Perfume Packing

After a nine day trip to gorgeous Spain (post on Barcelona's Museo de Parfum in progress!), I find myself particularly feisty on the subject of the diabolical TSA liquids bag. How many worthy fragrances have you forced me to choose between, my cruel nemesis? How many shampoo bottles have you gleefully confiscated? How am I supposed to fit my eczema cream in there? What do you have against eczema, TSA?

It's hard enough to choose which of your favorite fragrances to pack even without the looming threat of TSA confiscation. There are countless schools of thought: by season, by climate, by mood. My vote is for occasion-based packing. One easy, breezy fragrance, one sexier fragrance for going out, and one formal fragrance, in case you need to be knighted or something. (You'll thank me later, sire.) Here are a few suggestions for your one-quart Ziploc this summer:

The Casual FragranceFrederic Malle Eau de Magnolia was the first bottle I reached for when the temperature hit 80. That zingy lemon top note seems to cut through any humidity. Atelier Cologne Cedrat Envirant is a refreshing glass of sparkling water garnished with a slice of lime. 

The Sexy Fragrance: You can tell from the faded letters that my trusty Narcisco Rodriguez For Her Eau de Toilette gets thrown in a lot of going-out clutches. That distinctive, dark musk just screams "late nights" to me. My backup is Maison Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pour Le Soir, a sweet, warm veil of resins and incense. Mr. Kurkdjian also happens to be the perfumer behind NR For Her. What can I say? The man knows his sexy!

The Formal Fragrance: L'Artisan Parfumeur Poivre Piquant is the most special perfume in my collection. The bottle is autographed by its perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour himself. (It's actually signed "To Jessica", the angel who gave me her bottle as an outrageously perfect gift. I may have to change my name.) And it's hard to imagine an occasion too fancy for Chanel No. 22, with its elegant, old-world aldehydes. 

While we're poking around in my TSA-approved bag...

The same principle governs the rest of your toiletry packing. One natural, neutral color (Fresh Rosé Lip Treatment); one dramatic, sexier color (Tom Ford Crimson Noir); and one polished, meet-the-pope color (Lipstick Queen Pinky Nude).

Please note that I opt to save space (more room for that oh-so-glamorous eczema cream!) by buying toothpaste after getting through security. I promise that I brush my teeth.

Look how close it comes to actually zipping!

Oh, perfume packing hack: solid perfumes! They haven't quite hit the mainstream yet, because sticking your fingers into fragranced wax is kind of gross, but they're a dream come true for overstuffed toiletry bags. Diptyque's solid fragrance compacts are gorgeous, sculpted luxuries, and Lush has a truly impressive collection of creative fragrances at crazy reasonable prices. 

What's your perfume packing process? What fragrances are you bringing on vacation this summer?

Disclaimers: This post does not contain affiliate links. My precious Poivre Piquant was a gift from a wonderful friend who is not affiliated with any fragrance brand; all other products featured in this post are my own purchases, to my wallet's dismay.

13 comments

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Nannette Birdwood March 02, 2021

Hey Arielle,
I take 5-6 decants and sometimes a rollerball (Yes, they leak. the bitches) because I know that I will be recklessly spending on frags the whole time I’m gone and will end up with a very heavy bag full of fragrance.
Portia xxx

Portia August 22, 2015

@JessicaM, Enjoy?? I WORSHIP the PP! Label makers are on my mind too- trying to choose one for the shop. I’ll let you know which ones look good!

Ari August 10, 2015

@Eleebelle, I share your nosiness about the contents of other people’s ziplocs! I always wonder if the TSA inspectors are impressed or freaked out by mine…

Ari August 10, 2015

I love this! I’m always curious about what other people bring along with them on vacation. Personally, I do a lot more traveling for work than for fun, but generally always follow the same three-scent strategy. That includes something subtle for meetings or casual days, a wildcard (which could be just about any scent I think I need to spend more time testing), and something sexy that I wear to go out if I’m on vacation or wear to sleep if I’m on a business trip. Fortunately, I have everything I travel with in a sample vial or a travel spray so I don’t have to worry much about the TSA.

Eleebelle August 10, 2015

Ah! I’m happy to see you enjoying the PP. It was feeling a little unloved in my perfume cabinet…I really hadn’t touched it in a while!

My strategy for traveling with fragrance is similar…I usually choose two everyday scents and two dressier ones. I decant them into a little plastic atomizers and label them with Sharpies. (I really need to invest in a label-maker someday!)

Jessica M August 10, 2015

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