Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Whiff of Trouble

The Siren's week continues to deteriorate. Our air conditioning is insufficient, everyone is cranky and this morning I woke up and noticed once more that I have somehow been spirited away from New York and Paris and deposited in a large, dull city on a lake. I didn't think it could get worse, but that was before Guerlain decided to deck me with an awful piece of news. According to Emperor of Scent Luca Turin's new blog, they are reformulating all 14 of their classic fragrances. I needed sympathy, so off I went to my usual Web hangout.

Julie Burchill clobbered Elizabeth Hurley with a bad review a while back, comparing Hurley's portrayal of the agony suffered by the girlfriend of a druggie in "Permanent Midnight" with the distress a woman might show on being told her favorite lipstick is discontinued. Over at the makeup site I frequent, the ladies would nod sagely and say, "Ah. So Liz is doing tragedy now."

My pals there take beauty matters very, very seriously. And the fragrance message board is (arguably) the most fanatical of the lot. Some of the ladies who frequent the other boards regard us as the beauty equivalent of Tolkien enthusiasts: weird denizens of an alternate reality.

Ordinary perfume-wearers are often baffled by the layers of meaning a true fragrance enthusiast finds in a great perfume. (Some good places to seek enlightenment would be with Mr. Turin, probably the wittiest and most distinctive voice anywhere on the subject of fragrance; with the poetic sensibility of my dear friend at Bois de Jasmin; or with the painstaking, fascinating analysis of another pal at Now Smell This.) Just take my word for it: Burchill would have seen real distress on this face. Only this spring I discovered the wondrous Mitsouko in parfum concentration. Now, it is being snatched away from me. I also had hoped to try Vol de Nuit and L'Heure Bleue in their original, pristine forms. See Vivien Leigh up there? That's the Siren, thinking of a world without real Guerlain perfume.

And I fully expect to get the same kind of tender sympathy from Guerlain that Scarlett got from Rhett. I wrote a letter to them, attempting to balance my prose between how-bloody-dare-you indignation and prostrate begging. If you read Turin's post and love Guerlain, please add your two cents by emailing Isabelle Rousseau at their corporate relations office,

Now I am going to make dinner, followed by a stiff drink. Tonight or tomorrow, to comfort myself, I am going to start a series of posts about perfume at the movies.


Victoria said...

Another wonderful post! What can I say that would express my grief? I have a typical Slavic disposition that sees doom everywhere and then wants to wreck havoc. I hope that the tiny amount of havoc you and I (and many many others) have created for Guerlain would have some results. I will fall asleep envisioning Vol de Nuit and Mitsouko.

NowSmellThis said...

Please go check the Perfume of Life Board, they are up in arms over there too! And Luca Turin actually posted several times in a thread about the Guerlain issue.