I’ve been doing some more experimenting with “radical abundance of mouillettes”, and decided to share some interim results.
I am now awash in mouillettes – a.k.a. blotters – a.k.a. perfume smelling strips – I have them everywhere. They are of 3 kinds:
- homemade from toilet paper cores
- homemade from mixed media paper
- commercial from Accessories For Fragrances
You may have read, recently, of my experiment in which I began creating cheap and surprisingly effective homemade mouillettes from noyaux de toilette.
This, while I was waiting for more commercial mouillettes to arrive from Accessories for Fragrances.
Store Link: http://www.affwebshop.com/perfume-tester-strips/
You will also recall that I linked to Basenotes discussion of creating homemade mouillettes from art paper – specifically watercolor paper.
Note that Strathmore Watercolor Paper 140 lb was recommended.
I decided to indulge the latter fancy as well, during a trip to the art store with my dear wife.
HOWEVER, free to choose any paper of my liking, I opted for STIFFER stuff, because I cannot stand weak, floppy, soy-boy blotters, that remind me of my own manly manliness on a bad day. However, I didn’t want the blotter manliness of, let us say, the “isoquinoline crowd”, who likely smell of Viagra, whatever that may smell like, and don’t require that extreme pleasure in life known as ladies.
Thus, <royal>WE</royal> chose Strathmore Mixed Media paper, 400 Series | Best, 184 lb
Sorry that this image is just the cover of the pad, but that is probably the most useful, as that is what you shop for. The paper itself is white like the background of the next image.
Now, as you can see by my affinity for the pleasant brown of my TPMs, I’m not hung up on the color of my mouillettes, other than to note that you NEED some in white, because those are excellent for detecting the STAINING which happens with some juices. I don’t always care about that, except typically for comprehensive reviews or use on clothing.
Likewise, not all papers are BLEACHED to the extent of white paper, and may thus retain pleasant but interfering natural odors, although I have never found this theoretical problem to show up in practice with expensive papers.
Yes, I sniff random paper. Surely I don’t have to explain this to perfumistae!
Thus, feel free to pick a pleasant mouillette color of your choice.
Size is also a consideration, and there are MANY sizes available.
I chose 6 inch by 8 inch, with the intent of creating 6-inch mouillettes. Indeed, I have found that length SO perfect, that I am now grabbing these homemade art paper mouillettes in preference to both commercial and my TP specials.
I’m too lazy to upload a picture of these art paper mouillettes right now, but they are easily described.
I have found that I no longer enjoy my highly tapered mouillettes with the fat handles and thin blades. I am much more pleased by a simple, thin (tall) trapezoidal shape, having a roughly 1/2-inch (12 mm) base width, a 1/4-inch (6 mm) tip width, and a straight, long cut between them.
Imagine the following, but roughly 12 sun long, and then take that whole thing and scale it down by half, and then switch units to inches – so the ends are 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch, and the length 6 inches.
Note that I snagged this trapezoid from a rather interesting WordPress blog, doing Japanese modeling of historical objects. Fascinating stuff.
The resulting mouillettes – of which I get about 20 per sheet of media paper – are absolutely unique. If you do a web search on “trapezoidal perfume smelling strips”, you will find everything BUT a long, thin trapezoidal shape. All the commercial ones are either simple rectangular, or try to do some kind of fancy taper, but none are the obvious simplicity of a simple constant taper of a long trapezoid.
Technically, if you snip a rectangular sheet of paper into long, thin, trapezoidal mouillettes, as evenly as possible, what you will get are two right trapezoids at the ends, and isosceles trapezoids in between.
This image illustrates the difference.
The yellow strips here are roughly double-wides of the mouillettes I’m making. You can see some subtle right angles on the left-hand yellow strip and the white strip on the right – those are the right trapezoids you are forced to make on the ends, but to be honest, it’s hardly noticeable, as you can see here.
Your mind may symmetrize them automatically to isosceles (left-right symmetrical, here), and indeed this is an excellent visualization of a phenomenon in perfume, in which our minds try to neaten things up a bit, sometimes, and perceive what we expect or hope to see, rather than the reality that is close. Or, likewise, the right trapezoids may just bug the hell out of you. MISTER MONK.
This seeing or not seeing of differences that may or may not be there is the same general phenomenon as when we smell a perfume on a man, and smell it differently than when we smell the same fragrance on a woman. It’s not skin chemistry – it’s psychology of perception. Often, when you recognize the fragrance, the illusion of difference is broken, and you realize that Bulgari Black is Bulgari Black.
Anyway, back to moillettes. I’m trying to be freer with the things, but I have to admit that my old stinginess is hard to get rid of sometimes. I don’t use ANY of my mouillettes as much or as often as I should.
One benefit I am finding, however, is that I’m also stingy with throwing them out. They hang around, no pun intended, hanging over edges of flat surfaces, FOREVER. This is giving me real insight into who is doing good bases, and who is not. Certain Guerlains, and certain scents from Bath & Body Works, last forever, in excellent shape. Props to Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea, Gingham, Azzaro Wanted Girl, and damn near anything by Thierry Mugler.
One more point. Toilet paper core paper is often notoriously hard to mark with a pen, because the paper is surface treated in some fashion that prevents adhesion. A ballpoint pen can be impossible to use on that paper.
In contrast, mixed media paper in a six inch length is simply perfect. Easy to mark, easy to pick up, easy to hang over an edge without touching the surface with fragrance. They retain fragrance very well. The 184-lb weight (300 g/m2) is very sturdy but not stiff. The strips “pick up” nicely. TP moillettes pick up a bit more nicely as far as studiness, but their length is not optimal, IMO.
Thus, I continue to explore the mouillette radical abundance paradigm.
To half-quote the signature of a fellow Baesnoter, “sniffing more” is a good thing.
However you do it.