Tam Dao (Diptyque)

Anybody who watches Hoarding: Buried Alive as compulsively as I do knows that order must be imposed on chaos relentlessly to keep everyday existence livable. Though my scent stash isn't necessarily a recordbreaker, a recent inventory made me aware of a growing blind spot-- my box of unreviewed samples. As this collection of scores, swaps, and gifts patiently waits for my attention, I dither over the best way to start. Should I sort them by perfume house, by nose, or by notes? Shall I wear them in alphabetical order, or via random selection? How should I begin?

Time will tell-- literally. A perusal of my fragrance purchase ledger awakens me to the fact that some of these samples have lingered unworn in my collection for almost eighteen months! It seems insane that I wanted them badly enough to hunt them down, only to tuck them away in the shadows of the Sight Unseen. And they won't stick around forever. Even as we speak, they're merrily evaporating from the very vials and sprayers they occupy...

Forgive my turn of phrase, but the time has come to spritz or get off the pot.

For the next week or two, I've resolved to wear nothing but my oldest samples-- starting with a passel of Diptyque decants that have been in my possession since early 2011. Way back then, I'd ordered a TPC sample set with the greatest of expectations. Having loved Philosykos, L'Eau de L'Eau, and Ombre dans L'Eau (my favorite toffee-rose with a dose of dry, salty greens), I felt fully confident that I'd discover plenty here to admire. But the very first sample I tried let me down... way down. So I abandoned the whole enterprise in a spate of perfumista pique.

Bang: back of the box.

Three weeks ago when I warbled the praises of Lalique's Encre Noire, Undina remarked that it reminded her somewhat of Tam Dao. Her comment impelled me to (guiltily) excavate this 2003 EdT from perfume sample limbo.

While I'm personally unable to connect it to the vetiver-heavy Encre Noire, I like Tam Dao quite a lot. According to its makers, it's a tribute to "the most sought-after of the sacred woods: the sandalwood of Goa". Fresh, oily, aromatic, its opening moments evoke freshly-peeled bark and the first pass of an iron rasp along the fragrant grain. From here, Tam Dao draws a straight line through mellow to sweet-- a boon if you've got a hankering for sugar; a drawback if (like me) you find bitter/savory more to your liking. Still, regardless of appetite, everyone can appreciate the seamlessly smooth journey Tam Dao offers. This perfume is built to coast-- feet off the pedals, hands off the handlebars, eyes trustingly shut.

Relax and enjoy the ride.

Scent Elements: Sandalwood, rosewood, cypress, ambergris