Angel Belsey is a Londoner. She owns too much perfume and too many books.

you smell

Anyone who knows me well enough to have spent time in my spare bedroom knows that I have a kind of thing for perfume. About two years ago my dresser was groaning under the weight of over 30 perfume bottles, all of which were in use (not all at once, don't worry). In an effort to declutter, I went through the painful exercise of throwing out anything that was oldish and hadn't been stored well, then using up the remaining bottles, which involved limiting myself to two or three at a time until they were gone. Scents are special to me in part because they really amplify my memory, which needs all the help it can get! For my wedding I wanted very much to find a new, special scent that would go with me from wedding day to honeymoon, then be my "nights out with husband" perfume--so something not likely to be discontinued, and easy enough for everyday/all season wear. To my delight, when I mentioned this idea to Giles, he thought it was a good idea and shopped for a new fragrance for himself too. I picked Chanel Coco; he ended up with Dior Homme--and just the other day he said he thought my idea was a good one, because each of the scents now takes us both back to our beautiful honeymoon.

No matter what my collection looks like in the future, two fragrances will always be constants: the aforementioned Coco and Guerlain's Samsara, which has been a favorite of mine for many years. Other fragrances I am very fond of and would love to have on tap are too numerous to list comprehensively, but include:

* Prada Amber (one of my favorites even before it became the first gift Giles ever bought me!) * Reminiscence's Patchouli * Paul Smith Rose (the odd one out in this list, I know, but it's beautifully simple) * Penhaligon's Amaranthine * Serge Lutens Arabie (this is a brand new favorite)

And speaking of Serge Lutens, he's one of the reasons I'm writing this. I'm going on a fragrance journey. It all started a few weeks ago when I was browsing through one of my favorite fragrance blogs, Now Smell This, reading through reviews of some of my most-loved perfumes. The comments led me to read about other fragrances that sounded interesting, and suddenly I was down the rabbit hole of the perfume world. I started making a "Fragrances I Must Try" list--it has grown to 27, and I am terrified to read any more perfume blogs lest it get longer!

One can order inexpensive samples of interesting and niche fragrances from various places online, such as The Perfumed Court, Lucky Scent, and Les Senteurs, which is exactly what I've done for about a third of those 27. But I also found out recently that the Serge Lutens shop in Paris will send you, for free, a "Petit Livres des Parfums"--6 little folders of wax samples covering mostly their non-export line. (If you're interested in getting your own Petit Livres des Parfums, please read more about how to do so here.)

So yes! The point! I'm coming to that now. The point is that, now that all of my samples have arrived, including the Serge Lutens wax samples, I'll cover my own impressions of each of them here. And the first one I'm going to write about is Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle . . .

Tubéreuse Criminelle