Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment

I am a perfume addict. I enjoy pretty and unpretty smells way too much. In fact, I derive so much pleasure out of them that I've smelled almost everything out there to smell, and I blend my own when nothing on the market fits the scent of my dreams. The scents I tend to like are similar to the music I like: blends that I perceive as being bold and distinctive usually captivate me. I like some mainstream scents that line the shelves at the glitzy department stores but generally I go for the ones that aren't mass-marketed. By the same token, I don't like any scents just *because* they aren't mainstream if that makes sense. If a scent smells pretentiously off-the-beaten-path or too serious, haughty, humorless and dour, it can turn me off, too. Most importantly, a scent must seduce the bombshell that lives within me, and as Evanescence once said, it must bring me to life.

In a nutshell, I see each fragrance as a composition and I enjoy trying to place the scent in my head in an olfactive family or scent genre, pretty much the same way the reviewers do with music (only I can be a lot more objective about smells since I'm not as emotionally attached to them, at least not in the same way as I am to music). I like to think about crossover scents and how the system of categorizing scents changes with the times. I like to ponder how subjective perfume appreciation is, how you either like it or you don't, just like with music and it's as simple as that. Wearing or smelling the right scent at the right time is therapeutic for me and I appreciate perfume culture as part of women's history. These are just some of the reasons I've come up with to rationalize my perfume addiction.

My fragrance of the moment is Sisley Eau du Soir, a unisex Floral Chypre which I perceive as being bold, dry and slightly animalic. It's basically a rosy heart with some citrus and spice on a mossy-woody-light musk base, a sophisticated, traditional type of fragrance. It wasn't love at first sniff; it grew on me. Many people compare it to Guerlain Mitsouko and Yves Saint-Laurent Y, but Eau du Soir is much lighter than those, not nearly as dense or full-bodied. There is a little bit of that Fruity Chypre smell in Eau du Soir but I think it leans toward something like Agent Provocateur in attitude, which is another modern, streamlined Chypre. Here's the fun part: Eau du Soir dries down to a subtle chocolate scent on me. I think Eau du Soir gets most of its attention from being marketed as the haughtiest scent, ever, having cult status among royalty and Harvard grad Natalie Portman. I think I love the scent but I do feel it it's a bit costly. I definitely don't need the ostentatious gold-plated packaging--gimme the juice and I'm thrilled.

Share your fragrance love with me! Post your faves--comments are welcome.