My family is hella complicated. I generally don't write about them unless I have something quasi-positive to say, and it's because there's a whole heap of drama and mixed emotions. Luckily, the females in the family have rarely made it onto the shitlist, and I have some really great memories from my childhood attached to these women and their beauty habits.
Tiny perfume bottles remind me of my Aunt Mary, who helped me get some girl time in when my dad was too busy being an a-hole. I would beg her to have me over for a sleepover because I loved her and she was a fabulous fox. She and my Aunt Eileen lived at my grandma's house and let me raid their beauty collections regularly.
My Aunt Mary had a gorgeous mirrored and brass perfume tray where she kept an array of golden-hued minis. It was a hobby of hers, to collect little bottles, and I used to sniff and play with them for hours on end before taking an epic bubble bath with all of her shampoos and products.
Today, I still collect perfume minis and samples, and I always keep an eye out for a similarly adorable tray for these bottles. It feels like a little family tradition I can hold onto when things feel like they are falling apart with the rest of those jerks.
These three sample sizes are my latest acquisitions.
Norell is a timely relaunch. This creation is true to its memory and updated for a current audience.
The brand was a legendary design house that is being resurrected as perfume first; it reflects what I've come to learn about the designer’s iconic work, especially in film and theater costume design. Riley Keough and Michael Avedon are serving as campaign model and photographer respectively, and as the grandchildren of talented artists, they shine on their own while keeping the family spark well alight. The perfume itself comes in an absurdly gorgeous French-designed bottle that I would wear as a ring in 2.5 seconds.
The scent is unique and straddles time and space as it whisks you away to the 1960s while smelling like few others in today’s age. This is my first green floral, and though it’s not something I would wear every day, one special drop can transform you with the powerful bergamot opening. As it settles down into vanilla and orris you feel the strong foundation of your ancestors.
On my Brooklyn visit list is Euphorium Brooklyn’s perfume wares at shop Twisted Lily, a scent brand based on alternative history of a fictional 19th-century perfumer trio. A bit steampunkish, if you will.
I haven’t had a chance to visit in person but got to try two of their newest scents, Pétales and Suédois. Pétales is a collaboration with photographer Tal Shpantzer. To me, it has clean and sharp floral power with a powdery finish; Tal describes it as, “Tailored to the scents I love and my amnesia-enhanced scent memories, Pétales, is deeply connected to both my personal history and the scents I find compelling.” The slightly spicy and low-key green hints make me think of sunshowers in the tropics—an actual scent memory to me.
Suédois is what I wish to smell every time I snuggle my boyf’s beard. It’s rich and leathery and at the same time woodsy from a big presence of sandalwood. I would take a bath in this if I could, and will likely be purchasing the gorgeous full-size vintage-inspired atomizer and doing just that.
The beauty of mini perfumes is very similar to that of tiny mascaras: you can use them for a good time or use them as a rolodex of scents to change up your usual. I collect them also for their cute tininess, which I can’t even explain after years of being addicted to tiny products.
I can’t wait to get more little stunners like the Norell bottle for my collection. Who needs decor when you have beauty?