ALL ABOUT LANIER

“Passion, I see, is catching” W. Shakespeare as quoted by Elizabeth Taylor on her launch for Elizabeth Taylor’s “Passion”.

A NEW BEGINNING ~ A NEW WORLD

All my adult life I have worn perfume and in my milieu not everyone digs it. But I do so, off to a sulfurous hell with them! My earliest encounter with perfume was as a child at Christmas when my Uncle would give a bottle of Chanel No.5 to every woman in our family. We were not rich by any means so this was a real treat for my Mother, my Aunt and my Grandmother. I fell in love with the glamour of it all on the spot. At 21 I bought my first bottle of Chanel Pour Homme and discovered that the universe of men’s fragrances travels eons beyond the gas giants of English Leather and Old Spice. I caught the perfume passion and have never looked back.

Yet for years my fragrance shelf was a sad affair, just that one bottle of Chanel Pour Homme which over the years morphed into Chanel Pour Monsieur and then into Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentree. (all of this change because of reformulations.) Nothing new came into my olfactory life, only the bottle changed every couple of years. Then a good friend of mine, Steve died. He was only 38 years old at his passing. I had the job of helping clean out his apartment. He had an interesting medicine cabinet. It was full of exotic bottles of Fahrenheit and Calvin Klein Obsession, Van Cleef & Arpels. They ended up coming home with me. That was back in the late 90′s.

I used them and as they grew older I often thought I should get rid of these and buy something new. A few of them had turned. But I never did anything about it. Then about two and a half years ago I met a man, an actor and director in New York. We fell in love and he asked me to be his life partner. This unexpected man, Bryant Lanier came at the beginning of my third act. I had given up on ever having a life partner and was quite content to move into old age on my own. I was used to that and knew how to do it. Besides I enjoy being with me.

On December 28th 2011 he went to see an ear nose and throat doctor about a mild complaint. That night he was admitted to the hospital and the next day he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Three weeks later on January 19th he died. I was in shock. He was planning to move from New York to San Francisco and begin a new life here. He wanted to build a small theater and create great shows for undiscovered talent. But he wasn’t going to do that now, he was going on a differnt trip. His friends packed up his apartment; his body was cremated and his ashes sprinkled in the sea in Key West. (He once told me he never wanted to go back there because it held bad memories for him.) Life never really turns out the way you expect it to.

bry1net

Bryant Lanier

A month later still numb unshaven and unwashed I opened my medicine cabinet. My bottle of Chanel Pour Monsieur was empty. Steve’s old bottles were looking sad. So I went shopping and bought a new bottle of Chanel, then a bottle of Versace Eau Fraiche, then a bottle of Givenchy this and Bulgari that. I found the fragrance website Fragantica and began to learn about notes and olfactory groups and sub groups. I met really nice knowledgeable people there in the forums; I got out of bed on Saturdays again. I began to review my new scents creating a screen name from my boyfriends last name, I began to shave and look in the mirror, I went shopping, I rediscovered life and laughter and the joy I always had for life. The world moves on and I rejoined it all because of something as ephemeral as a fleeting scent on my wrist.

This blog is all about my discoveries over the years since Bryant’s passing of the ever expanding and exciting world of  fragrances for both men and women. I will start off with some of my reviews from Fragantica and some stories of my adventures looking for something that smells good. I hope you will come with me.

LANIER NOIR

(A painting that I did in 2009 of my late boyfriend Bryant became my avatar at Fragantica. I toyed for a while with the idea of creating a scent based on him. This “ad” was about as far as I got.)

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98 Comments

  1. Hi, which one is your favorite mens fragrance?

  2. Hi!
    I would have to say that my signature scent is Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentree. But my favorites always change and evolve. Right now I would say Chanel Cuir de Russie and Ambre by Baldessarini are at the top.
    Lanier

    • Hi lanier.. thanks for the advice.. I’ll search your choices if they have them in japan.. thanks for following my blog.. cheers..

    • I’ve recently become interested in fragrances, and after watching your excellent YouTube video about Pour Monsieur I ordered a bottle of the Concentree version since, like you, I had worn the original 1955 version when it was sold in the U.S. as Chanel for Men. When my bottle arrived I was very disappointed with it – it was not at all what I remembered – far too spicy, far too heavy – nothing like the scent I remembered. So I went online and read about the 1989 reformulation. After initially being discouraged that the original version was no longer available in the United States, I was pleased to find that it is available through at least one online source, which you can find here:

      http://us.strawberrynet.com/m/cologne/chanel/pour-monsieur-eau-de-toilette-spray-/24918/

      My bottle arrived yesterday and it’s exactly what I remembered. If you lament the unavailability of the old formulation in the U.S. may I suggest you buy a bottle of the old stuff yourself. It’s every bit as good as Luca Turin says it is, which of course you already know.

      • Thank you SO MUCH Thomas. You know I am off to buy it right now! I can’t wait.

  3. […] is just a small taste of what Lanier Smith has to offer, and by the word of {theEye}, you will not regret taking a visit to Scents Memory. […]

  4. Hi Lanier,
    You are so brave in the face of such loss. I can’t imagine how I would weather the loss of my husband.
    Chanel Pour Monsieur is one of my favorites, along with Monsieur Balmain, Habit Rouge, and YSL M7. Knize 10 is on my short list to try.

    • Thank you so much Julie! I think you and I have excellent taste!!

  5. I always wonder if my images – visuals based on torn posters and urban signs – have some fragrance too. I’m really sure that colors are also scents… Nice and interesting blog: I love all what moves senses, mind and eyes.

    • Ciao Roberto! Yes I believe that fragance and images go hand in hand. Scent is like invisible painting in the air. And colors are indeed scent related. Thanks for joining in on this little adventure.

  6. Hello Lanier, I am loving your blog and have nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award. Details: http://leblogdemarie.com/2012/08/10/things-that-make-me-smile-19/

    No worries if you’re not into awards. Just wanted to give you a nod.

    Have a great weekend!
    ~M

    • M~
      I am so very deeply honored by your nomination! How very sweet you are. I think awards are very nice indeed! Thank you so very much!
      Lanier

      • You are very welcome! As I said, I am really loving your blog!

        Best,
        ~M

  7. What a great blog this is! I especially love the mashup of fragrance and classic celebrities. I’ve been a sucker for scent ever since I got my hands on Chanel Coco in 1986. Right now I’m loving Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee (for being a lady) and Carnal Flower (when I’m not a lady).

    Looking forward to more!

    Becca

    • Becca! How lovely to have you here. I love your fragrance choices and your classification for use is just wonderful. Thank you for joining me on my little stinky adventure.

  8. I enjoy a stellar niche, which I’ve find here with you. I read you enthusiastically. ~Sonya

  9. HI! I’M PLEASED TO INFORM THAT I NOMINATED YOU FOR THE “ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD”. NEWS AND RULES AT…
    http://robertoalborghetti.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/s-williams-art-gallery-nominated-me-for-one-lovely-blog-award/

  10. Oh Lanier, I’m very moved by your story. Perfume has followed you through these devastating loss, mewing at your heels like little cats seeking to offer furry comfort. This post reminds me how something as evanescent as a smell can contain an entire person.

    • Thank you Katie! When one opens the door to perfume one must be courageous and open the heart as well. That is why I told my story here. Your comment is very dear to me. Thank you.

  11. I just came across your blog accidentally. I am glad to read perfumes helped a bit to lift you out of your sorrow, although losing loved ones never really heals completely. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying that, it sounds depressing and I am an optimist by nature but it’s how it is for me (although I haven’t lost a partner).
    I look forward to reading your blog and I just have to add, I admire your honesty very much.

    • Thank you Ines! No it is not depressing to say that at all about the loss of a loved one. I am so grateful that I had my time with Bryant. I celebrate him everyday.
      Hope you enjoy your visit to my blog.

  12. Added you to my blogroll so that we can keep in touch 🙂

    • How very kind you are. Thank you I am honored to be added.

  13. What a wonderful About page. My dad wore Old Spice and even if I smell it today wonderful memories come back. What’s the quote, nothing revives a memory like smell? What a great blog.

  14. When I was a teenager I used to wear Christian Dior Eau Sauvage. I thought I was so cool wearing a men’s cologne. I actually prefer some of those deep manly scents, even today. I put them on and pretend I’m shopping for a gift. Ha! I’m all about perfume/cologne. Nothing can transport me to another time and place as quickly as fragrance. Looks like you and I have that in common.
    Oh, and Channel no. 5 – rich and delish.

    • Now how did I miss your nice note? Eau Sauvage IS wonderful indeed. I think most manly scents work well on women so go for it. Yes we do have a lot in common! And Chanel No.5 well that stands alone as and utterly seductive alluring siren call.

      • Yes, indeed. “Alluring siren call” My, you have a way with words.

      • oh… I do? thank you luv

  15. Greetings fellow Fragrantica member,
    Your “All About Lanier” really moved me. I wish you the best, and look forward to your reviews/posts.

    • Greetings Sacredsystem! Thank you so much! I look forward to your visits here as well.

  16. What a tragically beautiful story. Experiences like these make memories more keenly vivid, sharp.. tangible. The sound of a distant laugh, the scent of a fading cologne, that phantom, but familiar breath you feel close to your person.. which you know is quite impossible, yet still.. all these leave striking impressions that you alone get to revisit. I envy you. yes. I envy you, no.

    • Mashbot, how very kind and eloquently put. Thank you so much.
      L

  17. I started reading your entry with a huge laugh and grin. “[O]ff to a sulfurous hell with them!” seemed like a statement from one who shares not only my sensibilities but, also, my forceful way of expressing myself. And then I came to the rest of your post. Though I don’t know you, I felt for the shock, the surprise, the horrifying loss, and the pain which ensued. I’m truly sorry for your loss of a man who sounds like he lit up your life and started your “third act.” I hope that, your fourth act (if that is how one would describe this current stage) will be a joyous exploration that lets you always keep your partner close while you continue to rediscover life and laughter. All the very best, Lanier.

    • Kafkaesque, what a lovely early Christmas present your note is to me. Thank you. How thoughtful you are. Merry Christmas and I here’s to forth acts!

  18. That’s a real life journey that saddened me and maybe lift my spirit a bit at the end. I only realize how young I am and also how much life there still is out there…some of it tragic, some of it full of happiness.

    It’s a nice journey you are on, in which fragrances seem to be somewhat of a revival apparatus and I think that’s great, because scents are not only scents, almost never.

    Keep on blogging and thank you for visiting my blog as well!

    R.

    • R. How did I miss your lovely note? Thank you so very much! Everything that happens to us in life be it joyful or tragic it is all part of a great adventure that we are so very lucky to be on.
      L

  19. I’m enjoying your site, Lanier, and I also enjoyed your interview on The Perfumed Dandy’s site.
    Kind regards…L. 🙂

  20. Dearest Lilybelle,
    How lovely to have you here. I am so very flattered. And thank you so very much for your kind words.
    Always,
    Lanier

  21. […] Sunday, following his intriguing interview last week Mr Lanier Smith of Scents Memory will be here with his very own tale of a tremendous trip to Paris in The Perfumed […]

  22. […] sublime slice of Paris was brought to you by The Perfumed Dandy’s very special guest star Mr Lanier Smith of the truly impeccable blog Scents […]

  23. […] feel this Easter, The Perfumed Dandy has been working behind the scenes with my dear friend Mr Lanier of the brilliant ScentsMemory to bring you a sparkling two part […]

  24. […] feel this Easter, The Perfumed Dandy has been working behind the scenes with my dear friend Mr Lanier of the brilliant ScentsMemory to bring you a sparkling two part […]

  25. Dear Lanier,
    I received the Alabaster oil today! It was a thrill to see it in my mailbox. Thank you so much, my friend. This was an incredibly kind gesture. The oil is just as I suspected it would be – ethereal. I’ll treasure it.
    Thank you again, Lanier.
    Lisa

  26. Love the painting and sorry you had to part so suddenly. I am also a perfume lover and a lot of memories and emotions from my childhood and growing up are associated with perfumes – my mom’s, my own, other people’s. I’ve definitely found that body chemistry has a lot to do with what perfumes work for whom. Some scents I love on other people but not on myself. I have discovered that “bamboo” and “musk” notes are very “me,” even though couldn’t really tell you what those smell like on their own!! haha.

    • Hello and welcome RussianMartini! Yes I know what you are talking about when it comes to body chemistry. It is a mystery that seems to all work out in the end.

  27. Lanier- I love what you are doing here! From tragedy arises hope and new forged friendships….I am so enjoying your writings and your blog!
    xxoo

  28. WOW! What a story and very sad! Thanks for sharing it with the world though!! Excellent blog for sure!

  29. What a beautiful and poignant story… Really looking forward to reading and exploring more of your blog, Gemma. xo

  30. xo

  31. Thank you for the like, Lanier and I love the way you write, cutting and to the point, fantastic!

  32. Really enjoyed reading your story , Love how direct you are 😎

  33. I did not misjudge the cover of your book, you are without a doubt the most inspiring person I have ever had the pleasure of reading, I love the way every single one of your sentences evokes a sense of passion and meaning and how one sentence weaves into the other and they become much more than words, but emotions. Your about me was the first piece of writing to moved me to tears in quite a while, you were so open about your feelings and what had happened and at the same time I enjoyed it I also found it intriguing. My about me is well but a blip..at least I think it is as I have never bothered to check, I like to shroud myself with a veil of mystery and I have no idea as to why, my guess probably being that I enjoy the anonymity, the feeling that nobody knows who is typing away at the keys. I would apologize for my passion for speech I know too few people who could shake my silence and I have enjoyed reaching out to you. I will eagerly await your next post which much enthusiasm.

    Until then may the sun that shines to warm your body touch and warm your heart, from a friend.

    • Dear Chrissylefilce thank you for your very warm and wonderful words. I am so very moved and touched by what you have said here. So much so that I am alas at a loss of words. So my heartfelt thank you will have to suffice. I do look forward to your visits in the future.

      • The world can be so noisy that sometimes silence is the best response, although I have no idea who you are truly and you have no idea who I am everything you write shoots through to my essence and dances with my emotions in a way very few words manage to do, I know I may appear slightly foolish but well that’s just the way I am, I am undefinable both because I am and because I wish it to be so, whenever people think they know me I surprise them and I think this intrigues them. It is a pleasure to find someone who I can speak to who I know my words aren’t wasted on, so ultimately the thank you is all mine.

  34. […] that, just as I was setting up home here, I penned a review of Arpege which the delightful Mr Lanier posted on his splendid Scentsmemory site by way of a housewarming […]

  35. Happy birthday, Monsieur Lanier…just thought I’d make a little cameo on your site here, mon frer.

    FYI, Lalique Le Parfum, is a “must have”. Just take my word for it.

    Laurence

    • Laurence!!! I am thrilled you stopped by. OH YEAH I do need to get a bottle of Lalique Le Parfum. I have had my eye on it for a while now. So you just pushed me over the edge and I will order it tonight. Thanks mio fratello!

      • dont bother, I got you covered. I got 3 bottles of it…I’ll hook you up, when I come visit in Mar.

        Ciao, for now..

      • Laurence you are a gentleman of rare qualities. Thank You!

  36. […] (cue 07:00 minutes) Mr. Lanier starts to talk about – well – *blush* – […]

  37. […] I recalled… it was over at my dear friend Michael Lanier‘s website Scents Memory that this little tale had been told, in the days before The Dandy has […]

  38. I was very close to Bryant in 1997… It was in Key West but I had to return to France. We spoke again in 2002 and then I found out on the Internet. What happened to him… ? My name is Thierry (Terry).

    • Hi Thierry, Bryant was much loved by so many people and touched many lives. He was complicated to say the least and full of life. I miss him every day.Thank you for telling my a little of your time with him.

      • I’m glad Bryant got to meet someone he became so close to. He was complicated indeed but I always felt he was very special. We met at the wrong time… I was living in France… I did not speak English… His career in NYC was on hold… But I wish I had made the time to reconnect with him in New York when I spent a week for my birthday. Feel free to write more. Thierry

      • Thierry why don’t you send me an email at MGMtagame@yahoo.com ?

  39. I found this very interesting . I find you very interesting. I will comment in private via the email address you sent to mine…Mario Mathias

  40. The heartbreaking intimacy of your ‘about’ page here, and all the courage you show to know life is worth living, exploring, continuing, inhaling….is a tribute to the human experience, splendid. I wish you the best of everything you are heading for again and all new.
    Of perfumes, fragrance adored for a lifetime (including turpentine and Damar varnish I use for painting but do not intentionally daub!)…..I started wearing Tabac Blond (Caron, a fabulous perfume house) in my 20’s, beyond fantastic. And Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit, (Night Flight) named after Antoinne de St-Exupery, French pilot, author, and hero, and if I’m not mistaken Guerlain makes a male version with a slightly different name. Both are my favorites and worth a whiff when the chance allows. You are a remarkable fellow.

  41. PS, Chanel No.5 is wonderful. I read a Wallis Simpson biography, she used to sprinkle a bit on all the lightbulbs in the room; nice touch…it works.

    • Holycowgril thank you for both your wonderful comments! You just made my Friday perfection. I too put perfume on my lightbulbs! By the way, check out my Youtube reviews …they are quite fun! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNsLYk3Oyu-2qJ18mAJWTRQ Here is to the wonder we can find everyday in life!

      • I watched your perfumerie tour of San Francisco, what a great idea. I haven’t looked at men’s fragrances in ages, and loved the shops, loved the bottles and displays, so beautiful all of it. You got some lovely views of SF, too. The City. Welll done. Every NY working girl used to sidestep into the ground floor perfume counters of Saks, Bloomies, Bonwit and have a spritz, then out the far door and off to the the job. Always a joy, gleaming and mesmerizing, and oh the aromas!

      • Darling thank you…you have given me an idea for a review… Thank you #muse in the making!

  42. Hi Lanier The photo of Yosh and Ineke is the property of CaFleureBon not Tigerlily. Can you kindly correct it-many thanks and love your blog http://www.cafleurebon.com/friends-in-fragrance-interview-with-yosh-han-and-ineke-ruhland-bff-perfume-draw/

    • Oh sure thing! Thanks for letting me know about my boo boo!

  43. Lest anyone imagine Bryant was just another pretty face and fresh scent, I would like to add that he was a volunteer at our senior services program, SAGE, and did many lend-a-hands: going to an older adult’s home to assist with tasks or escort them home from a doctor’s appointment. At the same time he got his diagnosis, we opened the nation’s first LGBT Senior Center and in the transition, we lost touch. I am just reading now this blog to find out this sad news. Kudos for keeping Bryant’s memory alive. He was a kind, giving man.

    • Oh thank you so much Bertis! Bryant did talk about his work at Sage with great joy and love. He was an extraordinary man.

  44. Hello Lanier!
    I m a member of Fragrantica (Frayja) and a member of WordPress too (Rodo Dovris-Blink)
    I m glad I found your blog,Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Frayja! So flattered and happy to see you here. Cheers!

  45. What a beautiful, moving account, and what a lovely way to keep his name and memory alive. Thank you for sharing your story. See you on Fragrantica and WordPress!

  46. Hey Lanier, is was reading your about me and I felt so sad when I was reading this. I have kinda a similar story with my grandma that passed away by leukemia, and she also left us with a lot of fragrances that we now wear like chanel n05, but also she loved the freesia flowers and it’s iconic for her. Because of the freesia flower I got into the power of scents.
    Also I love your painting, it’s really well done. Are you a perfumer yourself?

    • Thank you so much. How lovely to have all those fragrances from your Grandmother to remember her by. No I am not a perfumer…I haven’t the talent for that. I wish I did! Cheers and much love from me in San Francisco to you in The Netherlands.

  47. Hi Lanier,
    I just discovered your YouTube channel recently and am so enjoying all your perfume reviews. Thanks so much for the time and thought you put into making it so enjoyable for your subscribers!
    Love your intro for each of the videos and have even tried mixing a few of the drinks you’ve shared. The “Sidecar” was pretty tasty, made even more so by the story you shared regarding its origins.
    Thanks again!
    Susan

    • Susan! Thank you so much. You just made today a Chanel Day! Merci!

  48. Hello again, I am so sorry for your loss. The fact that the heart can so easily love and be torn asunder in a blink of an eye is a cruel joke that makes us human and one with each other and at the same time all alone. I too know that bittersweet feeling of love and loss, and I hope I soon can get on with my life too. You must create that perfume that would celebrate your love and show the world how nothing truly smells like a man. Please reconsider it.

    Jeanette

    • Thank you so much Jeanette! I really appreciate your comment. We never forget the loves who are now in a different room but somehow we find a way to smile and live and love again. Take care.

  49. Mr Smith – I’ve been watching some of your videos on YouTube and have really just loved them! The first I stumbled upon looking for some input on Fougère Royale by Houbigant (isn’t it brilliant?).. But then you delighted me with your bottle of Pour Monsieur by Chanel (the EDT ORIGINAL, NOT THE CONCENTRÉE!) and then I came to this site and needed tissue after reading about Bryant… I’m a fragrance addict myself and actually worked in the industry in Chicago for years before moving to Taiwan to teach English full time… I have two fragrances I buy and replenish regularly (3 now, as I think Fougère Royale has joined the ranks)… Besides that original Chanel, another one you might love is Eau de Campagne by Sisley, created by Jean-Claude Ellena in 1974… It’s truly amazing and I think if you don’t already know it, you’ll love it!!
    I hope we can chat sometime – it’s been lovely getting to know you albeit virtually…!

    • Thanks so much! When I get back from my trip let’s do chat! Cheers!

  50. Dear Lanier:
    How touching and memorable story!
    I must confess that thanks to you I dared wearing Chanel’s Coco a couple of years ago.
    You encouraged me to forget about labels and I felt for it.
    I have always been fascinated by perfumes and smells.
    They are deeply tied to my memory and I just can’t conceive not wearing a fragrance.
    Even when I’m alone, I love wearing perfume for myself.
    I don’t care if it’s for men or women anymore, life is just one and we must enjoy things now no matter what.
    I enjoy watching your videos on YouTube and to tell you the truth, I enjoy a good cocktail along favorite perfume of the week specially on weekends.
    Take care and keep feeding our senses!

    • David thank you so much! Your kind and lovely comment means a great deal to me. I am so happy you now wear what you love and not what “they” say you should like. Stay tuned for more reviews here and on YouTube. Cheers!
      Lanier


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