Monday, September 08, 2014

Guilty Pleasure Perfumes

To be honest, I don't really feel guilty about my pleasures, from watching cat videos to perfume or mac & cheese. But some fragrances feel slightly more indulgent and just a tiny bit on the wrong side, which makes them sort of a guilty pleasure for various reasons. Here's my list. What's on yours?

Guerlain Champs Elysées. A few months ago I became the owner of a large amount of the "vintage" EDT. Not the original turn-of-the-20th-century juice but the mid-1990s perfume, the one I absolutely loathed when it first came out, because something about the peach-mimosa didn't sit well with me. I think it made me stay away from peach notes for a very long time. Getting reacquainted with Chapms Elysées after all these years has been an interesting experience. I find it so delightful and perky now--- how could anyone not like it? What were I thinking? Or maybe I stink without knowing?

Dior Addict. I'm quoting myself here, and  I still stand behind my old review: "Dior Addict is a guilty pleasure. It's like a semi-trashy chicklit book or an episode of Giuliana & Bill. You know you shouldn't but it's too much fun. Dior Addict is loud, sweet and has no problem announcing its presence with big and bold notes- citrus, somewhat screechy orange blossom and a big sugary vanilla base with a hint of coconut. It's like a treat you buy on the boardwalk, knowing well it's all empty calories but you enjoy every shameful bite."

Karl Lagerfeld- Chloe (vintage, original). This is my mother's signature scent. I buy her every old bottle I can find, but I do keep a small amount of the vintage extrait and dab a tiny drop every now and then. It feels a bit off, like a little girl experimenting with her mom's lipstick and dresses behind her back, but my mom lives far away and sometimes I just want that familiar scent, a feeling more than "just" a smell.

Guerlain -La Petite Robe Noire 2. It's a flanker of a somewhat questionable fruity-floral that exploited the classic Guerlain bottle. Still, something about this cherry marshmallow hits the right spot. It's also a huge compliment-getter. Go figure.

By Kilian- Love. Speaking of marshmallow and fluffy pink clouds. This is ridiculous, I know, but I ended up using enough samples of this frothy confection to justify buying the travel refills. Funny enough, the only other By Kilian bottle I own is the very grownup Back to Black. I don't know if it's the comfort aspect, the sweet tooth, or simply the need for fun. It's perfect to wear around small children, by the way.

Michael Kors- Michael. This kind-of-trashy tuberose was Kim Kardashian's favorite perfume and the inspiration for her own first eponymous fragrance. This may be reason enough to reconsider my attachment to Michael, but I refuse to let go. It's heaven for tuberose lovers, and I wear just a drop of the extrait, which is somewhat more refined. I promise to warn you if we're about to share a confined space.

Roja Dove- Diaghilev. Oh, how I love Diaghilev! My decant was a gift from a dear and lovely friend, which is reason enough to cherish this stunner. The guilt comes from the price tag that cannot be justified in any way, yet doesn't prevent me from desperately want a bottle.  And from the uncontrollable urge to slap Roja Dove a few times.

Bond No.9- New Haarlem. I bought the bottle long before developing my distaste for the brand, yet I still feel uneasy when I open the box and spray. Longtime readers understand.

Parfum d'Empire- Musc Tonkin. Every time I wear Musc Tonkin an angel loses its wings and falls down.

Photo of Doris Day and friends via Stirred, Straight Up, With a Twist (which in itself is kind of a guilty pleasure).


  1. Ha, I did wonder what that one bond no 9 bottle was doing in your cupboard the other day :-) and how I agree on the Diaghilev, can you give him an extra slap from me, please?
    Great list.

  2. I love Doris and I love Dogs!

    Plus ........ I have just bought a vintage Champs Elysee EDT too!
    I love it ! Its spring here and Champs is the one to spray on in Spring!
    I know its not a popular Guerlain but ..... I don't care!

    I also love old Karl's Chole !!! Its the BEST!

  3. If you really want to extend the guilty pleasure experience, track down Champs-Elysees in extrait strength. I was a naysayer but the parfum is the most glorious thing!! Wonderful article--I went through countless bottles of Addict, all the while thinking it was a bit trashy, but loving it anyway.

  4. I think the one thing I may feel a tiny bit guilty about (but tiny to the point of being microscopic) are some of the *seriously* sweet gourmands in my collection - veering right over into the perfume equivalents of diabetic coma inducing junk foods (past favorites have included some Demeter cookie or fudge scents, a condensed milk scent and their original graham cracker scent - the current graham cracker is worthless). They simply feel necessary from time to time for soothing my triple vata soul (my ayurvedic body type, for which sweet scents work well). I do actually keep them in a completely separate space from all my vintage scents - I somehow think that some of the more cojones busting leathers might be genuinely offended by their presence. :-)

  5. I used up a bottle of Champs Elysees years ago. I still really like and wear Addict from time to time, and I used up a small roll-on of Michael. I guess my "guilt" falls more into the skank category than the sweet. I still love and wear Alexander McQueen Kingdom...mmmmm. Also, I still am a little hesitant to wear Bandit in public. I love the scent, and do wear it, but...well, maybe it's a Southern Lady thing! Oh, and to me, it really does smell like what it's supposed to smell like there's that. Fun article.

  6. I am love wearing Love and do not consider it a guilty pleasure. Both Love and Back To Black are by far my favorite Kilians. My favorite guilty pleasure is Miss Dior Le Parfum. Cybele

  7. This is something I'm curious about. You mention your mom's signature scent. Do you have anything you consider your signature scent? It seems like with your collection that would be hard to do! I don't get it myself...why would I want to smell the same day after day after day? How do feel about the concept of signature scent?


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