Style Spy who has just returned from London and Paris, has a part-time job of systematically turning me on to Expensive Things I Didn’t Know I Needed like niche perfume or, oh, Hermés scarves. Have I always sort of just back-of-the-mind-y wanted an Hermés scarf? Mais bien sur (that’s French for “boy howdy”) but did I know until she returned with two of the sexy beasts that I could not possibly live another red hot second without 35 square inches of incredibly expensive silk wrapped around the place my neck would be if genetics had seen fit to endow me with something other than 2 inches of alabaster tree stump to separate my head from my torso? No friends, I did not.
I asked if, upon her return, she would be kind enough to help me find a new perfume and she –a self-identified “frag hag”– graciously obliged. Saturday night found us on the floor of her apartment drinking sparkling pinot, talking about boys and spraying scents on blotter of at least thirty hand-labeled tiny vials of perfume.
For those of you new to the world of decants –I’m a recent convert myself– it’s a way to inexpensively test pricey or hard-to-find fragrances without shelling out for a whole bottle. A decant is a small glass vial containing between 1/2 and 5 ml of “juice” that has been measured out from a larger bottle using medical-grade equipment. You cannot buy decanted perfume on eBay, but never you fear. The Perfumed Court sells decants of just about every fragrance you can imagine, including many discontinued scents and a special section of perfumes that are not available in the United States, usually for somewhere around $4 a pop.
The Perfumed Court even offers sampler packs, including various introductions to perfume houses like Lutens or Caron, noses (perfume designers) or scent families, so you can decide which flavor works best with your skin.
Oh and they are a positive wealth of scrabble-winning words. Example: “sillage” n., The scent trail a woman leaves as she walks by. Forty seven points on a double word score!