Monthly Archives: August 2019

On… MCMC Fragrances

I like perfume. (We’ve discussed this in, oh, so many previous sessions.) I like reading books about it (like this and this). I like smelling old smells and new smells. If I have a morning to myself with no work or small children, I like to go to Barneys or Aedes de Venustus and smell everything. I like buying almost-empty perfume bottles from Etsy for $10 because I can tell from the font or the label size that it dates from before 1981 and contains ingredients now long-outlawed by the good old EU and, hell, I just want to smell them before I die. I like reading perfume blog posts from 17 years ago, you know, the kind written in Comic Sans, because the new perfume blogs are all #influencers and I don’t trust them. I find it all very soothing.

My favorite perfume of all time is Miller Harris L’Air de Rien. The perfumer, Lyn Harris, sold Miller Harris a few years ago and opened a little perfume boutique in London. It’s called Perfumer H. I’m *dying* to go. Read this, about their scent Rain Wood: “notes of galbanum+ elemi with a transparent heart of waterlily pepper, frankincense, myrrh resting on a base of wet + humid woods of juniper + cedar wood to make this an effortless fragrance for hot summer days.” What the hell does that smell like? I have NO IDEA and I WANT TO KNOW.

Fox once called me a Perfume Nerd, but I reject that appellation. I’m not an expert. I just like it. And have you noticed how people who call themselves ‘Nerds’ are actually just passive-aggressively boasting that they know more than you about the subject in question? Whenever I’m at a party and stuck next to someone who calls himself, for example, a Comedy Nerd, I stifle a tiny sigh, and don’t say ‘Wow, you must know everything about comedy and therefore have a truly superior sense of humor! You win.’ Instead, I smile and say ‘how fascinating’ and finish my drink as fast as I can so I can get away.

Anyway, darlings, where were we?

Yes. I like perfume.

For my birthday this year, Fox gave me a custom perfume workshop with Anne Serrano-McClain, at her MCMC Fragrances studio. She’s an incredible perfumer, she trained in Grasse, and is also a charming and interesting and easy person to hang out with. We talked for three hours straight and somewhere in there, made an absolutely gorgeous scent.

Here’s how it works: you turn up at her studio (ideally with a vague idea of the kind of smell you want – something light and floral, something sexy and musky, something fresh and lemony, something dark and spicy, whatever blows your skirt up). You smell dozens and dozens of smells. I wanted to make something that smelled a bit dirty and earthy and musky, but not too sharp or sweet.

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Then Anne creates three versions of your perfume, each with slight variations.

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You take them home and wear them for a few days to decide which is your favorite.


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And then she bottles it up and sends it to you. The final result from my session is all warm skin musk and earthy oak moss and creamy tuberose, with a whisper of black pepper and coriander to rough it up a little. Oh you guys, it smells SO GOOD. I’m obsessed with it. Truly. If you see me on the street, come up and smell me. I won’t mind. Send this post to people who love you so they know that this is what you want for your next birthday. (I’m into subtle hints like that.) Email anne@mcmcfragrances.com.
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