An object lesson in the lifespan of perfume.

Death devours all lovely things:
Lesbia with her sparrow
Shares the darkness,-- presently
Every bed is narrow.

Unremembered as old rain
Dries the sheer libation;
And the little petulant hand
Is an annotation.

After all, my erstwhile dear,
My no longer cherished,
Need we say it was not love,
Just because it perished?


--Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Lyrics, pg. 75 (Harper & Row, 1939)
Today -- combining a day of hard-won vacation with a nagging sore throat and a desire not to budge from my comfortable domicile -- I decided to reorganize (for the umpteenth time) my perfume collection. In so doing, I discovered with a pang of woe that my 2.5 ml. decant of État Libre d'Orange's Tilda Swinton Like This had almost entirely evaporated right in the vial when I wasn't looking.

I'd purchased Like This from The Perfumed Court last October and enjoyed its penetrating warmth greatly over the winter-- but not so greatly that over ninety percent of it should be missing from the bottle today. Whether due to a faulty seal or some kind of natural propensity to diminish, it alone of all my decants (believe me, I checked) seems to have suffered some sort of ghostly drain.

According to Wikipedia, "'Angels' share' is a term for the portion (share) of a wine or distilled spirit's volume that is lost to evaporation during aging... In low humidity conditions, the loss to evaporation may be primarily water. However, in higher humidities, more alcohol than water will evaporate, therefore reducing the alcoholic strength of the product."

I rather like the idea of angels swanning about wearing Like This. But as I loved to swan about in it even more, I rather wished the angels had left my share alone. Yet one doesn't wear fragrances such as this during the summer, does one? It would be like donning a mohair sweater during a heat wave. The very thought makes me itch.

Somehow, though, I couldn't feel sad. The pleasure that Like This had given me during its short time in my possession outweighed any regret. Only a few drops remained in the vial. I tipped them out into the palm of my hand and drenched myself in the dregs.