Just like visiting Jovoy is an essential part of any fragrance lover’s trip to Paris, so is a visit to the Hotel Costes to say hello to the beloved “soup nazi” Ronald. Of course, don’t touch the bottles, but do smell all the lovely scents. I had heard there were three new IUNX perfumes from Olivia Giocabetti, but I didn’t see them there. I asked Ronald and after some prodding, he mentioned they were only available at the standalone IUNX store. Now, I must say that as a perfume lover that this is quite idiotic. The Hotel Costes store is known as the home of IUNX fragrances and to be honest, if I hadn’t asked (and badgered) Ronald, I would have never known that there was another IUNX location. The idea of having IUNX scents only available at a separate store is just weird. I would be willing to bet that if I hadn’t mentioned the new scents – most of y’all wouldn’t even know about them.
I trekked up Rue De Tournon and sniffed the three new IUNX scents. Eau Ivre (03) is a vibrant green scent with a powerful licorice/absinthe top note that stays present throughout the whole scent. Eau Azteque (04) is slightly animalic with a musky note and a slight hint of root beer. It gets a bit peppery and the base is a spicy though subtle vanilla. Eau Qui Pique (Q) is an odd one. It reminds me of L’ether with amped up pepper and ginger. I wanted to spend more time with the scents but didn’t want to commit to 150ml of each one, so I picked up travel spray refills of each which are a great value at 55 Euros for 2×20 ml. The sales associate at the IUNX store was really sweet and very knowledgable. Though it felt really weird sniffing the electronic flowers and experiencing IUNX scents without Ronald as my tour guide.
On my way to Bon Marche, I popped into L’artisan Parfumeur and sniffed the newish Noir Exquis. It’s a big gourmand with chestnut, vanilla, orange, and coffee all screaming for attention. I really liked it and will be hunting down a sample to play with when I get back to the US.
I walked around Bon Marche and have to say that it feels more luxe than Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. Maybe it’s because it is a bit off the beaten track and it wasn’t so packed full of people. I happened upon the home fragrance section and found several collections of water soluble vaporizer scents. My Muji vaporiser scents my apartment and makes me very happy, so finding some new scents to play with was a treat. From the Millefiori line, I picked up Grape Cassis, Vanilla and Wood, and Mela & Cannella. I can’t wait to use them when I get back.
Passing by the Mariage Freres minishop, I realized that I needed to go back and hit the big store in the Marais. I am so glad that I did. I’ve been listening to the Chandler Burr book ‘The Perfect Scent’ on Audible and he mentioned the creation of the Bulgari tea scent and how it was inspired by teas from Mariage Freres. I spent as much time sniffing tea as I did sniffing perfumes at Jovoy! I splurged on a few first flush Darjeelings, an insatiable Black Orchid, Assan Koilnari that made me melt, a lovely Birthday tea, and a delectably milky Blue tea. I picked up this black tea called “I have a Dream” which was in a rainbow box. It had fruity notes – go figure. Talking to the incredible helpful SA, he mentioned that they provide tea to several perfume houses like Dauphin, Serge Lutens, Lancome, and Louis Vuitton. Remembering that I was going to meet Neela Vermeire later that night, I picked her up a little treat also.
While on the tea kick, I remembered Victoria mentioning that the main Guerlain boutique had exclusive teas as well. I stopped by there and sniffed teas inspired by Shalimar, L’Heure Bleu, and other classic scents. I picked up a few for myself and holiday gifts. The lovely SA packed up my bag so nicely and was horrified when I stuffed it into my backpack. Like I am going to ride the Metro with a big old Guerlain bag. On the way out, I saw another exclusive Ne M’oubliez Pas – Do Not Forget Me. At 500 Euros for 125 ml of extrait, it isn’t something that I would forget. I sprayed some on myself and it is a big classic perfume – floral, cinnamon, plum, and amber. Definitely unforgettable but at that price, unpurchasable either.
On my way to the restaurant to meet Neela, I saw this beautiful woman walk by with the most amazing braids in the world. I asked her to let me take a picture and she was incredible flattered. Could you imagine how long it took to make those braids?
Chatting with Neela is always a highlight of my Paris trip. A lot of what we talk about is personal or off the record, but I can say that she let me sniff mods of two upcoming scents. I can also say that I am completely enamored of her new Pichola scent. It feels like a mashup of Bombay Bling and Trayee, two of her scents that I love. Cinnamon, floral, sweet, and joyous, it is incredibly vibrant, joyous and celebratory – a perfect reflection of our time together and my time in Paris as a whole.