Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can you smell me? Can you smell me now?

For over ten years, I've worn Quelques Violettes by Houbigant as my fragrance of choice. I've had multiple compliments on my scent. It is me. However, I have watched it slowly disappear from the shelves of the high-dollar stores like Neiman's, then the mid-price, such as Dillard's, finally skipping the low-end and confining itself to the internet. As it seems to be disappearing from there as well, I girded my loins, took the bottle with its last quarter-inch with me and headed to the mall. I was going to find a replacement.

I targeted Neiman's, Nordstrom's, and Dillard's. Surely between the three, I'd walk away with a new appropriately me scent.


I started at Neiman's. The young man who approached to help took a whiff from the lid of the spray and headed out. I trailed behind. Three counter stops later, he deposited me and my finicky nose with another young man who tried really, really hard to come up with something from his samples, all very floral. None very violet. Wearing two different ones on my arms to see how they smelled in thirty minutes, I found myself furiously washing one of them off ten minutes later. It was wretched. I snuck around to another counter and doused myself with a relative of my Quelques, Q Fleurs Royale, and took off. (The clerk informed me that Q V was no longer made, which makes perfect sense although I haven't found confirmation of that yet online.)

On to Dillard's, where the lady took a sniff and declared she had nothing like it. (I think I was figuring that out by now.) But she suggested Chanel No. 5, sprayed my hand and sent me out to air.

Final stop was Nordstrom's, and the clerk was equally puzzled. She sniffed and sniffed her wares, sprayed those little pieces of paper for all they were worth (although skin is a bit different) and finally settled on Bulvari pour femme. I dutifully held out my hand and then went to lunch, letting all the scents settle. For good measure, I found a spot not covered and sprayed on the original.

Lunch with my son being over, I offered him the sniff test. We eliminated the remaining Neiman's offering, rejected Chanel, and came to a draw on Q Fleur Royale and the Bulvari.

As the day wore on, the QFR disappeared from my skin, but the Bulvari remained. The at-home sniff test by the spouse showed a strong dislike of what I've worn for 10 years, so I discounted any other opinion also.

Nordstrom's (and only Nordstrom's) made sure I had a sample to take home, so I'm trying it for a few days. If I'm still undecided, I'll cyber-shop and just do a double order, hoping in time that the world of perfume will come to its senses and make my beloved fragrance again.

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