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  1. #1

    Default Southern California BN Meetup

    We had a small group from SoCal today--three of us from the Los Angeles area (me, Astaroth and arwen_elf) and one from further south (BlackCat). We met at a halfway point in Orange County called South Coast Plaza. Arwen_elf and I carpooled and arrived a bit early, so we went into Bloomingdales and sniffed:

    Varvatos Rock--light and fresh citrus that is not aquatic--quite wearable for men or women
    Tom Ford Grey Vetiver--very a nice but not ground-breaking citrus-vetiver, a great alternative to other light vetivers such as Guerlain Vetiver or CDG Vettiveru

    Soon after, we met up with BlackCat and Astaroth at Wolfgang Puck Bistro near Macy's--we had a lovely lunch and yummy desserts, enough to fuel us for some marathon sniffing! We breezed through Macy's and smelled:

    Armani Idole--completely forgettable female light-woody fragrance, an EL Sensuous wannabe. This will probably make it to TJMaxx soon.

    We moved on to Saks, our first major stop. The fragrance testers are all crammed into one smallish area with a long counter, so we sprayed some strips and left them out to settle. In the meantime, BlackCat was contemplating her first spray on skin (I will let her fill in the blanks here!). We smelled:

    Natori Natori--beautiful classic feminine, a subdued but luxurious floral with a beautiful creamy drydown, and the bottle is really great too!
    Bond No.9 Fire Island--I REALLY don't understand the buzz about this one, unfortunately. Instead of oiled, suntanned skin, I smelled BO and rancid florals. Not for me!
    Chanel Egoiste--what can I say, it is one of my favorites, and it smelled great on our male test subject, Astaroth
    Hermes Gentiane Blanche--yummy bitter green EDC, and the gentian is a fantastic alternative to one of my favorite bitter green notes, galbanum
    Hermes Pamplemousse Rose--refreshing and CLEAN grapefruit, and no rose to be had. BlackCat remarked that the name actually means Pink Grapefruit--of course! Very nice.
    By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses--juicy and jammy liqueur-like fruit over a generous floral heart and a sweet vanilla-amber drydown, rather delicious
    Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise--light and pretty vanilla gently spiced with peppery anise, relatively long lasting considering it is an EDT

    We made our way into the mall, which has some great boutiques. We stopped at Lalique, drooled over their gorgeous perfume bottles, and sampled:

    Lalique Encre Noir pour Elle--forgettable feminine chypre, could barely smell it on the paper, but what we did smell was simplistic and forgettable
    Lalique Encre Noir--fabulous dry vetiver fragrance, nutty and complex, drying to a common but lovely Ruh Khus type smoky vetiver base

    We then rushed over to Chanel to sniff the Exclusifs (which some of us had already tried). They had all but Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles on display, and we smelled most of them. The standouts for me were:

    Chanel Bel Respiro--fresh green and bracing, with a light floral musk base
    Chanel Sycomore--refined vetiver, a bit like Encre Noir, but less dry and not as overpowering

    We backtracked a little to visit Hermes, and did alot of sniffing there, especially the Hermessences. The ones I paid most attention to were:

    Hermessence Vanille Galante--indolic lily fragrance with hardly any vanilla that I could detect, not for me
    Kelly Caleche parfum--less "tomato stem" than the EDT, with stronger soapy leather and good longevity

    Then we made a quick stop at the YSL boutique where we tried:

    YSL Rive Gauche--classic, well composed and balanced male fougere
    YSL Kourous--my first time smelling this frag, and I think it is actually much more feminine than I expected. It reminds me of some very civetty women's orientals such as the opening in Krizia's Teatro alla Scala

    BlackCat had to leave early, but the rest of us continued on to Nordstroms, and this is where we hit the jackpot. There are too many to list, but here are some:

    The entire Tom Ford line, including the new Musk series. Urban Musk seems to be the best to my nose. We also tried Arabian Wood, Oud Wood, Tuscan Leather and Tabacco Vanille.
    The limited release Mugler A-Men pure malt--really nice alternative to A-men because it is much less tarry. Still very sweet, though.
    Guerlain boutique offerings including, Sous le Vent, Vega, Liu, Derby, Attrape Coeur, Philtre d'Amour, Chamade parfum and numerous others which I can't remember! I was smitten with Attrape Coeur, a complex floral with oriental leanings, and also really liked Sous le Vent, a green citrus.
    Creed, most of which was not my style, but I found Love in Black to be WEIRD in a really good way.

    We went back via the Jo Malone boutique, and I bought a small bottle of the Vanilla & Anise

    Phew, I'm exhausted--I'll let the others chime in on their thoughts and purchases. I had a great time meeting BlackCat and arwen_elf for the first time, and seeing Astaroth again for the first time in many months! And we had a GREAT SA at Nordstrom's (Lynda)--she really knew her way around the Guerlains!
    Last edited by Asha; 30th August 2009 at 03:16 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Wow Asha!! Great summary. I can't believe you remember all those perfumes. We had many hours of wonderful sniffing, but the standout for me was to find the exclusive Gurlains at Nordstrom (which was totally unexpected). They also had Bois d'Armenie, SDV (which I had not smelled before) and all the travel trio (Moscow, NY, Tokyo) and Les Elixirs Charnels (except for the new Bois Torride). We also tried Quand Vient la Pluie and there were testers of Chamade and Jicky in perfume concentration. I bought Gourmand Coquin because it has been a bit of an obsession in the last few months. Lynda was very nice and let us try all the Guerlains we wanted.

    This was great fun and I hope to do it all over again sometime soon! Lunch was great and although it was my first time meeting Asha, Astaroth and Blackcat, it seemed like we had met before, instant good vibes.
    Evenstar

  3. #3

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Amazing report (and amazing memory )... and what the heck; all those Guerlains within a department store? I'm envious! We don't get that over here.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Another fascinating account - I was envious of your group getting to try the new TF musk range and all those Guerlains. I have to leave the country to get properly amongst them!

    I will cross off the Idole and Lalique Encre Noir pour Elle from my "to try" list, based on your reviews. : - )

    I am now kicking myself for not buying the Vanilla & Anise on the spot the other day in JM in London. I came so close! Next time for sure.

    If you want a top up of Love in Black, Asha, please just ask for I have a big bottle and I am not going to use it very fast at this rate. And they do say Creeds are quite delicate in terms of longevity.
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 30th August 2009 at 08:15 AM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  5. #5

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    I wish I could time travel and have gone to all of these! These days all seem so different and yet with so much in common. Amazing number of perfumes sniffed!

  6. #6
    Basenotes Institution
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Oh, I wish I could have gone too ! Thanks for the lovely report !
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  7. #7
    Heartwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    I'm so jealous you guys came across Lalique Encre Noir pour Elle! No one has it here yet! But I'm mollified by your description, Asha.

    BlackCat, did you try the new Kilian Back to Black? This honey/tobacco/spices was more about luscious honey on me, but lots of tobacco/spices on the men. One thing we agreed on was that this stuff lasts and lasts. Seriously, I woke up at 3:00 this morning to let a cat outside and I could still smell it quite plainly, some 12 hours after application. There's still a noticeable smidge remaining this morning. Interestingly, the tobacco finally comes forward more after a good 9 hours or so on skin, but it's really a big, mouthwatering honey scent all the way! I think you'll *love* it!
    Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
    Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
    -- Absolutely Fabulous

  8. #8

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    RE Encre Noir pour Elle, I was so tired when I posted, did I mention it was forgettable? LOL

    I guess a better thing to say is, what Natori is, that is what I expected ENpE to be--a full-bodied feminine floral chypre, but perhaps a bit drier due to its kinship with Encre Noir. It was a grave disappointment, and does not measure up to the men's at all. Perhaps there is a chance there was something wrong with the bottle, but who can say. It is hard to imagine that Lalique would put out something so grim after a blockbuster like EN.

    They did not have the new by Kilian products at Saks--but I'll let BlackCat fill in her impressions for what we DID smell!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    South Coast Plaza has many luxe designers boutiques which carry clothing *and* fragrance.

    What fun! Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by Primrose; 30th August 2009 at 06:15 PM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  10. #10
    Morning Star

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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    I posted a few other items about the South Coast Plaza outing here. Let me just say that for those of you who do not know it, Asha is the unrivalled Queen of Scoring Samples. I've never seen anyone sweet talk SAs out of precious juice with greater facility. By the way, Lynda the SA at Nordstrom in South Coast Plaza is an enthusiastic gold mine of fragrance information. I suspect she will end up on BN at some point (if she isn't here already).

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    Varvatos Rock--light and fresh citrus that is not aquatic--quite wearable for men or women
    This offering didn't quite do it for me, but the previous John Varvatos offering (Artisan) is very good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    [Nordstrom]: The entire Tom Ford line, including the new Musk series. Urban Musk seems to be the best to my nose. We also tried Arabian Wood, Oud Wood, Tuscan Leather and Tabacco Vanille.
    Nothing new from Tom Ford really did it for me. I had high hopes for Arabian Wood, but it failed to deliver. The Urban Musk was definitely the best of the Musk Series, but I opted instead for a 50ml bottle of Kiehl's Original Musk by the end of the day. Tom Ford would have had to really knock me out to beat Kiehl's $38 price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    Guerlain boutique offerings including, Sous le Vent, Vega, Liu, Derby, Attrape Coeur, Philtre d'Amour, Chamade parfum and numerous others which I can't remember! I was smitten with Attrape Coeur, a complex floral with oriental leanings, and also really liked Sous le Vent, a green citrus.
    Derby was the stand-out for me here, probably the only one I would have considered buying. But it was nice to see these old Guerlain classics finally. They even had a 1000ml carved glass container of Shalimar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    I had a great time meeting BlackCat and arwen_elf for the first time, and seeing Astaroth again for the first time in many months!
    It was good to see you again, Asha, and nice to meet BlackCat and arwen_elf for the first time.
    Last edited by Astaroth; 30th August 2009 at 09:42 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Spot-on reports of the day by my fellow sniffers. It was fun getting to know each other in person and to try a few things side by side.

    Figures I missed the jackpot! I've been in that Nordstrom before briefly, but somehow managed to miss the Guerlains.

    Standout fragrances for me included

    - Natori: top notes were just a bit too retro (70's) and powdery for me, but those traits calmed down, leading to a delicious and sexy drydown.

    - MAC Naked Honey (a lone tester in the MAC store on the way out): linden, linden, and more linden, underpinned by a light honey in the drydown. I'll bet this plus Africanimal are really nice together.

    - Kilian Liaisons Dangereuse: while Asha's skin gave off a nice rosy fruit, my skin ate the rose and fruit. I did get some incense and wood on the drydown, though.

    - JM Vanilla & Anise: a relatively dry vanilla with a dash of anise, which read as pepper on me most of the time. Very nice on Asha.

    - Egoiste: on Astaroth. It made me really want to buy it for DH, but I'll have to try it on him (and myself) first.

    An_aoud_girl, thanks for the tip on the new Kilian. That's going on my to-try list stat!

    Astaroth, glad the tobacco note stuck around in Ambre Narguile.
    arwen_elf, glad you got to smell Spiritueuse Double Vanille. What did you think?
    Asha, glad you got the V&A.
    And glad I met you all!
    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

  12. #12

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    im in for the next meet please let me know!

  13. #13
    bleu autumn haze
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Wow! Your Nordstroms sounds so much better than the KC one. I would love to sniff some of those Guerlains.

    Astaroth: I adore Derby! I don't think you could go wrong with that purchase.

    Asha: Funny thing that when CJ and I were sniffing the Creeds, I used the phrase "weird, but in a good way" to describe Love in Black also ... but she thought weird, in a weird way!

    Glad you guys had so much fun!
    I've trademarked the color bleu

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Sounds like it was a blast! Asha, I love Egoiste and need to move it from the "wishlist" to the "own" list. I also adore Attrape-Coeur and would love to add it to the collection as well. All you need is money, lol.

    Thanks to all for the in-depth reports!
    "I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain

  15. #15

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    That's a lot of sniffing! Thanks so much for sharing your impressions. My "to try" list is increasing.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    You have a crazy good memory Asha! I've yet to find a Guerlain shop, boutique, or even 'display' of any sort in the Midwest...seems like they are only on the coasts. One of these days I'll have to plan a trip! Great to hear from you all!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    There's no Guerlain near here either; I'd have to go down to Palm Beach and I am afraid I lack the wardrobe for that visit.

    That Natori seems worth seeking out--again difficult to find up here. Great impressions from all!

  18. #18
    Basenotes Institution
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Thanks for the report Asha- sounds like you all had a great time !
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    The amazing part to me is that all those wonderful Guerlains were sharing space with the Guerlain make-up counter. I almost asked about the Terracotta Sous le Vent, but did not bother since we were smelling the real Sous le Vent! We could have easily missed them. I am glad we didn't.
    Last edited by arwen_elf; 11th September 2009 at 05:16 AM.
    Evenstar

  20. #20

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Quote Originally Posted by orion View Post
    there's no guerlain near here either; i'd have to go down to palm beach and i am afraid i lack the wardrobe for that visit.
    lol!!
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 1st September 2009 at 04:39 PM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  21. #21
    Lean in closer, dear
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    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Thanks for highlighting not-new but new-to-me Natori Natori, Asha. As others have said, am amazed by your nose-to-memory facility.

    Quote Originally Posted by an_oud_girl View Post
    I'I woke up at 3:00 this morning to let a cat outside and I could still smell it quite plainly, some 12 hours after application.
    Because we never exit P.O.M. (perfume observation mode)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    Let me just say that for those of you who do not know it, Asha is the unrivalled Queen of Scoring Samples. I've never seen anyone sweet talk SAs out of precious juice with greater facility.
    There's an instructional video to post: A in action ... and a replay in slow motion so we can count eyelash batting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    There's no Guerlain near here either; I'd have to go down to Palm Beach and I am afraid I lack the wardrobe for that visit.
    Yeah, the fashion police barely gave me my Chicago Shopping Permit.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Aww, shucks! I completely missed out on this SoCal wingding! I would've loved to have been part of the LA carpool contingent. I must pay more attention to these Basenotes threads! Like others, I'm boggled by the comprehensive selection of Guerlains in the Nordstrom you visited. They sure are fancy in Orange County!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    Welcome to Basenotes Katie. I did not want to leave the Guerlain counter, but Astaroth was already waiting at the Creed counter. This was so much fun!! I hope you can join us next time!!

    Oh Quarry, no fashion police in Southern California, we are very casual here.

    Blackcat, I am sorry you had to leave. We missed you. I liked SDV, but I really need to get a sample and "test-drive" it for a day. How could I be so silly, we got samples of some of the Guerlains, and it did not occur to me to ask for one of SDV, arghh!!!. There was also a Caron that smelled like locorice and I can't rememeber what it was. I would like to test it some more.

    We definitely need to go back
    Last edited by arwen_elf; 11th September 2009 at 05:25 AM.
    Evenstar

  24. #24

    Default Re: Southern California BN Meetup

    This is SO LATE, but I'm in the area and if you guys ever do something fun like this again, I'd love to tag along! There's a dearth of people to talk to around here about perfume (I drive my SA at the Brea Nordstroms insane!), so it'd be very fun for me to take a day and just be around other people who love the same things I do. It'd be amazing!

    So if it's open to other Basenotes members, I'd love to be included!

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