Madame X of course. Recently I got a yen to smell a favorite perfume of mine from long ago, Or Noir by Pascal Morabito. Much to my delight I found that a site sold it. With some fear, I paid my money and ordered it. The bottle looked legit and it arrived last night from France.

I opened it up and the bottle was indeed right, I took of the top and sprayed it. Here is where the strange things happened. It was Or Noir, all the notes were there and the whole thing but it was now composed of several accords which came and went with some pleasure and some puzzlement. That never happened with Or Noir before, which was as tight as it could be, no accords peeling off and commanding your attention for 10 seconds before they turned into something very ordinaire. Then I had to say that it was Or Noir, and something insinuated that it was something far better than Or Noir, and I must believe it! For a moment I chased that thing, it was beautiful in a cheap and modern way, in a contrived way. Then it vaporized and I was left with something like a uni-dimensional Or Noir, a changeling which looks like the original but you know in your soul it is different.

This stuff was strong and it’s life cycle is tremendous. I think that to get it out of my jacket, I will have to burn the jacket! I reeked of Or Noir all night long, through my sleep, and as I staggered in to drink my coffee this morning. It had gone from an imitation of my old friend to an acquaintance who had vastly overstayed their welcome.

What went wrong? The European Union has waged war on perfumers. Some of the most benign ingredients have been declared off limits by the EU and cannot be used by perfumers, one of those is patchouli (thought to make the wearer more sensitive to sunlight…thought to be, by whom I do not know), and there are lots of others. In order to make up for this ghastly loss, there are several “green” chemical companies who are trying to simulate or duplicate the smells which are now “off limits”. Good luck with that. It never works. Honestly, you can get close to duplicating something like patchouli, but you are not going to make it exact, and even if you do, the resulting mix with anything else is at best unpredictable. So, if patchouli mixes well with a Bulgarian lavender, fake patchouli might not combine so well because it is not the same chemical mix.

Then, there is the ugly reality that when an perfume first comes out, the maker is glad to add expensive ingredients to it as the sales will be brisk. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s different and so money is lavished on it! But once it is new no longer, the cheapskates march in and substitute more cost effective fake jasmine for real, rose for real, and whatever special accord now becomes something far more bargain priced.

Alas, that is why we are bereft of some of the best perfumes ever made. My greatest loss is Mitsouko by Guerlain. I tried it, it’s hot asphalt now. I will never buy it again.

These are the things which force a woman to become a perfumer, my friends.

Oh, and the voting is over at Possets. Zombie, Min-Min, and Ouija are the winners. The others stay around for a short time, so catch them now! No overlap. See for yourself.

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