Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Fragrant notes

I have a slight obsession with the smell of things.  

I'm transfixed by the power of the faintest whiff of a scent to evoke long forgotten memories.  There's a cologne that an old boyfriend of mine used to wear.  I have no idea what it is but sometimes a man will pass me in the street wearing it.  My heart will start pounding and instantly I'm back in Lyons in the summer of 2003.  Occasionally I've tried to find out what it is - a fresh light fragrance that reminds me of seabreezes and blue summer skies - but I've never had any luck.  I think it's best to keep it unknown - a special, unique memory.  

A friend of mine wore Christian Dior's Poison for a whole winter. It takes just a waft of that deep rich fragrance for me to want to see her again.  Funnily enough, when she changed to a Hermes perfume, it just didn't have the same effect. 

And then there's the smell of Africa...  I grew up in Africa. The smell of rain on the drought parched, red soil is something I miss with a primal intensity.  I didn't think it was possible to miss the smell of something but there you go. 

The power of perfume is why I love the idea of a signature scent. Something that is 'you'.  I wore Estee Lauder's 'Body Power' for ages.  I adored its creamy, fresh fragrance but it's long been discontinued and I haven't been able to find anything really suitable since.  I'm currently wearing Hermes, 'Un Jardin en Mediteranee'.  It's fine but that's it. Fine.  It's got a harsh undertone which I'm not sure about but I've never smelt it on anyone else which is why I like it. 

Sometimes location can trick you.  Recently, when I was in Paris, I bought L'Artisan Parfumeur's 'Fou d'Absinthe'. Standing in the dark panelled shop in the Third Arrondissement, I fell in love with it's deep woodiness and it's promise of dark exciting evenings to come but somehow, in London, it just doesn't seem the same. Here, in grey, sensible London, it just seems too... well... deep and I realized that the dark, romantic smell was the perfect accompaniment to the dark, romantic Parisian surroundings. 

I'm trying to work out what the perfect London perfume would be. Someone suggested Burberry 'Brit' but that's a bit too obvious.  When I've sussed it, I'll let you know.

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