I visited New York recently. I hadn’t been there for a while, and shopping wasn’t even on my to-do list. “Oh, shopping is the same everywhere now,” I thought. Silly me. I ended up finding tons of terrific clothes and spending a LOT of money, even for me. (Gulp.)
While I was perusing storefronts and trying to convince myself that it was really OK to spend an insane amount of money on a dressy dress (read: I don’t really need it) that looked amazing, I sampled a lot of perfumes.
I really love perfume oils–they’re so much more sensual than alcohol-based perfumes, and they tend to be made of natural ingredients. You can barely get more local than MCMC Fragrances — they’re made in Brooklyn. I liked the appropriately named Garden, which dried down from a zesty, lemony citrus to a more vegetal, tomato-ey base. Very simple and pleasing, like gazing at your own backyard garden.
The same day I passed by the Annick Goutal shop on Bleecker Street and they spritzed me with this famed French perfumer’s latest, L’ile au Thé. If Garden is the economy option at $45, L’ile au Thé is the boutique hotel in Asia (about $145 for 100 ml). More complex, more feminine, and more exotic, yet light and welcoming. It combines mandarin and tea notes with white flowers — a garden, but one carefully designed for maximum beauty and delight.
One is not better than the other. They’re for different moods, different places, different purposes. Think of Garden as the $12 Chardonnay you enjoy with a simple dinner, and L’ile au Thé as the more refined Puligny-Montrachet.