Moving to a new country in a very short time is not easy. One has to be selective and comprehensive. I decided to take with me only a handful of bottles and leave my behemoth of a collection behind. Truth be told, it seems that I have finally reached that stage in my perfume trajectory where the need for downsizing is very real. The rationale behind choosing the bottles I took with me proved to be very different from what I expected or from what one expects in the “desert island” situation.
First of all, my Serge Lutens bell bottles are out of the question, as well as my beloved Aromatics Elixir Perfumer’s Reserve, simply because I do not trust they will travel well. Their old fashioned glass stoppers are an airplane accident waiting to happen. Low pressure in the luggage compartment is a guarantee of the stoppers popping off and your clothes being scented with a cacophonous cocktail of juices for many washes to come. In fact the tighter one squeezes the glass stopper, the higher the pressure will be inside the bottle and the surer disaster will be once the aircraft reaches high altitude. So practicality is one aspect of the desert island situation I never saw coming.
On the other hand, My other first love, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, made it easily to the “top 7” of the bottles I chose. There is always something comforting in the elegant, classic an understated creations from this house. Once one gets over the weird openings, drydowns are really hard to resist. And I find this obligatory initiation process in the development of these scents a big part of their attraction. If you can stick around till all rough edges have been smoothed over, you get a big reward. I see this as a metaphor for life as well. I decided to bring with me Route du Vetiver but I chose the current version, because as much as I love the older one, I believe that the current version is an overlooked classic. If one tries to picture Encre Noire as a sub-classification of vetiver fragrances, a clean but dark one, then Route du Vetiver is the one fragrance that created this genre. The current version incorporates a dollop of musk and a load of white florals that have never been coupled with vetiver in such an imaginative and evocative way. The debonair vetiver is born and a scent for all times is out there for those who can stir clear of clichés.
From Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier I also packed Iris Bleu Gris for its genuine iris qualities and versatility. I couldn’t refuse to pack Ambre Precieux, the only amber-centric perfume I wear with pleasure, and Santal Noble, the most unique sandalwood-centric perfume out there. It is constructed around Australian Sandalwood as far as my research has revealed, not Mysiore sandalwood, but it represents an elegant and somewhat aloof version of this woody note, unlike any other sandalwood fragrance.
Donna Karan Fuel for Men was a spontaneous choice, not only because the new bottle travels very well, but also because there is something very comforting and luxurious to this scent. It is warm and soft like a cashmere blanket and at the same time, it can offer the opulence of leather. Don’t listen to people who complain about the re-release, it is practically identical to the vintage version and definitely worth looking for.
In the same vein, Myrrhe Ardente made the trip to Geneva, thanks to its amazing warmth and longevity, It is one of the few perfumes I can still smell on me hours after initial application and the cloud that surrounds me is filled with warm woods and icing sugar. This was also a birthday gift from my sister so it holds a special place in my collection.
Last but not least, I also packed Paper Passion, the fruit of the collaboration of Steidl publishing house, perfumer Geza Schoen, Wallpaper magazine and Karl Lagerfeld’s artistic direction. I could not leave this behind as it was a gift from my SO and I need to have things that remind me of what I left behind in Athens and give strength to go on. I only wish someone could bottle the smell of Toupée’s fur for me to carry with me, on me.
This “treasure island” situation proved to me that when faced with the dilemma of extreme downsizing of my collection, I turned to softness, balance, versatility and emotion. The final list was very different from what I had imagined it to be but I am very happy with it. It keeps me warm and comfortable, surrounded with love and dreams.
MemoryOfScent by Christos Karageorgos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.