Émeraude Vintage Pure Parfum and Parfum de Toilette (Coty)

I can't believe it's taken me this long to write up Émeraude! True, I reviewed the EdC almost three years ago-- but that was before I obtained the extrait I'm currently wearing. I first spotted it in an locked vitrine at the antique store. I coveted that tiny bottle desperately but refrained from purchasing it due to what I felt was an obscenely high price tag. (Forty dollars for something no bigger than my thumbnail?! huffed I.) Eventually, it disappeared from the display, and I imagined -- with tears streaming down my face, naturally -- that a smarter someone had claimed this treasure. But the consigner had merely moved it to another vitrine... and marked it down to $22.

This time, no dithering. My wallet and I chorused Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. And in a way, we're STILL saying it.

You won't catch me making the same mistake twice-- which is why I pounced upon a specimen of the parfum de toilette with scarcely a first (let alone second) thought eighteen months ago. Full, untouched, in perfect condition, and the most gorgeous shade of sprout green within its gold-crown-capped mini-flacon, it sat in an indoor display case at the Columbus Farmers Market quite as if it had been expecting me. I was the first person to open it... and it was the very scent of paradise.

What is the difference between the extrait and the parfum de toilette? Well, I suppose if hell has layers, heaven does, too. The extrait might be described as one storey above the PdT. But the PdT is on the 1,000th floor, and the elevator walls were mural-painted by Marc Chagall, and when you step off into the penthouse vestibule, Saint Peter himself hands you the mail and offers to take your coat. To reach the extrait, you'll have to go up, up, up-- past the Russell Hotel, past the Jellicle Moon, to the Heaviside Layer.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, orange, lemon, tarragon, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, rosewood, sandalwood, patchouli, opopanax, amber, benzoin, vanilla