Monday, May 18, 2009


About a year ago, I went to my favourite local haunt - down the block, seriously tiny, though somehow it sells everything on the planet - and discovered Pivoine by Esteban Paris Parfum. I'm inevitably drawn to florals (what a surprise) with a hint of green chypre. For example, Chanel 19 has been my signature perfume since I was 14, though I fear I may be on the cusp of outgrowing it (it's a very youthful scent).

At any rate, I do love a chic floral, as long as it's natural-smelling and not banal, which is where the mossy chypre comes in. I bought the Pivoine and wore it happily until it was gone, assuming it was a one-bottle experience. (I like to rotate through a well-edited sampler of scents - many of which are momentary, though I enjoy them while they last.)

But here's the thing. I finished it about 2 months ago. Since then, I've reached for it numerous mornings, while searching for something elegant (but not overpowering), sexy (but not girly) and optimistic. Apparently, none of my other perfumes is quite hitting the mark.

Don't get me wrong, I love my 19 (Chanel), Iris Nobile (Aqua di Parma), Bluebell (Penhaligon), Bryant Park (Bond No. 9), Terre d' (Hermes) and even the cusp-of-synthetic Musk (Body Shop). But Pivoine filled a niche, just right, and I've decided that it might be a staple.

This sparked a consideration of how my acquisition patterns and motivations have changed over the past few years. I've always been brand loyal (till I'm not) so it isn't unusual for me to buy the same line of lingerie or t-shirts or chocolate or jeans, year in and year out. I mean, the fact that I have had a signature perfume since adolescence is a sign that I am motivated by constancy - and that I know my own tastes.

And yet, as I near my forties, I feel such conviction about the correctness of any particular purchase. Increasingly, the procurement experience - and the trigger of long-standing associations - cinches the sale. I buy much less than I used to but, what I do buy, is a memory in the making - an enjoyment as I go about my day, occasionally reflecting on thing x or y or zed.

I suppose you're not surprised to learn that I went back to the haunt and snatched up another bottle of the Esteban on my walk home from work. Sprayed some on my wrist for good measure. Delightfully, it was just as I remembered.


  1. What a lovely post and what a sophisticated list of perfumes you wear!

  2. I definitely need to see if I can find it somewhere. I've been on a the hunt for a new fragrance for a while now..

  3. How interesting. I have not heard of this house, although that is not surprising. It sounds like you have a signature style of perfume, even if one signature perfume cannot capture all the right moods.

  4. I have long been a fig fragrance lover but recently I tried Jo Omallone's orange blossom and I am smitten. I worry that I am over 40 that this fragrance is too young and sweet for me.
    I may relent an buy the orange blossom but I will never give up my L'artisan fig. It is like a friend that I will always love. But, new friends are fun too.
    Enjoy your Esteban!!

  5. Oh,i'm sure you really like perfumes.Base on your list,you have a great taste in terms of perfumes.=) thanks for sharing your list,now i can buy at least one for my sister.=) Have a great day.=)

    A Writers Den
    The Brown Mestizo

  6. Seems like you really love perfumes and you had a great style on those.;D

    Travel and Living

  7. Fab: Thank you! (I love to think of myself as a sophisticated lady!)

    Deep: I think you can order from the website, if nothing else...

    Mardel: I'd never heard of it either. They do other products quite successfully in Europe, if I'm not mistaken. Not much presence in NA.

    Bel: I love that orange Jo Malone scent. Very light and beautiful. Perfect for California, actually. I don't think it's too youthful. Fruit scents have a joyful high note to them that defies age.

    Summer: Glad to hear it!

    Solo: Thanks so much!

  8. There is nothing wrong with consistency. And since we buy fragrance for ourselves, why not evoke youth? I am planning on buying Paris on my next duty free excursion. it will remind me of shopping in The Big Smoke with I.Mike.

  9. ~h: That's terrible. I find "orient", spicy scents do that with me. Or really synthetic concoctions. I don't love the packaging, strangely, that's my least fave aspect. I don't think it suits the acutal scent of the perfume!

    Hammie: I LOVE Paris! I used to wear it when I was, like, 18 - far too young to pull it off.

  10. K-Line I am digging your list, it opens me up to new labels and fragrances, do you like those which have a heavier oil base?

  11. GJ: I usually stick with eau de toilette - just because it's what I can happily justify spending in more $$$ scent. The oils can be a bit lingering - and tend to come in more spicy fragrance, at least in my experience. What do you think?