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  1. #1
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    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    When the events of one day make for a whirlwind of memories, how does one proceed to relate them--chronologically, by subject matter, or by emotional impression?
    E
    motionally, I found affection within minutes of my late arrival at Chi-cocoa Scentsation, a group sniffing expedition. The ambitious strategy of sampling scents at seven stores (plus additional opportunities) across the length and breadth of Chicago's Magnificent Mile of shopping still strikes me as some mad sort of sorority hazing.

    Before my nose could meet the challenge, it first had to rise from bed at 4 a.m. and get to the new Amtrak station. Seeing as streets had been rerouted since my last drive to Milwaukee's congested near south side, searching out the station in the dark, in the rain, with an unfoggable windshield proved a wildly stressful start, but I managed to board my train on schedule and pop in earplugs to enjoy podcasts I'd downloaded about sensory deprivation and hallucination (related to sight and sound but provoking wonder about smell) and topical comedy from Public Radio's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." What then should have been a routine commute turned into a 4-hour exercise in patience when, as best as we passengers could ascertain, a sad soul threw themselves in front of our train near Glenview, Illinois. Authorities had to investigate the incident, testimonies had to be taken, and we had to sit while witnessing subsequent trains speeding by us, but we finally got released by the authorities and, after another leg of travel by city bus, I arrived at 900 N. Michigan Ave. where the rest of the group had just partaken of L'Artisan Parfumeur's hospitality. Event coordinator Anita brought me up to speed, and our troop strode out to the Windy City's rainy sidewalks for our 11:00 stop.



    Barneys [ABOVE] displayed an array of brands, but not as diverse a product offering as is available online. Thus, the sampling list I'd composed based on Barneys website, did not correlate to the bottles before me. Not a problem--there were plenty others to try, and Nanadebary Green was there, so I could proselytize about her to others. I applied some Comme des Garcons #3, which, despite its long list of notes, read like simple lemon zest on my skin. I sniffed the very dry woodiness of Hinoki so I'd know what others swoon about. Barney's also had L'Artisan's new Liane, an aquatic melon not too unlike Fresh's Cucumber Baie. The rest of my sisterhood largely bellied up to the Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle showcases.

    I opted out of going to the Chanel boutique next (having visited there last year), instead investing in the more-needed scent, hydration and caffeine of a cafe latte. Then I skipped merrily ahead to Water Tower Place for quick visits to Sephora and The Body Shop before the rest of my moist mobile mob convened for lunch. Foodlife was a superb choice for us--a room for ourselves, ease of personal selection on individual debit cards, and endless good food.

    Shortly after 2:00, C.O. Bigelow welcomed us to their pretty shop. The one Miller Harris I was sort of curious to smell (Fleurs de Sel) was not amongst the MH frags on display, Etro's Shaal Nur or Gomma? Same story as with Barneys: Just because a brand is represented doesn't mean every product will be. That's still okay with me, since these were just idle curiosities. I did find one thing on my checklist: Keiko Mecheri Grenades, a pleasant but unexciting fragrance.

    We slogged on through downpours. By 3:15 we were shaking out our umbrellas at Neiman Marcus for a presentation on the Creed line. Always the errant kid, I instead responded to the glitz of other fragrance counters and learned that Jo Malone's new Dark Amber & Ginger Lily has been so popular it can't be found, that Annick Goutal's Musc Nomade and Neroli didn't speak to my senses, and that I would be encouraged to make my own sample of B de Boucheron. I further embraced the company of a couple charming sales associates who gave off playful vibes rather than the hungry aura of sales commission vampirism I sensed an hour later at Saks. (Guess which store I would prefer to do biz with in the future cuz of that?) Saks' claim to fame is the Armani Prive line whose online descriptions pre-extinguished any flame of interest on my part, and the instore display didn't seem to hold the interest of any of my companions either. I did get sprayed down with every kind of men's and women's Clive Christian fragrance. I think the SA must have taken my "Urn/Spend" perfume t-shirt to mean I was the sort to carry $800 in my hip pocket (heck, I managed to spend less than $8 for lunch).

    Nordstrom's [BELOW] layout offered a welcoming end to our humid shop-hopping. I tried to resist the chocolately hot Mexican coffee provided (but who was I kidding?). We were four days too early to take advantage of Tom Ford's newest releases, so I'll wait to try Purple Patchouli, Japon Noir and Amber Absolute.





    I had to abbreviate the brilliant ending planned for this day--catered yums in a film studio [ABOVE]--in order to snag a bus back to Union Station for the last train back to Milwaukee. After cutting in line for the buffet and snarfing, I forgot to even ask if there were any Liz Zorn or Neil Morris samples on site, so Moulin Rouge and Posh will remain mysteries to explore another day.


    AND THE AWARD GOES TO ...

    BEST PARTY PLANNER: Anita, the lead goose behind whom we all drafted in migration. (I'm appreciative indeed!)

    SWEETEST PERFUMISTA FROM TRANSYLVANIA: Adel, with whom I'd arranged a bottle swap through makeupalley.com just a week ago. Adel lives in Illinois, but her story of immigration and acculturation decorated my day. She will wear my La Chasse aux Papillons much better than I ever could, and my husband got a bottle of Stella Rose Absolute out of the deal. Additionally, Adel gave me a "48-hour" bottle of TDC Osmanthus, a fragrance I'll easily use up (it's fainter and slightly more masculine than Bel Respiro, and suits my frequent minimalistic moods) and the reusable spray bottle I really love.

    BEST PRODUCT FINDS:
    • Rain Spearmint Gum. Adel shared this really long-lasting gum from its chic box. Good stuff.
    • The Body Shop 24-Hour Treatment Lotion with Kinetin: Will see how well it moisturizes this winter, but for now I can tell you it has the mildest green scent.
    • So you're noticing the lack of fragrance raving here, huh? Actually, if I were younger, I might have been interested in Trish McEvoy's new spinoff Sexy #9, but it needs more patchouli and less sweetness to scratch the itch I'm currently satisfying with Yves Rocher Iris Noire. (Thus my interest in NM's Posh and TF's Purple Patch for comparison.) Ralph Lauren's Notorious was better than I expected and a departure from what I think of as RL scents (still, it smells better on paper than on me).

    BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT
    That award goes to B de Boucheron for whom I had the highest hopes. It contains that same synthetic wood/amber note that everyone's using. This must be the molecular recipe that came off patent and proceeded to be used in the basenotes of so many new fragrances. It goes nowhere forever and ever.

    FAVORITE MOMENTS
    • Joking with Hugh, valiant perfumista boyfriend (who would have preferred attending a comic book convention), about the possibilities of a Tim Burton fragrance and the big spray bottle on the counter behind us labeled Laura Mercier Windex. (Could I get a decant of that?)
    • Locating the train station at night along with an older Asian couple from San Francisco, the husband laughing generously when I observed that when you're lost, it doesn't matter where you're from.
    • Mini conversations with a half dozen gals who really touched my heart. I really liked my companions.

    LESSONS LEARNED (or relearned)
    1) Always carry a hand fan (especially a fancy one from a friend, wink-wink) when you travel because it's good for cooling AND drying. Have I impressed upon you the humidity of this day?!
    2) Above class, politics, religion, or fashion sense, fragrance appreciation unites those who don't even share fragrance preferences. And I'm so smart to have infiltrated such a community both online and in person.
    Last edited by Quarry; 15th September 2008 at 08:27 PM. Reason: typo
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Great sniffa' report, Quarry!

    Sorry to hear there weren't too many fascinating frags to be found, but it still sounds like a very fun day (once the awfulness of the commute passed).

    I'm going to the Los Angeles Sniffapalooza in October (it will be my first sniffa'). Your post increased my already high enthusiasm level.
    For sale: JL Scherrer parfum (reduced price) and more!

    "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." ~ Jane Austen

    “Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume” ~ Jean de Boufflers

  3. #3

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks for the report! I was wondering how it went. I'm sorry the weather didn't cooperate and the commute to Chicago was so trying. But it sounds like you had fun and made the best of it!

    I guess you didn't come home with any new scents, then?
    I've trademarked the color bleu

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quarry, what a fantastic recap - it was (almost) as good as being there. Great photos too. Thanks!
    "I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by shadesofbleu View Post
    I guess you didn't come home with any new scents, then?
    Didn't buy any fragrance, but got probably 30 samples given to each of us.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Damn, that sounds like a great day out. Are there ever NYC sniffapaloozas? That's the closest US city to me I can think of...would love to go to one!
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks, Quarry! I enjoyed reading that. We were thinking about you!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by LedByMyNose View Post
    Are there ever NYC sniffapaloozas? That's the closest US city to me I can think of...would love to go to one!
    NYC is where the Sniffapalooza events began. The Fall Ball is in October. Go to the website www.sniffapalooza.com & look into it, if you'd like to know more. We have a lot of fun.

    Quarry, WOW! Sounds like you fought all sorts of odds just to be there but still had a great time. I'm so happy you did! My friend Vida was there. I hope you got to meet her, she's wonderful.
    Too bad about B for Boucheron...what a waste.
    Thank you for your recap & for posting the photos too.
    Last edited by RHM; 15th September 2008 at 09:53 PM.
    RHM's Vintage, Rare & Pretty Darn Good items on offer: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/380...old-Pour-Femme

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quarry! Glad you weren't carried away into the Chicago River by the downpouring deluge of the day! After THAT weather, you won't be seeking out any acquatic or marine scents for awhile!!!

    Thanks for posting that wonderful re-cap of your sniffing extravaganza! I can almost smell you from here!!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks for your great report, Quarry!! Was thinking about you, and it sounds like you had some wonderful hours, after all!

    :brolly: me, green with envy

  11. #11

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    What fun we had, even if we almost had to float down Michigan Ave!

    I didn't realize you had such an adventure getting there, and I'm so glad you DID make it!

    Anita and Shelly really outdid themselves, and the cocktail party was really nice. The bottle swap was a great way to end the night, or maybe it was the salty brownies, or the bowls of chocolates...or the wine...or the gourmet food. Nah, it was all the spirited perfumaholics who were there to share our love of the art!

    Hope this becomes a tradition! (not the Hermes part, though...nor the weather!)
    Last edited by drvrs; 16th September 2008 at 02:47 AM.
    DrVRS (Vidalicious)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks for the update Quarry!

    It's funny, when I went to Barney's (in L.A.) for the first time, I too saw a bottle of Green by Nanadebary and I immediately told the SA who was helping me, 'I know this woman who ADORES this stuff!' and I remember him saying, 'I don't think I've even smelled the tester.' So him and I smelled it together, just because of your positive comments about it here on BN.

    I had no idea Nordstrom's were getting the Tom Ford Private Blends also - interesting....

  13. #13

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks for the entertaining report, Quarry. What a lot you went through to get there! I wonder if they ever have these events in San Francisco. I'm close enough that I'd take the day off and go!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks Quarry for the interesting read Wow sounds like you had a ball!

    Welcome to Basenotes, Drvrs!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    It's always a pleasure to read of the dedication and determination of perfumistas hitting town. So glad you enjoyed yourselves. Thanks for the splendid report.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your sniffage forays and completely agree about how the attitude of the SAs affects one's inclination to buy from somewhere. I ended up buying "n'importe quoi" from a really sweet L'Artisan Parfumeur SA at a department store in Paris, and though with hindsight I think I made a mistake in my choice, the euphoria and excitement of the shopping experience almost made up for it! Conversely, the Chanel SAs consistently brought my mood down whenever I dared cross the portals of one of their boutiques, and I thought to myself: "You're not having my business, even if I had 175 euros to blow".

  17. #17

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Wonderful update, Quarry! Sounds like it was worth all the slogging (love that word, it just sounds water-logged)... And the fancy fan plan is also a winner.
    It’s thought that people who hope too much will just waste their life away and never get down to doing any real work. They’re confusing Hope with Wish, its lazy cousin... When Wish whispers, “Something is just around the corner,” what comes or not is never what was wished for. When Hope whispers “Something is just around the corner,” something always is. -- Charlie Elberson

    My sale thread has some of my underappreciated fragrances looking for a good, new home...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks Quarry for your post! The thought of you trudging through humidity, rain and I'm sure wind (being that it was Chicago) to smell all those fabulous frags in all those fabulous stores warmed my heart

  19. #19

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Coming out of my usual lurkdom to say it was great to meet you, Quarry. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her in person, you are missing out (I'm sure you all knew that already ;-) ). Take care!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quarry,
    What a nice, handy summary of the day, from your POV. (I believe you were not the only one to slip off at least once, and then rejoin.... ) It WAS a great day, wasn't it?

    And I'm with Vida, and you, and everyone else who has commented that ultimately it was the company that made the day so great. What a diverse and delightful and friendly and supportive group that gathered. Nobody could have engineered that...but we all could enjoy it!!

    Big waves and smiles to you, Vida, Moongrrl...am I missing anyone? I can't see the thread at the moment... Hope your trip home was much less eventful than the one down!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Moongrrl, I will remember you and the other girlies long after I've forgotten the perfume. It was the people who made the day special.

    Waves to ScentScelf :wave:. I heard from Adel through MUA, and most folks are posting comments at Perfume Posse. We're kinda all over the place.

    Vida (drvrs), I'm sorry we didn't get any one-on-one, you and I. I gotta allow more time, especially the "after" party kind, if we repeat the Scentsation. The gals at my lunch table heard my pitch for visiting New Orleans (click here for photos/story from my visit). The old perfumeries in the French Quarter there would be a completely different world to from skyscraper romp we just had, and so many beautiful perfumes would be new to your noses.

    I'll post a link here once the Perfume Posse gets their report and pix online. I missed out on a couple of interesting experiences--Getting evicted from Hermes? Running into VP candidate Biden?

    Haunani, the Sniffapalooza group has done at least one west-coaster. I encourage people to organize their own local get-together. I did it last year for Chicago Scent Me (pix & report here).

    I've learned the Amtrak incident appears to be an accident according to this news story.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Getting evicted from Hermes???

    I missed that part, is it detailed on the Posse?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    I really appreciate you taking the time to post about this very noteworthy event, of which I would also love to partake in one day. Outside of the "unfortunate" circumstance and the rain, it looks like you had a great time meeting all those wonderful purfumistas. Love the pics as well! Thanks for the update!

    Welcome to basenotes DRVRS and MOONGRRL. Great to see two new "faces"! :wave:
    "Woe to the one who's love of elixirs, grows into madness"
    :bounce:

  24. #24

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Gosh, you had great fun, with all the sniffin' and the party'ing. Thanks for the report Q, it's almost like actually being there with you and the others.
    I'm simplifying my life. For Sale Thread (some niche, some designer):
    http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=222407

  25. #25

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Hey Moongrrl,

    Have you really been lurking on this site for 38 years? I do recognise your name from another blog though! Nice to see you here.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Patty has posted her photos of the day here.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quarry, what a great time you had in spite of all the contretemps. Thanks for sharing.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Evicted from Hermès?! Haha! That hasn't happened to me yet, I haven't lived!

    Wished I could be there meeting you and all the others, but not only am on the wrong continent, m'girl is having her 'A' levels this year (like next month). So thanks for writing, I am hugging every word!
    "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift;
    that's why they call it the present."

  29. #29
    Lean in closer, dear
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Here's the Perfume Posse recap of the day. You've got to check out the Rima-and-umbrella photo. As a magazine designer, I can say with authority--that's a cover shot!

    http://perfumeposse.com/2008/09/16/t...torms-chicago/
    Last edited by Quarry; 17th September 2008 at 03:43 PM.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by VM I hate civet View Post
    Hey Moongrrl,

    Have you really been lurking on this site for 38 years? I do recognise your name from another blog though! Nice to see you here.
    LOL! I signed up here a couple of years ago, before the last reconfiguration. Maybe there was a glitch? Still, I think this date makes me eligible for longest lurkdom ever. :-)

  31. #31

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    I just wanted to say that I had a good time on the Chi-Cocoa Sensation tour. Being a one of the 3 males, I didn't need much arm twisting to accompany my girlfriend. Being unfamilar with Perfume Posse (hey, I never leave these boards!!!), I was impressed by the ladies' enthusiasm for frags. One of the gals mentioned that she was impressed as to how articulate the Basenotes' reviews were so pat yourself on the back. I'm beginning to think there may be life outside of these boards, but that's going to be our little secret, *wink, wink*.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

    Egon Schiele - Self-Potrait


    My classics: Dior Homme EdT, YSL Rive Gauche PH, Helmut Lang Cuiron, L'Occitane Neroli (vintage), Davidoff Zino, L'Occitane Eau des Baux

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  32. #32

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thank you for the great recap! It felt like reading a glossy mag, but with a twist - I was thinking "wish I could have been there" and "oh, I know where they went!" (having just returned from Chicago myself - not something I could have related to so well even a month ago!).

    I love Watertower Place

    From a sales assistant point of view; I really enjoyed Barneys on my visit. The guys were helpful, fun; still obviously in the business of selling, but chatty and not pushy.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    WHAT CHI-COCOA SCENTSATION LOOKS LIKE TO AN "OUTSIDER"
    I had sent an email to friend Otto (retired airport planner and enthusiast of railroads, roller coasters, neon signage, various foodstuffs, and more) about the train fatality on my Chicago-bound route, but gave him no details about why I was traveling that day. He later wrote inquiring about the reason for my travels. I copied my trip report from this thread saying, "No need to read all the blah-blah-blah, but thought you'd be amused by the overall impression." Good soul that he is, he not only read through it all, he shared these observations.

    Very interesting. My reaction:
    1. There's a hobby for everyone!
    2. I enjoyed the term "group sniffing expedition". Second place goes to "moist mobile mob". A couple other cute phrases too.
    3. Many of the smells sound nice but a few mentioned also sound tasty.
    4. While scents as a focused interest isn't my thing (I have too many interests already), I found the group's and your enthusiasm for this event very exciting and very familiar. Being passionate about a number of certain things myself, I can well appreciate the enjoyment, atmosphere, and excitement inherent in this day.
    5. It is SO neat to be with other people who share the same intense interest and passion about a particular thing. And as you so well said at the end of your spiel, such a common interest often breaks down boundaries that normally separate people into so many groups.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    What a star your friend is to take the time not only to read the report, but to make those thoughtful comments.

    And of course he does have a perfume-related name, if he only knew it...!
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  35. #35

    Default Re: Trip Report: Chicago, Sept. 12, 2008

    Thanks for the report. Just in time, too - I'm taking the Megabus to Chicago for a day of shopping Sunday. I'm so glad I found this site (don't know what took me so long). I moved to Milwaukee from Atlanta a couple of years ago and really miss the shopping there. I guess I took for granted having Nordstroms, Saks and Bloomingdales all within a mile of my apartment.

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