I am posting this for the many perfume lovers out there who don't live in a metropolis like San Francisco and who mostly have to shop online to get the finest perfumes money can buy. First, some snapshots I took on my way over to the CHANEL boutique in San Francisco, CHANEL is located on the prestigious Maiden Lane, right around the corner from Hermes, and right next door to Diptyque. You can get into a lot of trouble on just one block!
Rather than order online, I decided to make the physical trip to CHANEL. I had been going a little nuts with iris perfumes and remembered CHANEL's 28 La Pausa as being one of the best I had ever smelled. And when it comes to perfume, I am very impatient and need to have it right now...because tomorrow I will inevitably be interested in wearing something else.
From my memory, 28 La Pausa was a cold, grey, melancholy fragrance. Hmmm sounds a bit like San Francisco's climate before global warming really started to hit in the past several years. Now it's always sunny here. I digress....
I had been enjoying lovely iris perfumes such as Guerlain's now discontinued Shalimar Parfum Initial and the impossibly rare Iris Ganache, as well as the soft and delicate Infusion d'Iris EdP by Prada. Those are sweet and balsamic. Then there are iris perfumes such as the understated but gorgeous Iris 39 by Le Labo that don't have a balsamic base but focus more on the actual iris plant and woody naturalness of it. I wanted more of that kind of iris, and 28 La Pausa was calling my name.
This is so lame, but I'm such a CHANEL freak that I even snapped photos of the awesome paper towels in the bathroom. I mean, c'mon! Thick, premium paper towels emblazoned with the CHANEL logo--how cool is that?! What kind of loser takes photos of stuff like that and then takes one home for a souvenir?
I have heard rumors from industry insiders that CHANEL buys only the absolute finest real iris essences in the world for their perfumes and that 28 La Pausa is actually top-quality stuff. Can't argue with that because the proof is in the scent. If you smelled 28 La Pausa, you would smell something so eerily starchy, it is almost off-putting. Yet it's haunting. Orris powder (aka iris root powder) was used in laundry in the old days. It provided a crisp, clean scent that Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel never seemed to be able to forget after her formative years as the daughter of a woman who did laundry for a living, and then living in a convent after her mother died. Iris is one of the most important components of the infamous Chanel N.5.
28 La Pausa was just as I had remembered it to be when I last tested it. It was cold, grey, distant, and unforgettable. The only issue with it is that it is gone from the skin so quickly! I'm talking 2-3 hours, max! That's poo-poo longevity for a perfume that costs around $200. But the iris is THAT good. No poo-poo in the scent, just the longevity. There is nothing else like 28 La Pausa!
On the way out, I took a short stroll through San Francisco's Chinatown neighborhood, enjoying the sun, the people from all over the world, and eager to get home to spray myself silly with my new perfume.
If you've missed all the links, be sure to read my review of 28 La Pausa here!