Tag: Perfume

Serial Monogamy: A Perfume Story

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. ”
― Christian Dior

I have long been in love with the idea of a signature scent. I say “idea” because while I was faithful to Coco Mademoiselle for several years in my early 20s, we broke up at some point and I’ve been a hussy, jumping around ever since trying to find something I could wear every day without getting bored or smelling it on every other girl (or guy!) who walks down the street. I’ve fallen love with another scent more than once, but not one worth forgoing all other scents for.

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At the moment I’m finishing up a bottle of Hermes Jardin sur la Nil, and am in a torrid, wild affair with Passion Boisee from Frapin, which is a perfume house that grew out of a French family cognac business that’s been going since the 13th century. This scent is the nearest I’ve yet come to fidelity! I also have a bottle of Commes des Garcon in Amazingreen which I bought against the day that my Hermes runs out, and a small spritzer of Replica by Maison Margiela in Jazz Club. As you may have gathered from the scattering of testers, I’m already on the hunt for the next fragrance up to bat when either of these go.

There are themes to my perfumes. I hate most florals and strongly prefer scents that are at least slightly masculine. Woods and spices are my go tos, with a healthy heaping of bergamot–since my Chanel days, I’ve never fallen in love with a fragrance that didn’t have bergamot listed in its ingredients. Know thyself, C.. I also sometimes steal a spray of Jeff’s cologne: an expensive bottle of Tom Ford that I don’t begrudge the cost of in the slightest because I adore it on him and it lasts forever. He mock complains whenever I bury my nose in his shirt or neck to catch a whiff, but you can tell he’s pretty chuffed to have such an easy way of seducing me with pheromones.

I’m still open to the idea that I will find The One, but these days I’m more okay with the notion that I may continue to play the field. I’m mostly faithful to whatever bottle currently lives on my nightstand–or two to be honest, one for warmer seasons and one for cold–but my eye, it roves. Always looking for the next best thing.

Because, kittens…at a deep and fundamental level, I’m a snob.

That bark of laughter you just heard was Jeff in the other room. “No kidding,” I believe was his precise response.

Well, there’s no helping it, I am a snob and I don’t like smelling like everybody else. First of all, there are a lot of glorious scents in the world–an almost infinite variety of combinations and notes that can be combined and recombined in ways that make even your favorite individual scents feel new and exciting while still invoking nostalgia. Secondly no perfume will smell exactly the same on you as it does on anyone else. Skin chemistry is neat like that! But that’s still no excuse for every girl in the lift to be wearing the same fragrance.

I think that the plethora of luxury brand perfumes (usually by major fashion houses) is completely understandable. Most of us may not be able to afford a Chanel jacket or bag, but we can afford a splurge on Chanel cosmetics here or there, and what has as much staying power as perfume? Well crafted and distilled, you shouldn’t need more than one spritz a day (possibly two in a pinch) and so a single bottle can get you through months if not years of wear. And so these scents organically and naturally permeate through pop culture and Instagram feeds. There’s no shame in it and if you have a beloved fragrance that you genuinely love that just happens to be popular, I will be the last woman in the world to comment on it. Heck, I’m just about to polish off a fragrance by Hermes that I picked up four years ago! I won’t be repurchasing it, but I’ve enjoyed wearing it for four summers in a row immensely.

But the truth is that I enjoy feeling that I’m wearing something just a bit different. In reality I know that tens of thousands of guys and gals are wearing the same scent as me, but the illusion is powerful. I enjoy stumbling into niche perfume sellers in corners of London or cities I visit on holiday and finding something quite unlike anything I could pick up at the Nordstrom’s counter. I like the (admittedly false) exclusivity of smaller, less well known houses who are making perfume the way that connoisseurs make cheese or wine–in small batches and to their own preferences or taste. I like feeling like I’m wearing something secretive and interesting. Like unto red lipstick, the effect may be purely psychological, but it’s real.


Your turn. Are you a one-perfume man or woman, or are you playing the field like me? Do you have a particular memory associated with a scent? Do you have or want a signature scent, or do you find the idea silly (or just plain boring)? Talk to me! 

Bloomin’ Lovely

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. ”
― Christian Dior

For years now I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect perfume. I wore Coco Mademoiselle for close to a decade and then, quite suddenly, went off it. But I remain dedicated to the somewhat dated idea of signature scents rather than a massive smorgasbord of perfumes to choose from. I simply like smelling familiar to myself and others and find scents to be easy ways to play with identification (I might keep a scent forever, alas for Coco, but I’ll definitely keep it around a long time). Currently I wear a Hermes perfume, Jardin sur la Nil. I picked up over a year ago when I clearly had adventure on the brain and the idea of an olfactory trip up the Nile appealed, and while I’m very fond of it, I admit it’s not The One.

I’m a snob, and I don’t like smelling like wearing very common scents–maybe that’s why I eventually got tired of Coco, come to think of it–but finding unusual perfumes takes time. Luckily I found a shop in Spitalfields that makes the hunt easier. Welcome to Bloom!

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Bloom focuses on promoting lesser known noses and masters and stocks scents that you won’t be able to find elsewhere. Chatting with a shop worker, it seems that they’ve been the first to carry a number of brands and perfumes in the UK, a fact she seemed pretty darn proud of. As well she should be!

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Often I find that perfume counters at malls or department stores all smell the same, a mix of the popular and expensive name brands they carry. Bloom to me never smells the same way twice; and trust me, I make regular pilgrimage. The stock changes regularly enough to create a purely unique bouquet that’s a delight to hang out in.

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When I finally finish of Jardin sur la Nil, I’ve already picked out the runner up for my next perfume from Bloom. It will be months if not another year or two yet, but the shop assistants introduced me to L’Humaniste, a scent inspired by the French Renaissance writer Rabelais (so clearly I need to have it). I’m flirty with deeper, spicy, more cologne-y scents these days and it fits the bill nicely. It may not be the One either, but I’m having a lot of fun looking.

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What do you think about signature scents? A lovely concept? Too old school? Not for you? An article of faith? Tell me all you wear and why!