La Collection Revisited or My Dad's House

27th January, 2006

Sometime during the first week of April, 2006, I will return to the United States and leave behind the Land of the Rising Sun. This is not an easy thing to do: I have lived here for nearly 4 years and to be blunt about it, the experience has in many ways saved my life. It’s been an interesting journey, as hopefully all journeys will be, and it’s funny to think back to the beginning, my first 6 months living here: I did absolutely no swapping or selling of fragrances during that time. However, since then…I’ve lost all constraint. So how exactly does one go about relocating a fragrance collection that would make Ms. Marcos drool with appreciation?

Easy – you have your family turn their home into a warehouse and slowly swap away all your fragrances, having the new items sent to the land of relocation. It works something like this:

My friend Deb wants something from my list or vice versa. I send her the item from Japan, she sends her item to my Dad’s house.

Or…I see something on eBay that I simply must have, though chances are I have no idea what the hell it actually is, and I bid on it, snipe it, and have it sent to my Dad’s house.

Or…my odious, cruel, evil friends at Basenotes tell me about a sale at Beautyhabit which of course prompts me to find something I don’t need, purchase it, and have it sent to my Dad’s house.

A word about my Dad’s house: Dad lives in Florida. He tells me one day while chatting on the phone, “I’m putting the packages out in the garage on a shelf.” I gasp with shock and explain, “Ummm, you can’t do that because the heat will kill them.” “The garage is air conditioned,” he chuckles. “Ok, but a shelf is near the ceiling and everyone knows that hot air rises, which means that it might be best to just keep them in the closet on the floor in the guest room,” I plea.

Dad sends weekly email updates that look something like this:




A week later I get a phone call from my Dad’s wife, “Your father threw his back out today moving one of your packages.”

My friend Deb sends the following message, “Ok, you can have my Keiko Mecheri’s and I’ll ship them to your Dad’s house, but just one question – when you get home, what’s the first thing you are gonna do? Kiss Dad? Unpack? Or start to open your packages?”

A word about these packages: Though I live in Japan, I try to get back to the states once a year and usually I stay at my Dad’s house. In the past I’ve arrived around midnight, let myself in, gone to the guest room, opened the guest room closet and found cardboard boxes of various origin and size piled about half way up the wall. I pour myself a drink, turn on the television and dig into what has become my new “Xmas comes everyday” routine and open the packages. After about an hour, jetlagged beyond all recognition, I’ve gotten buzzed from my drink and high from sniffing the 307 perfumes now scattered around me and pass out. I wake up the next morning in a mess that looks as if a bomb had exploded and am told that the cleaning lady will be arriving in 10 minutes, which of course is Jewish for “we have to clean the house before the cleaning lady gets here.”

Recently, Dad and his family have told me that they are going to sell their house to Nordstroms to make a special annex for the fragrance department. I’m not sure they were joking. If they weren’t, I just so happen to have a set of plans right here…

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About the author: Marlen Harrison

Dr Marlen Harrison is the perfumer/owner of King’s Palace Perfumery, as well as creator/editor of, founded in 2006. As well as Basenotes, Harrison has contributed to Fragrantica, NowSmellThis, BeautyAddictMag and The Washington Blade.


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    • The Bark | 29th January 2006 03:13

      Just curious--what's the name of the fragrance in the green bottle with the horse's head?

    • scenteur7 | 29th January 2006 11:01

      Pierre Cardin Centaure Fougere : )

    • castorpollux | 1st February 2006 14:19

      Very entertaining article! Thank you so much! I wanna go to Japan sooo do you use your frags, i mean do you spray more than twice in a day? use 2 or +frags a day? you have so many that it might be very difficult to even finish a single bottle!

    • scenteur7 | 1st February 2006 22:47

      Hey Castor, thanks for the kudos...On average I use fragrance 2-3 times a day: Once in the morning, a refresher in the afternoon, and then again in the evening before bed. And no, I, myself have never actually finished a whole bottle!

    • godzilla | 3rd February 2006 03:34


      Me curious too !   ;D

      Vendetta, and DK Men (Fuel) I recognize instantly.

         o  But is that a Patou Prive Pour Homme I see?

         o  What is the one in red?

         o  What is the tall white one (next to Vendetta)?

      By the way Marlen, have you had a chance to ride the bullet train (500 Kph) in Japan yet?

      Check out the video:

    • scenteur7 | 4th February 2006 00:23

      Ok, from left to right:

      • 6 boxes of Perfume Oils from a Singapore company

      • KORS by Michael Kors

      • SJP Lovely (in my hand)

      • Pierre Cardin Centaure Cuir Fougere (green bottle)

      • Patou Pour Homme (small rectangle)

      • Donna Karan Parfum

      • Azarro Oh La La (box), bottle in my right hand)

      • DK Fuel

      • Valentino Vendetta Homme

      • Balenciaga Homme

      • Respective boxes

      And actually, I took the Shinkansen or bullet train yesterday, spending the weekend in Tokyo! Really not so different from a regular train, but much smoother.

    • godzilla | 4th February 2006 00:54

      [size=16]Thanks Marlen. Would you mind briefly summarizing the Azzaro Oh La La?

    • scenteur7 | 6th February 2006 02:01


      This should help:

      It`s a fruit and woods scent with lower notes of almond and vanilla. The overall effect is to imitate a glass of champagne - a little sweet, a little woodsy, a little bubbly...It`s definitely not a strong floral and works well on me as a man in my opinion...especially as the sweetness subsides and the warmer notes appear.

      Hope this helps!


    • godzilla | 6th February 2006 05:23

      [size=16]Thanks for the description Marlen. It certainly has one of the most unique bottles I've come across with.

    • FragranceFan2663 | 23rd February 2006 17:34


      I just want you to know, that I am in love with you and your writing style ;D!!! I am also a fragrance junkie( a mere 300+ bottles), but your literary talent makes me swoon!!! Good luck in all that you endeavor and I'll be anxiously awaiting your novel. Put me on the list! :)

      Thanks for the laughs always,

      Chelsea / Quizzy

    • scenteur7 | 23rd February 2006 22:26


      I just want you to know, that I am in love with you and your writing style ;D!!! I am also a fragrance junkie( a mere 300+ bottles), but your literary talent makes me swoon!!! Good luck in all that you endeavor and I'll be anxiously awaiting your novel. Put me on the list! :)

      Thanks for the laughs always,

      Chelsea / Quizzy[/quote]

      Well, gosh...I'm blushing! Thanks for the warm words of encouragement!