The B Day wishlist


If wishes were fishes, we’d all throw nets in the sea…

In an ideal world, birthdays would always be special occasions to celebrate each other. Birthday parties would always turn out perfect, presents would always be perfectly chosen, and everyone would leave happy and stuffed with cake and goodwill towards man – and woman. Rather than look into the mirror every morning with something akin to terror, our most beautiful selves would beam right back at us, every day and every birthday.

And I am the Queen of Roumania.

Two days from now, That Day will arrive, the day I dread more than any other day in the year, dread it with a leaden heart and a leaden sense of dread. The day. The B day. The day I’d prefer to stay in bed with the covers over my head and just forget about the whole darn thing. I’ll happily remind anyone within earshot that it’s also Shakespeare’s birthday and even recite several words of deathless prose, or that Max Planck – who invented quantum physics – and Shirley Temple have a birthday, too. Me…fugeddaboudit! It’s just a day, and the sooner it’s over with, the better!

But I can dream…I can park those childish expectations in a corner and dream of all the grown-up things I wish I could have for a birthday in that best of all possible worlds in my imagination. Just don’t forget the cake!

To make my birthday perfume wishlist, a perfume has to be…very special, simply because ever after, I’ll associate it with that day, and not everything I try makes the list, even if I like it. Here are the ones that do – this year at least!

In My Dreams, Maybe

Amouage Ubar.
It hasn’t happened often – in fact, I can’t remember if it ever did – that a perfume made me cry, but Ubar did. For no other reason than I find it so breathtakingly beautiful, it breaks my heart.
Once, I laughed off Amouage for being overpriced and overhyped. That won’t happen again, since the three I’ve tried so far – Ubar, Epic Woman and Lyric Woman – have been flawless liquid artistry in a bottle, and although one was not for me, the other two are staggering. Epic can wait a while longer. Ubar can’t. I used to think they don’t make ‘perfume’ any more. Was I ever wrong! And they inspired three stories, which are among the better things I’ve written in my life.

One of everything:
Ormonde Jayne Tolu and Orris Noir.
I can’t decide. I want them both. I want them NOW. In every possible permutation, in any way I can. Tolu is smooth as satinwood, Orris Noir is quite possibly the Greatest Iris Ever Created. They last and last and last, and never make me feel less than perfectly happy and drop-dead sexy (Orris Noir is swoon-worthy) in my skin.
With the birthday I can look forward to, the importance of ‘happy’ can’t be underestimated. Don’t get me started on drop-dead sexy…

Serge Lutens Boxeuses and Ambre Sultan
If ever one perfume house were responsible for my slippery slide into ‘fanatic ‘fumehead’ status, it would be Serge Lutens. Uncle Serge has a lot to answer for. Challenging, shape-shifter scents that unfold like Proust novels, with layers and layers of meaning and evolution. Boxeuses should be everything I dislike in perfume – the complete antithesis of the green-chypre-anti-floral me. Instead, it’s one of the best leathers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
Ambre Sultan – well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said a zillion times? I hate amber. I mean…I HATE amber. Too sweet, too heady, too obvious, too…much. Blergh! And then I met this amber, and it was over. I’ve graduated to another amber (Olympic Amber, by the severely under-rated Doc Elly of Olympic Orchids) that really floats my boat, but Ambre Sultan is my personal Khadine, my Empress of ambers. That bell jar can’t happen fast enough. And my decant is on its last sprays. I may cry.

Robert Piguet Bandit
Before I became “sophisticated” – or else just a raging, demanding, perfumoholic snob – my favorite perfume family of all time was undoubtedly anything containing galbanum, orris and an oakmoss base. Green chypres, in other words, ruled my world, and they still get a lot of love.
I remembered Bandit from my wilder single days, so when opportunity came knocking, I was very much looking forward to trying it again. Reformulated, yes, but not so you’d notice, drop the bottle and scream in outrage. Audacious, outrageous and bold, and she’s gotta have it, yes she does. I like to think of Bandit as my metaphorical riding crop for keeping the rest of the world in line…Now, if only I could rustle up the courage to try Fracas…

Andy Tauer Incense Extrème and Orange Star
Saying this with the supreme arrogance that comes with only having tried two of his line, I’ll say it again. Andy Tauer is a genius.
One of the greatest incenses ever, and one of the greatest orange/orange blossoms in the history of perfume, and when it comes to orange blossom and my love of orange, that says a lot. Two samples of Zeta are on their way, and I can’t wait to try them, either. Put me out of my misery and get me one of each, please. Or if you could, just one of everything! Who loves you, Andy? I do!

In the Real World
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Antiu/Sousinon – 1000 Lilies
I can think of not a few lines I have yet to experience. Anything L’Artisan, Neil Morris, most Byredos. Odin NY, Xerjoff. Natural perfumers such as Joanne Bassett, Lord’s Jester, Sonoma Scent Studio, Aftelier…That’s what a sense of adventure is for, right? But of all those untried discoveries to make, one independent perfumer intrigues me no end – Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. For an exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, Dawn recreated several perfumes based on recipes from ancient Egypt. Of all of these, two in particular stand out and loom large in my imagination: Antiu and Sosinon – 1000 Lilies. Antiu is galbanum based, and I worship and adore galbanum. I’ve entered a draw on Dawn’s blog for a bottle of Antiu, and I have big hopes for this one.
Then, there is…Sousinon – 1000 Lilies. Lilies – not Casablanca nor stargazer lilies but Easter or Madonna lilies are my favorite flowers. A very long time ago, Laura Biagiotti created a scent called ‘Fiori Bianchi’, which was one of the truest representations of Madonna lilies ever made. I went through five 50 ml bottles, and if that’s not l-o-v-e…According to the lovely Olfactoria, whose judgment I trust, Sousinon is a very true Madonna lily scent, which is right about where Dawn Spencer Hurwitz had me. Madonna lily? Did someone say…Madonna lily? Sousinon was used to perfume Cleopatra’s sails as she sailed down the Nile. If it was good enough for Cleopatra’s sails, it’s good enough to propel me down the Nile of my own life…Crocodiles, be warned!

Olympic Orchids’ Golden Cattleya
As my blog posts attest, I can’t say enough hyperbole about Doc Elly’s creations. Every single one I’ve tried has been meticulously constructed and executed with all due care, and all of them – even the ones I can’t wear or aren’t me – are beautiful. Light as air or crystal solid, there’s not a bad one in the bunch. I have four on my personal wishlist, and of those four, Golden Cattleya takes the cake. It’s an orchid! It’s orange! And vanilla, sandalwood and a whole lot else besides. I’m in love.

Die before trying…
I hope this won’t happen, but nevertheless, there are a few I’d kill to try. Amouage Dia, Gold, Reflection Woman, Jubilation XXV – bring ‘em on! Who knows what stories they may tell? Odin NY 04-Petrana. It’s an iris. It’s a black iris. It’s something I must try…Tabac Blond. Lord’s Jester Daphne. And…

What else? A new MacBook Pro to replace my geriatric PowerBook, all the great books I have yet to read, an agent and a publisher, my Devil wrapped up in puff pastry and chocolate ganache…:)

Because if my nearly forty-eight years have taught me anything, it’s the wisdom of that ancient admonition…

Be careful what you wish for! You will get it!

About the image: I have a nickname at work. They call me the Dragon! Since I do know how to fly and have been known to spit fire at not much provocation! And that dragon…is a cake, if you can believe it. It seemed to fit…

18 thoughts on “The B Day wishlist

  1. I know what you mean about wanting to stay in bed and ignore a birthday, I am the same, but still – Congratulations, dearest T, I am happy you are in my life, if only virtually.
    I wish I could gift you with all the wonderful things on your list!
    But one of these days a publisher will be happy to having found you and you'll be steeped in all the perfume you want for the remainder of your days, not least of all the then famous Devil's scent by Doc Elly. 🙂

  2. A cake! Amazing stuff.
    I hope that as many of your wishes as possible will come true.
    Have a happy one, even if in bed ignoring it 😉

  3. Oh dear Tarleisio… birthdays are GOOD. Especially compared to the alternative.

    Susinon is absolutely gorgeous, isn't it? I am strongly tempted by the half-ounce of parfum for $75. If it's still on sale. However, I need to either replace the broken screen on my laptop, or the entire laptop… so no lilies for me. Pout.

    Wishing you cake, and one of everything on your list (including the MACbook!), plus a publisher.

  4. Darling B, I can say in all honesty and with perfect sincerity that I am so very, very glad to have you in my life – virtually or otherwise! If I ever do get myself to Vienna – one of my favorite cities, I'll have you know – you are in somuch trouble! 😉

    You can't get me everything on my wishlist, and that's OK – that's what aspirations are for!

    But you've already given me something infinitely more precious – your friendship, a fellowship of 'fumeheads (to use Carrie's phrase), and not least, many adventures in perfume I might not otherwise have had – or known about.

    And the Devil's scent is on my agenda these holidays when I'm trying to catch up on backlog. he left me note stating he'd be by one of these days…;)

  5. Muse…yes, birthdays can be good, especially, as you so rightly pointed out, compared to the alternative! Whatever happens, will happen! But I have to say it, Sousinon would make me very, very happy! So would a really decadent cake…

  6. I can relat to the decreasing fun of birthdays, but I second (or third) that the alternative is worse. And yesterday I spent the entire day with old girl friends ranging from 43-48 – and I can tell you that the zest for life and its offerings hasn't been curbed. A lof of experience under the belt (happy and unhappy) but stil going strong.

    And so are you!

    You share a birthday with Shakespeare – how cool is that for a writer like yourself!

    I share mine with D-day in France in 1944. Some might find that very fitting 😉 Oh, and there's Björn Borg, if anyone remembers him.

    If by Jubilation XV you actually mean XV and not 25 I can help you out. I have a sample of it from Les Senteurs. Have worn it once, but it is too something-or-other for me. If you want it, just let me know.

  7. Happy Birthday, Tarlesio! And listen to me…don't you dare stay in bed and cover up your head on your birthday (unless you've got that sexy Scorpio man of yours under the covers. That's a different story then.) Seriously, the forties is a great decade to be in…you have probably more freedom and confidence than you did in your twenties and thirties, and in your forties you can still look and feel great, which you do.

    I'm going to grant a couple of your birthday wishes and send you some samples of Odin 04 Petrana and Tabac Blond extrait. (Sorry, it's not vintage extrait, but I think you'll like it.)

    I hope this will be motivation for you to go out and celebrate. 😉

  8. Marie – you're right, of course. The alternative is much, much worse! Thank you for your birthday wishes!

    The good thing about growing older is…yes, more confidence and no less zest for life – if anything rather the reverse! 😉 The bad thing…well…it all heads south eventually no matter what I do!

    It is pretty neat to share a birthday with my favorite, favorite writer/playwright/poet – read Shakespeare, and you find every aspect of humanity – the good, the bad, the horrific…

    Whereas you – a Gemini! – share yours with D-day…LOL…and that rather dishy former father-in-law who wore Mouchoir de Monsieur! (Now you know!)

    The Jubilation…Ah, yes. So far as I know, it's the Jubilation created in honor of Amouage's 25th anniversary…and my curiosity is killing me! I expect a but 'much'. It's Amouage, after all. I'll send you an email!

  9. Suzanne, you lovely, lovely woman! (And my suspected scent twin in several respects!) You're right – there's still a lot to look forward to and a LOT…of life left! 😀

    I'm working on the under-the covers…:)

    Not only that – you're granting me a birthday wish or two! ! 😀 You just know what happens next, don't you?

    I'll write about them! And that's a promise!

  10. Frida, you fabulous woman! Thank you so, so much for all your birthday wishes, too! You DO know it's a bad case of Mutual Admiration Society, right? 🙂 And I'm sending you a whole lot of…XOXOXO – right back at ya!

  11. Happy birthday1 Your posts are wonderful gifts to us every time. Today I had a festival of Parfumerie Generale, and I think that next it might be a line for you to investigate. I expect you will believe you've died and gone to heaven. My b'day present to you, that suggestion…

    Love those stories!

  12. Ok, I'm back as promised.
    Dear tarleisio,
    Happy Birthday! I wish you to be healthy to enjoy all the wishes that people sent you from this post or in real life for when they all (wishes) will come true – and I really hope they will.

  13. Lucy, thank you for all your birthday wishes – and even Parfumerie Generale, and with the exception of Felanilla (coming up for review in the future), no, I haven't had the honor – yet! 🙂 Surely that shall be amended some time soon! I'm so glad you like my stories. I'm a fan of yours, too! 🙂

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