Verse jumping

If all had gone to plan, this post would be about perfume sniffing in Paris—as in France.

In the acclaimed, bizarre film Everything Everywhere All At Once, characters are able to “verse jump” into other universes by doing something odd and random to connect their consciousness to another version of themselves that exists in one of those universes.

I suppose I did something like that this past weekend.

My other half had planned a trip for us to go to Paris, and we were both very much looking forward to it. About a week before, a close childhood friend of mine told me that she and her other half would be there as well during those days, which they hadn’t planned. We haven’t seen each other for over 3 years, so we were all looking forward to that especially.

Of course, I also had a whole perfume-related itinerary drawn out, including a stop at Diptyque to smell the newly launched L’Eau Papier.

We got through check-in and security just fine. However, at the boarding gate, the airline agent stared at my passport for an unusually long time, and then told me to go to the desk, where another agent stared at my passport for an unusually long time. You need a minimum of 90 days before it expires to enter the EU, they said. It was just a few days short. If you land there, the customs will send you right back, they said. I tried to bargain. Is there someone I can call? No, they said. Can I get on the plane and take the risk? No, they said; we airlines get fined if we let that happen. Is there a way to transfer that fine to me? (I know, that was a ridiculous question. Panic makes people ask ridiculous questions.)

No, they said.

Ironically, I had exactly 90 days left on that day. However, it needs to be 90 days from the date of departure from the Schengen Area. I’ve never cut it so close with any sort of renewal in my life, but the timing of when the trip was planned and estimated processing times etc. etc. resulted in me dropping the ball and eating the consequences.

The agents told us to wait, while they typed stuff on the computer. We thought they were processing something with our booking but it turned out they just needed us to wait for someone to become available (after the flight had closed) to “escort” us back out past security. Never had that kind of VIP treatment before either, that I can recall!

Gutted, at our anticipation being shattered, at the frustration of another trip being thwarted after we lost our Puerto Rico trip last year due to catching covid, and especially at not being able to see our friends.

My other half wasn’t about to let the weekend go to waste for this, however. Why don’t we drive to New York? he suggested. OK, I said.

Then I remembered. My other childhood friend, who completes a decades-long “trio” with me and the aforementioned friend, was going to be in New York just for the weekend! She was performing at a benefit concert to help displaced people in Ukraine, and had invited me a month ago—but at that time, I thought I would be in Paris. Now, of course we would go to New York! We bought tickets and got to see an amazing performance by her and several other musicians. Even better, we got to spend time together afterwards—time that gets more precious as we all get older and busier… and is always refreshing for the soul.

As my other half quipped, we still managed to achieve what we set out to this past weekend: go to a major city, see an old friend, and go perfume shopping.

and go perfume shopping… Well, perfume really wasn’t the highlight of this trip, but it played a part.

On my list for a while was the boutique Atelier d’Emotion in SoHo, which curates jewelry but also has a section of niche fragrances. I got to visit and sniffed my way through some Olfactive Studio perfumes, including most from the SEPIA collection: Rose Shot, Vanilla Shot, Leather Shot, and Chypre Shot. The rose was pleasant and quite literal; the vanilla intriguingly complex, although the benzoin-forward amber was a bit strong; the leather was on the brighter, more sour end of the register. Chypre Shot was the only blotter I kept until the next day—the mossy-floral opening dried down to a medley of slightly sticky dried fruits and patchouli. I could be tempted.

I made a point to trek to the Prince Street location of Diptyque and try L’Eau Papier. Being already enamored of the whole idea of a fragrance representing paper, a blank surface for the expression of ideas, I had high hopes. The visual campaign, which is replicated in multiple storefronts, is impeccable.

Diptyque store at Bleecker Street in NYC
Diptyque store at Prince Street in NYC

The highly anticipated fragrance turned out to be true to the listed notes. L’Eau Papier opens pretty strongly with mimosa and the rice steam accord, but soon turns into a citrusy musk and subtle woody, fresh cologne. It smelled familiar and eventually I realized it reminded me of the citrusy musk of Le Labo Citron 28. The fluffiness conjures a certain type of thick, deckle-edged paper with uneven fibers—but not regular paper. There is a slightly fatty aspect as well. The rice outlasts the mimosa on the blotter.

I really wanted to like this one, but unfortunately… it’s not for me. Barring that, I wanted to come away with a souvenir New York city candle. Instead, I bought a Feu de Bois candle, which attracted me more with its smoky wood fire notes of birch, juniper, and cade.

Better luck next time…

(My friend who was in Paris later said it was probably for the best that we didn’t come this time, as the streets were piled up in over 10,000 tonnes of garbage due to the worker strikes against the pension reform bill. It’s really sad that all of this is happening, and while I don’t know many of the details, I sympathize with those on strike, both in France and in the UK as well.)

4 thoughts on “Verse jumping

  1. You must have been sickeningly disappointed & frustrated at yourself. The French are far better at striking & rioting than we Brits. 10,000 tonnes of garbage would not have been the fragrant adventure you were looking forward to, I’m sure.
    Your boyfriend sounds like a keeper though, suggesting an NYC trip at such short notice


    1. Yes; unfortunately I’d relaxed when my fears that having less than 6 months would be an issue were dispelled by a friend’s anecdote that she was able to travel from the US to Europe with that, and by Jan/Feb I was afraid if I’d applied for a renewal then, even with an expedite (but not eligible for the “urgent” category), I would risk not getting it back in time. Clearly I got it all wrong. The first thing I did after returning from New York was send off my renewal application by mail, as the new online portal is “paused” again!
      My other half is my “DH” – I just keep it vague on the blog. 😉 He is definitely the more calm and solution oriented one in unexpected stressful situations. I’m keeping him! 🙂


  2. Oh, what a shame the whole trip to Paris didn’t work out. Still, it must have been wonderful to go to NYC instead. Great that you got to sample those Olfactive Studio scents. What did you think of the Violet? The new Diptyque has arrived here, hopefully I’ll get to sample it in the next couple of weeks.


    1. I was thinking of your recent post and hoping to smell Violet Shot and Iris Shot, but the store did not have those as they may have been sold out. Next time! I look forward to your thoughts on L’Eau Papier.

      Liked by 1 person

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