Saturday, March 28, 2009

one scent ... or many?

The Holy Grail, versus a wardrobe.

The One, or a scent library.

I don't know if I'll ever return to a search for a "signature scent," my holy grail of perfume.  I do know that when I first started falling down the rabbit hole of scent, I was determined to find a scent that was clearly "me."  And I did find three that came close, any one of which would be a good candidate for the just one scent I was allowed if there were such restrictions in the universe.  They are:
  • L'Artisan Fleur d'Narcisse
  • Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond
  • Tauer Reverie au Jardin
Each is rather distinctive, which is something that would seem to fit "signature" scent by definition.  (Though upon writing that it seems perfectly fair to argue that a person's signature scent could be all about just "smelling good" to the maximum amount of people, or blending in, or what have you.)  Each also has a clear vegetal element, hay, narcissus, lavender, galbanum.  That has proven to be a common "me" element through my descent, even as I learn more notes and my general attractions open up and shift.

But I don't know if any would be on a Top 5, or even Top 10, list for recommendations for a scent wardrobe.  None are scents that appear in the current version of my regular rotation.  And for a fragrance wardrobe, which (for me, at least) needs to incorporate woody, oriental, fresh, classic, and comfort among its elements--see, already five down--I would go elsewhere. Perhaps, following those elemental guidelines:
  • DKNY Black Cashmere (or YSL Nu)
  • Guerlain Shalimar
  • Guerlain Eau de Imperiale  (or Annick Goutal Mandragore, or Prada Infusion d'Iris)
  • Chanel Bois des Iles  (or maybe Lanvin Arpege, or Jolie Madame)*
  • Givenchy Organza Indecence  (or Guerlain Bois de Armenie, or Parfumerie Generale  L'Ombre Fauve, or Serge Lutens Chergui, or...there are many, many in this category)
I haven't even touched earth or galbanum yet, which I absolutely, positively must have, and could perhaps satisfy with a bottle of Jacomo Silences.  So, I guess, cut the classics, because while I like to have them around, maybe I don't absolutely, positively have to have them.

But then what do I do with Bois des Isles, which is both "me" and "classic" and not ever going to leave my real life options?  Go ahead, bring on your hired guns; you'll have trouble prying it out of my cold, dead hands.  (Oh, dear; apparently too much Mafia Wars and cowboy references this week.)

And what of the rites of spring?  Diorissimo, the ritual dabbing of which from a vintage bottle is already an untouchable ceremony.  Or CB-IHP Black March, which gets used layered and alone for a few weeks just before I can huff the real stuff in my garden?  Or dismiss the gimmicks, and stick with the pained pleasure of En Passant, or Apres L'Ondee?  But if I dismiss the "gimmicks," I'll drop an important element of the rites of fall, too, when Burning Leaves and other smokes enjoy a few weeks of ritual transition.  

Uh-oh, that reminds me of another favorite category:  amber.  Should I pick a sweet one, or something more in the spice range?  Or perhaps a mix?  Or is that going to limit its use to the dead of winter???

Oh, yeah, picking out amber reminds me of another category which deserves a bottle of its own:  green.  And there are so many, which version would I pick?  Diorella?  Bel Respiro?  

I'm doomed for a five bottle wardrobe.  Let's go back to ten.  Then Bois des Isles can be its own category.  I think that's eight categories, leaving me room to pick more than one for one or two categories.  If I don't open up the categories to include florals...or bring back the "gimmicks"...

Dear heavens, I forgot leather.  I absolutely love leather.  

This exercise falls under the category "brain bending futile fun."  If I write it next week, different scents will show up.  If you came to this post hoping for an answer, I don't have one. Is it possible to have a signature scent?  Sure.  Is a fragrance wardrobe a reasonable approach? Absolutely.  

No answers, but I do know is I feel incredibly fortunate that my sniffer works and brings me such silly guilty pleasure.  And that I have discovered an incredibly enthusiastic, sharing perfume crowd who are more than happy to open my eyes (and nose) to new things.  If you are trolling the blogs as part of a regular habit, you know what I mean.  If you are just starting out...well...whatever contours your path takes, it's going to be a fun adventure, and there really is no "right" way to do it.**

*hey, notice how things that are "classic" can also veer widely from each other; and here I haven't tried to include a modern "classic"
**well...except that you should use decants and swaps.  Lots of pain, heartbreak, and cash can be saved that way.
***I am footnoting like crazy today...somebody is know who....
****okay, it's not like crazy, and now I'm pushing the convention intentions, but what the heck...maybe one day soon I will go footnote hog wild....


Alyssa said...

If I could, I would make every meal a tasting menu, a course of tapas, a smorgasbord, those little dishes they serve at Korean resturants, and so on and on, you get the idea. But time, money, and waistline forbid.

Luckily, there is perfume.

Alyssa said...

P.S. Just saw your reply to my Mahora comment. I'd be happy to swap samples with you, but I'm betting its just me. ;-)

ScentScelf said...

Glad you're back! Let the swap begin...

Meanwhile, I think you've hit on one thing I love about being consumed with -- and consuming -- perfume: it doesn't expand the waistline. Of course, it doesn't shrink it, either...that would be my wallet. ;)