Happy Blogoversary, Scent Less Sensibilities!

– or the things I’ve learned in a year…

It was…not a dark and stormy night, but the witching hour between midnight and 1 AM on a quiet, warm and otherwise unremarkable Saturday night. I sat twirling my hair in front of my laptop, working my way through half a bottle of Pinot Gris while I wondered what to do. Writing was obviously out of the question, since after the second glass of wine I had reached that state of being where the world is tinted ever-so-slightly rose. But there was something in the air that midnight hour, a certain restless vibe, some idea on the verge of being born, and all I had to do was to sit still long enough for it to find me.

I know, I thought that night. I can create another blog. At the time, I was wrestling with the last chapters of Quantum Demonology, and I needed a break away from rock’n’roll, the end of Heaven and Hell, heartbreak and the Devil, I needed something…other, a different kind of writing challenge. I had MoltenMetalMama for my anarcho-feminist and musical musings.

Why not create a perfume blog? I loved perfume, had loved it since childhood, loved and adored it since that day my mother took her 14-year-old maladjusted Geek Girl to Guerlain, Caron and Dior in Paris…and ruined me for life, which was probably her intention.

So that’s what I did that night – created SLS, went to bed and thought no more of it.

This is right about where I wish I could say…famous last words. One year later, there are about 80,000 more of them, all about perfume, the better part of a paperback novel right there!

Last year was also the year I gave myself a present for completing QD – my first ever Serge Lutens bell jar of Fleurs d’Oranger. I saved up for it by foregoing hair dye for nine long months. It makes me deliriously happy to this day.

I began as the poor of purse but rich in intention often do, by reviewing the contents of my own perfume cabinet. All six of them. It happened on two occasions that I slithered into my local perfume shop and sampled something I then would go home and review, since buying anything was out of the question.

When I had reached the point of wondering whether I should just give up the whole idea, something incredible happened.

I won a draw on Doc Elly’s blog and received a lot of samples some time later. Now, I had more to write about, so I did – and in the process, I began to write about perfume in earnest. I realized there was passion as well as artistry in those tiny bottles, and did my best to reflect that in my reviews. Some weren’t ‘me’ precisely, some were purloined by my then husband (Doc Elly, your Olympic Rainforest, Bay Rum and Arizona all have one ardent fan in DK!), but all of them surprised me in the best possible way. If any one perfumer made me a perfume blogger, it would be Doc Elly. For that and several other reasons, Doc Elly and her perfumes have a very special place in my Perfume Pantheon.

Maybe there was hope for perfumery after all, if Doc Elly’s perfumes were any indication?

Next, I invested a fair chunk of change in samples from First in Fragrance, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history…

Lessons I learned along the way:

★ Perfumistas are the most generous beings on the face of the planet. Copenhagen may have one department store and a (very) small handful of boutiques that sell a few niche perfumes, but where I live in the boonies, LVMH rules supreme, and so do fruitchoulis. As well as the credit card I can’t afford yet. If not for the perfumista community’s generosity of spirit, not to mention walloping doses of encouragement from other bloggers and even a creative director, I don’t know how I could have lasted so long. I’ve had a chance to try things I would otherwise never know or could afford to seek out. And most important of all, I’ve made friends along the way. Really, how awesome is that?
★ Joining Twitter is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done for blog-promotion purposes. And oh, the fun I’ve had…
★ The astonishing world of indie perfumers has completely blown my mind, and none more so than Mandy Aftel. I haven’t been bribed to be her press agent, honest. She’s just that good! As is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. These two and their breathtaking perfumes also hold a very special place in my Perfume Pantheon.
★ Never say never. Never rule out a perfume family and never say you hate something when you haven’t tried it – in fact, don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it! There is one exception to this rule. It’s made by Etat Libre d’Orange, and it’s named Secretions Magnifiques. Just take my word for that.
★ When the words for a perfume have eluded me, it usually means the genie in the bottle and I aren’t speaking the same language. Instead, I step away from the computer, reapply and start in longhand in my notebook. This works for other writing, too.
★ If $100 is the new free in the world of niche perfumes, then Serge Lutens and his eponymous creations are the very least of my worries.

The Big Epiphanies

Aftelier. Some of the most amazing perfumes I’ve ever come across, and there have been a few by now. And Mandy Aftel’s Cepes and Tuberose. On any given day, regardless of whatever else I’m wearing, you will find a tiny dab of C&T somewhere on my person, if I don’t just dab it all over and call it a good day. It has simply become that…important. My perfume mojo goes where I do.
Amouage. You know it’s good when perfume makes you cry. Three Amouage creations have made me bawl with their beauty. The evening I wrote ‘Silver and Black’, I went through an entire pack of pocket Kleenex. Amouage inspires narratives rather than reviews, and the stories they inspire stay with me every time I wear them. When my carefully doled-out samples and teeny decants wear out, I may consider a career change. Bank robbery, for instance. Or writing pulp fiction potboilers that sell in the millions.
Andy Tauer. I’d like to parade him down Fifth Avenue in a sedan chair with the crowd throwing rose petals, but he’ll probably turn them all into Une Rose Vermeillé by the time we get to East 59th Street. Stampedes may ensue.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. For no other reason than ‘Vert Pour Madame’, but then I was gifted with ‘1000 Lilies’, and before I knew it, I had a tidy little collection of DSH samples. Why doesn’t Europe know about her? They will soon enough if I have anything to do with it!
Atelier Cologne. Not a bad one in the bunch. Not one I can’t wear. Not one I can’t love. Not one I don’t want to own. Preferably in liter bottles if possible. But I’ll settle for a Petit Cologne or two…
Ormonde Jayne. Some kinda gorgeous in every bottle, even the (very) few I can’t wear.
★ No substitutes for the classics…I discovered the wonders of Caron’s Tabac Blond, Piguet’s Fracas and rediscovered Bandit. Now, if I could only track down a few precious drops of vintage Vent Vert…
Puredistance Antonia. Such a flawless green throwback, it breaks my heart…
Serge Lutens still rules…just when I get comfortable with my 11 (!) bottle wishlist, the fatal duo of Lutens and Sheldrake do me in again with Vitriol d’Oeillet. Don’t get me started on De Profundiis…
Etat Libre d’Orange may have unleashed Secretions Magnifiques upon the world, but they also gave us Like This, Rossy de Palma, Jasmin et Cigarette, Vraie Blonde, Tom of Finland…
Penhaligon’s Amaranthine. Surely the sexiest kind of strange I’ve ever met.

Discoveries ahead:
★ All the lines I have yet to try…Histoires des Parfums, Parfums d’Empire, Parfumerie Generale, Roja Dove, Patricia de Nicolaï, Keiko Mecheri, Ayala Moriel, Lord’s Jester, Dupetit, Esscentual Alchemy, Roxana Villa, JoAnne Bassett, much more of EnVoyage, Anya’s Garden, Knize, Profumum, Santa Maria Novella, Jovoy…
★ All the classics I need to revisit since I have yet to write about them…L’Heure Bleue, Après L’Ondée, Shalimar, Jicky, Vol de Nuit, Sous le Vent…and that’s just the Guerlains.
★ What I’m excited about…Chanel no. 19 Poudré. Due any day now, even in the boonies. And Serge Lutens’ De Profundiis. Still wondering how I might get to sample it…

Since I began writing about perfume in earnest, my life has changed completely, not just in the perfumes I wear or even love, but in all other aspects, too. I’ve made true-blue friends, I’ve sniffed and worn some spectacular perfumes, and I’ve gained a level of esthetic and sensory appreciation that spills over into other areas, too. I’ve made connections with people I never thought I’d know, never mind actually talk to! I’ve done things I thought I would never do, written reviews I thought I could never write, been bolder than I ever have. All good things in my life this past year have come through perfume – and the fun isn’t anywhere over…yet!

It could never have happened without… Doc Elly, Mandy Aftel, Carrie, JoanElaine, Olfactoria, Dee, Suzanne, Lucy, Ines, Undina, Persolaise, Frida, Carol, CandyPerfumeboy and even Helg of PerfumeShrine, my longtime idol. Anthony of NKDMan gave me a great opportunity and I’m very grateful, and there are not enough words to say how much I adore Christopher Chong for his encouragement and sincere appreciation of my ‘alternative’ approach to perfume reviewing.

It could never have happened without YOU! I had not one reader when I started. Now, I have forty one. Thank YOU…for reading, for commenting, for…appreciating that despite not reviewing like any other bloggers, I still might have something unique to say about a singular passion we all share – perfume!

So what do you say, dear reader? Should we try to see where this takes us in another year?

I’m game! Are you?

Image: A cake in the shape of a perfume bottle. It was the only one that fit!

40 thoughts on “Happy Blogoversary, Scent Less Sensibilities!

  1. Happy blog birthday dear Tarleisio!
    A year really passes by quickly and I'm so happy to see your blog prosper (and your writing too). 🙂
    Btw, twitter is a great tool, I only wish I had more time to use.

    Here's to a lot more years of fragrant writing and friendship! *raises a glass of champagne*

  2. Happy blogoversary! I am a frequent reader of your reviews and have made many a purchase because of them. Thanks for sharing and please keep 'em coming. ♥

  3. Happy blogoversary, darlink!

    I'm so happy we connected in the much-larger-than-I-thought-and-all-the-better-for-it perfume world!

    Here's to another year of fragrant prose; your epics, sagas, odes and memoirs.

    I guess it's good fortune I didn't get to the post office in time yesterday – your list of “Discoveries Ahead” happens to correlate wonderfully with my collection. Looks like a few blogoversary surprises are in store for you! 😉

  4. Happy Anniversary, my dear Tarl!!! I am MORE than game – you are an amazing blogger, and am soo happy you're here in this realm, and that we're fumie friends!!

  5. Congratulations, and many more such writing years to come. You bring spirit and enthusiasm and energy to your sheer appreciation of perfume beauty. It re-inspires me too every time you find something you love.

  6. I'm so glad to have found another magickal person to read! Bloggers do with words what we do with the perfumes. Evoke and Create a mood. Share the innermost part of our souls with the world.

    I'm very grateful to be able to find kindred spirits in this creative artform.

    Here's to many more happy and wonderful years of blogging!


  7. What a superbly loving post, Tarleisio. I have no doubt that's the reason so much love is finding its way back to you — and why it circulates so well and good among our commuity of perfumistas! Happy Blogoversary to you!!! xxoo

  8. Congratulations Sheila on your accomplished year, I am so thankful for your perfume writing! It is inspired and inspiring – really precious to me to have you share such deep insight into my work. Mandy

  9. Dearest Sheila, you are a treasure to me, one I was lucky enough to have unearthed by chance because of a photograph of a certain Devil and my over-protective instincts for him. Contained within that ridiculous effort to defend the privacy of a legend, was the essence of luck. I connected with you, and you have turned out to be one of my greatest friends and supporters, worthy of all of my respect and trust, and deserving of all the wonderful things that life has to offer, no less than that. I've no doubt that this next year for SLS will be even better, more fruitful and more beautiful than I can even fathom!

  10. Ines, it is entirely fitting that my very first Great Facilitator – who bribed me with Boxeuses! 😉 – would be the first to comment on the anniversary blog! I'll raise my celebration glass in a toast to you and say…here's to twice the fun ahead! 🙂

  11. Bellatrix – I have to say it, if you've read through all of my blog posts here, then you are a VERY dedicated reader! Thank you!

    Why stop now, just when the fun is starting? 🙂

  12. I can't believe it, Denise! Are you saying I actually inspired not just a lemming, but a definite urge? :-O
    I'm quite shocked! As well as ..delighted, too!

    Keep 'em coming? You betcha! 🙂

  13. JoanElaine…dahling! – you were always a fan and this is the total Mutual Admiration Society!

    Oh boy! I know of one thing you said you'd send, but then you said something about those discoveries, and now, that mailman is toast…;)

    Just do please remember – that it could all never have happened without you! Besides, it would not have been nearly so much fun! XOXO

  14. Frida, baby…we'll always be friends, and that's a threat! 😉 But you were another great inspiration for me and my purple perfumed prose . and you always will be!

  15. Lucy – I owe a particular debt to you as you know, and the best that I could hope for was to repay the only way I could – with my words. If I've inspired you, it's only because your own words inspired me, too – and that's what makes the perfumosphere such a wonderful place to be!

  16. Amanda, how wonderful to see you here! I'm so glad you've liked my writing enough to keep reading, because the first year is always the hardest!

    I conjure the genies out of the bottles as best I can – and hope they speak not just to me but to my readers. I'm so infinitely glad you're one of them – here's to all the words ahead and the perfumes to go with them!

  17. Suzanne, my fragrant, fated Scent Twin, you have put me on the road to perfume perdition more than once you know…and for all that bottled love you've sent, the least I can do is pass it on! It can surely be no coincidence that 'give' rhymes with 'live'! Stick around, my friend – there's so much more ahead of us! 🙂

  18. Mandy…Once upon a time not so long ago, a very famous, much celebrated perfumer told me that to 'inspire' means…to breathe in… So that's all I did, and everything followed from there! What has been infinitely precious to me was to be given the opportunity to appreciate those deep, fragrant breaths, and follow their trail of treasures to the words they showed me. Inspiration is precious, because the best kind creates synergy – and you've inspired that, too! Thank you! XOXO

  19. Thomas, how wonderful to see you here! Well, as I said to JoanElaine, it's a mutual admiration thing! Howsoever we choose to show it! You make my days brighter in two places – on your blog and in the Twittersphere, and for that, too, I thank you!

  20. OMG, Carrie…I remember that…It seems so long ago and it wasn't really! But it turns out we have more than one passion in common…;)

    Serendipity and luck were surely working their mischievous magic, because now, I could not envision a life that didn't have you in it …to celebrate our common passions, and to celebrate a friendship that grew out of a definite and most emphatic verbal spank! 😉

    I'll raise another glass of blogoversary champagne and toast all the fun – and all the perfumes – we'll share in the times to come!

  21. Tarleisio, congratulations on completing your first year of blogging, and best wishes for many more to come! I had no idea you had been blogging for such a short time, or that I was somehow instrumental in getting you hooked on perfume in a big way.

    Speaking of the Devil, we need to get that project back on track. I'll raise my champagne glass (actually, it's mint tea) to your blog and future collaborations!

  22. Congratulations on this first year! 🙂

    I love your posts, and this one has been great!

    I hope you continue disconvering wonderful scents and writing about them (so sharing with us).

    Thank you!

  23. I am late to the party, but so happy to be able to say congratulations and here's to another amazing year! It is always a treat to read your posts, so thank you for writing and sharing them with us.

  24. (Hey, I have internet now, after an outage!)

    Happy blog birthday to you, and I wish you many more. Which is really a gift to your readers… and I thank you.

    THAT is cake?? Beautimous.

  25. Was it just a year?!! Wow! See how much you've done in such short time – can you imagine how many more great discoveries are waiting for you to put them into the most beautiful stories? You don't think you've seen it all yet, do you? 😉

    So, of course, bring it on – the next year, more stories, more friends a followers.

    Happy blogoversary, Tarleisio!

  26. Wha? You've only been writing this blog for a year? Impossible! I've been reading your previous posts and enjoying them very much. Your anniversary post is a joy.

    A toast to you, T. and Happy First Blogoversary!

  27. Doc Elly! How great to see you again! I can't say you were the one to start my obsession with perfume, but what I can say is that you've restored my faith in independent perfumers and made my world so much larger because of it! And also…that many of those samples you sent me – all of which I've tried – have either been used to the last drop by yours truly, or gone on to other homes and other lovers…including Bay Rum, Olympic Rainforest and Arizona!

    We'll certainly have more fun ahead! I'll toast you back with my own peppermint ice tea…;)

    Ah, yes, that Devil..now where did I put his email…

  28. Isa – this I can promise you – if the first year is always the hardest, then there are many, many more reviews and words to share in the future! Why stop now?

  29. Muse – well, hello! I'm happy to see you've got your internet back! I'm also very happy to share a passion with a reader – and fellow blogger – such as your most excellent self, too! 🙂

  30. Taffy…yes, I've only been a perfume blogger for a year, hard as it is for even me to believe! I'll confess, though, I've been writing in earnest for a bit longer than that…

  31. Undina…no, I certainly don't think I've seen it all, in fact, I know I haven't! Which is the wonder that keeps me writing about it! Today, tomorrow, and in a year from now! 😉

  32. B, the privilege of friendship should never be unappreciated! Your generous, wonderful self as well as your blog have done so much to restore my own enthusiasm whenever it flagged, and that is yet another privilege! The love is mutual – and our common journey through the worlds we travel is nowhere over yet! Have a happy time in Italy! XOXO

  33. Most sincere congratulations from a most tardy fellow traveler who wishes she lived next door so that she could lean over your back fence daily and tell you how much she admires & looks up to you. 🙂

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