I think there can be many fears that a perfumista can face, be it using the final drops of your favorite perfume, the discontinuation of your most beloved fragrance, dropping and breaking a beloved bottle, just to name a few. However, it never occurred to me until the other day, my worst fear (unbeknownst to me) became my reality; the loss of smell. I never had thought that I could really ever lose my sense of smell, but it’s real and its harsh.
Right before I left for my holiday trip to Mexico I was struggling with a virus. My nose and throat were bothering me and I made sure that I went to the doctor prior to the trip so I could ensure that my vacation would be saved. So off we went and I managed to feel great, until a couple of days after we returned and I started feeling a bit under the weather again. It hasn’t helped that this has been the coldest winter in many years, but this bug has just lingered on now for about a month. So I went to the doctor this past Friday and he tells me that once again I’m dealing with a virus, but since I have been struggling with it for almost a month that he believes it’s coming to a head and should be gone in the next week. He told me to pick up some Mucinex at the drug store and that I should be set. Fine.
The week prior to going to the doctor I scanned the web to see if there were going to be any good estate sales in town and I found that there was a sale in Washington DC for some deceased socialite and they listed that there was perfume for sale. Typically, estate sales might have a bottle of Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds for sale, but I thought that I would check this one out since it sounded like it had some promise. So Saturday morning, I dragged my sweet husband out in the 15 degree weather to stand in line waiting for the opening of the sale. Of course it was freezing, but thankfully the line was not that long. Now of course, I’m worried that someone will get to the perfume before me, but I have no control over that.
After about 30 minutes they finally let us in (they were regulating the number of people in the house) and I made a beeline for the perfumes. Let me first say that people coming out of the house while we were waiting outside said that there were some nice items for sale including a Lalique bowl and some Hermes handbags, but that the prices were rather high. So comments like that made me hopeful. So in the corner of this small room where all these people were looking at jewelry and purses, there was a small section of perfumes. The socialite had good taste. There on the table were about 20 bottles of various sizes. There was not a bottle of White Diamonds, instead there were vintage bottles of Y by Yves Saint Laurent, a couple of bottles of Dior Poison, a large bottle of Rochas Femme, a huge bottle of Eau de Joy (in the box) and others. And no one else was looking at the perfume. I was in heaven until I lifted the first bottle to my nose. Nothing. I could not smell anything. I asked the hub if he could smell anything and he said yes. I lifted the top off another bottle and a woman from the other side of the room said that it smelled wonderful. I could not smell anything. I put a dab on my skin. Nothing. As much as I have heard of the perfumes, I wasn’t familiar enough with them, and I needed to smell them to see what I really thought. So I relied on my husband to describe. Well, as sweet as he was, all I could get from him is, “it smells like old lady” or “it smells like metal.”
So this brought me to my lesson learned…I had my phone with me. If I would have been thinking, I would have opened up Fragrantica to look up the fragrances so I could see their notes. I know what I like and I could have gotten a better sense of what I should get even without being able to smell them. Of course I didn’t think of that until after I had left the sale!
So given that the prices were OK and that I didn’t have a fortune to spend, I had to make some choices. So I managed to walk away with a vintage bottle of Cabochard parfum, a small bottle of Must de Cartier parfum and a large 50ml bottle of vintage Lanvin Crescendo (all of them unopened) and of course, none of which I could smell. Thankfully that problem is starting to change now but I’m not going to review them until I have my full nose back as I don’t want to read them wrong. As for the bottle of Rochas Femme (it had to have been a 200ml bottle)…I could kick myself for not getting it. If only I had used Fragrantica at the sale!
In any case, more to come on my new purchases and some other vintage fragrances that I have recently come into. I don’t know what it is with my interest with vintage fragrance during this time of the year. Maybe it’s because I find that vintage scents have the wonderfully comforting familiarity from my childhood and when it’s cold and nasty outside, smelling and surrounding myself with them makes me feel good.
Don’t worry, I’ll be back. Not sure when the nose will allow for it; but we’ll be back!
January 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm
Get well soon Steve
January 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm
Thanks Carlos. I’m trying as hard as I can!!
January 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm
Oh my goodness…. get well soon Steve! I keep forgetting about Estate Sales and we have some great ones here in San Francisco from time to time. I’ve got to get my nose to the ground on that ASAP
January 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Thanks Lanier – I’m tired of being sick for sure. As for estate sales…you have to be diligent for every fantastic sale, there are probably 10 dogs! But you can get some great deals for sure!
January 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm
Oh dear, that is dreadful. Your hubby sounds like mine. Not very helpful with the descriptions. I would have bought whatever I’d heard of and worried about the smell later. I hope you finally kick that virus. I’ve had sinus infections that made me lose my sense of smell so I know how it feels.
January 29, 2014 at 4:54 pm
I would have bought more, but the prices were OK…not great. They knew they had some good stuff. You know how it is, in hindsight…I would have….
January 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm
Dear Mr Hound,
You have my sympathies. As a fellow blogger, I had a sinus infection last year that wiped my nose, and my blog out for three weeks. Get well soon my friend!
As for these house sales- they sound like an amazing way to obtain dusty vintage treasure. You made some good choices. Your husband sounds like my husband. He is deeply loved by me but knows zilch about perfume. The only time he ever complained was when I was testing Bal a Versailles and said, very suddenly, “What the HELL is THAT?”. It gave me a chuckle.
My best wishes to you and your poor nose
January 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Thanks Sam – I’ll be fine in no time… as I keep telling myself thinking that mind over matter will come into play! As for hub, he’s a peach, it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know all that we do 🙂
January 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm
Is this anosmia? Poor thing and hope that all is well soon.
January 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm
No, not anosmia, just a bug that is killing my nose and throat. Thanks Jordan.
January 29, 2014 at 9:20 pm
Oh, poor Steve… It’s awful! Since you’re saying your sense of smell is coming back I hope it’s a very temporary condition and you’ll be completely well very soon. And there will be many more estate sales, don’t worry.
January 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm
I know, but whenever your in the moment, it always feels like it will be the last! 🙂
January 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Oh no, Houndy, but at least you are feeling better. I hope your first perfusniff after recovery becomes a keeper 🙂
January 30, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Maybe my wallet put a curse on me???!!1 🙂
January 30, 2014 at 7:40 am
Oh dear. To lose your sense of smell seems to be a horrible condition for a perfumista!! I sympathize heartily! My only suggestion would be gentle nasal lavage with a normal saline solution. !/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup H2O is normal salinity. Keep your head below your shoulders as in the shower to flush the upper sinuses too. The nasal spray (mucinex) may have had a deleterious effect on the olfactory cells. I think time will be your healer. Until then, do every thing you can to boost your immune system. and get lots of rest. I wish you well, quickly!! Sorry about getting so clinical. It is the Nurse in me.
January 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm
Thanks Tora. Wise words for sure. I didn’t realize that the Mucinex could be detrimental. I shall try to stay away. Thanks for the advice and the well wishes!
January 30, 2014 at 10:11 am
Get well soon, I know how it is when you can’t smell anything. I also asked myself what drags me to vintages – it is nostalgia for old good times, and the lack of really good perfumes right now. Almost any vintage is better than most of new releases. I can hardly be surprised. There a few exceptions though.
January 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm
I feel like vintage is is right now. But sure enough a new release will come on by and I’ll fall in love!
February 3, 2014 at 10:37 am
Good for you! My budget for buying perfume is so small right now so I don’t have to bother buying anything unless it is absoulte bargain…In some way that is actually good, but on the other hand frustrating.
January 30, 2014 at 11:09 pm
Firstly sorry to hear about your poor sniffer! Even though you’ve suffered with it all, thank goodness it’s not a permanent thing. I cant imagine being a perfume lover and not being able to ever smell again.
Vintage! Estate Sales!! Two of my most favorite things. I’ve been collecting perfumes – specializing in vintage – for nearly 40 years – you could say I’m vintage myself 😉 When my hub retired 2 years ago, we searched around for something fun to do together and a friend suggested estate sales. Well we thought we’d just dabble here and there when the mood took us – HA! It took 3 weeks and we were hooked. Since then it’s literally turned into a full time business – me buying and selling (and keeping some of course) perfumes and teaware and hubby specializing in glass. We go every weekend and most of my friends think we’re totally mad, getting up at 4am to go and stand in line in rain, cold and the heat of summer. Mind you, I must admit, it *does* look rather demented now I’ve typed it. It’s a whole different culture – I’ve been amazed at the rules and etiquette that it entails. Great fun though and I’ve found some fantastic vintage ‘fumes. The sale you mention rates right up there – I would have bought them all!
January 31, 2014 at 5:31 am
I could see how you could get hooked on this. I’ve been to quite a few and I get a bit discouraged when they are kind of crappy and I feel that I’ve wasted my time. But when you find a good one, lovely! Yes, you can tell when standing in line who the “professionals” are and who the novices are. It’s all good fun. Sounds like a wonderful hobby and second career!
February 1, 2014 at 12:06 am
new to your blog but I’m enjoying it very much. So sorry to hear about your illness (and inability to sniff at this most opportune moment!) I hope you get well soon.
Vintage Rochas Femme is one of my favorite fragrances in the world. I think it’s not too difficult to find on Ebay, though, so hopefully you will have another opportunity to smell it! Your choices were great.
February 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm
Julia – thanks for the well wishes. I am already starting to feel better. As for the Rochas Femme, I am very obsessive compulsive and will no doubt hunt a bottle down on eBay!
February 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm
Heartbreaking. As someone sitting here with completely stuffed sinuses, I feel your pain! You scored some lovely things, though.
February 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm
I know so many people who have been crushed with some bug this year to the point of not being able to breath! 2014 is turning out to be the year of sinusitis!
February 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm
GET WELLL SOON
February 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm
Thanks P – I am starting to feel better. Sounds like you’re having another blast of an adventure. Enjoy!
February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm
Oh, dear. I know how you feel. I used to have terrible pollen allergy and for 4 months a year I couldn’t breathe or smell… Get well soon 🙂 By the way, your hubby sounds exactly like mine 🙂
February 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Thanks! I am feeling much better now. I just haven’t gotten to my first review as of yet! I am also thankful that I have support from the hub in my hobby, but he does not have the patience for dissecting fragrance!