Penhaligon’s LP No. 9 for Men, 1998

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(photo The Versatile Gent)

Perfumer Christian Provenzano

I got two blind buys on the same day. Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille reinforces the blind buy.  If I were to mistake my lucky randomness for logic I would never have to smell another perfume before buying again, because it’s brilliant.  Penhaligon’s Love Potion no 9 makes me want to repent for my sin of blind-buying, and I’m not even a Christian.  A 50 mL bottle was $25 at a discount store, so not an enormous loss. Still, foolish.

As much as I promote gender non-specificity in perfume use, there is a vocabulary of contemporary perfume that is gendered. LP falls into the ‘male’ category. It brings to mind a sneering dicky-boy.  It smells of masculine narcissism, conformity and unrecognized low self-esteem. I hate this perfume. It’s the nightmarish mirror-image of a specific era of the fougere: the musky, floral fougere that became extinct with the advent of Cool Water.  Rememeber Paco Rabanne TenereGivenchy Xeryus?  LP is the cloying, unbalanced version of this style. Spicy musky, in Tenere and Xeryus, is turned to a rising nausea in LP no 9. Just say no.

Blind buying: will it be winning the lottery, as was the case with the Goutal, or the penance for transgression, as in the Penhaligon’s?  My husband captures the essence of karma with his southern charm with the expression, “God don’t like ugly.” I suppose I deserve to be punished for my bad choice.

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