm drifting into nostalgic yearnings for days spent enjoying Nutella beignets on various French beaches. We're often told that an inability to live in the moment is a modern malaise, and I'm certainly not immune to it. Having said all that, today, I'd like to rewind to August again, and, as promised, hold a sample give-away designed to share with you some of the goodies I picked up on my travels.
To set the draw in some sort of context, I shall take my cue from the notion that a holiday is made special by individual incidents which, for one reason or another, stay in one's mind for years to come. As far as perfume-related experiences go, there was certainly no shortage of such moments during my recent European adventure.
I remember chuckling to myself on the ferry trip to Calais when I heard the sales assistant informing a customer that the various versions of J'Adore are exactly the same, apart fom the fact that they feature different top notes. I remember walking around a village in the Auvergne and trying to commit to memory the curious, partly-dry, partly-medicinal, partly-earthy odour of fresh hay. I remember deciding that the most prominent smells carried on the Cote d'Azur air were peaches, garlic and the petrol + 2-stroke oil combo of the countless mopeds.
At the Cannes branch of Hermès I discovered a perfume called Voyage (no, not the Voyage d'Hermès we all know) which is, apparently, exclusive to that particular store. In case you're wondering, it was a pleasant mimosa scent which dried down to unremarkable soapiness. At one of the many antiques fairs we went to, I found a bottle of vintage Samsara. I'm quite fond of its current version anyway, but the vintage is much better at conveying the intrinsic good sense of the jasmine/sandalwood/tonka accord. At the workshop of the blotter makers, Scentis, near Grasse, I discovered a veritable history of 20th century perfumery in one man's scrap book collection. (More on this soon...)
And then in Italy... well, I could write several posts about Italy! Firstly, I was struck by the thin representation of Guerlain in the country's branches of Sephora. In France of course, the brand couldn't be more prominent, but I guess Italians aren't as interested in grand dames like Mitsouko and Vol De Nuit. In fact, it wasn't at all unusual to find not a single bottle of Shalimar or Habit Rouge in Italian Sephoras, something that would be unthinkable just across the border. In Venice, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate a perfumery called Bertolone which, I was assured, stocked a wide range of niche scents. I did eventually track it down, only to discover that it was on its annual closure. However, my aimless wanderings in the city also brought me to Profumeria Ideal, an 84-year old establishment in which the 79-year old proprietress (I swear she didn't look a day over 60) watched with some bemusement when I pounced upon her stock of vintage 3eme Homme De Caron and Monsieur De Givenchy, to name but two. She also couldn't understand why I was interested in the old Diorissimo box in her window (which, sadly, turned out to be empty). "Why do you want an old one?" she asked. "Is it very diverso from the new one?"
Oh dear, I thought to myself, how much time we have got?
But let's not get started on the subject of time. We'd better move on to the give-away...
In order to spread a bit of summer cheer and delay the onset of autumn (Who am I kidding? It's freezing in Britain at the moment.), I would like to offer one lucky Persolaise reader small samples of:
vintage Hiris (from Hermès)
vintage 3eme Homme (from Caron)
vintage Monsieur De Givenchy (from Givenchy)
and Habanita (picked up during my personal tour of the old Molinard factory)
as well as samples of
Hiroshima Mon Amour (from Nez À Nez)
which were reviewed in August.
If you'd like to enter the draw, please read the Terms & Conditions below and leave a comment on the subject of trying to make the most of the time we have.
Give-Away Draw Terms & Conditions:
i) the draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Monday 26th September; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me before Tuesday 4th October to claim the prize, an alternative winner will be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume / perfumery product posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will not be kept on record, nor will it be passed on to any third parties; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfume, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials.