Every now and again, when I catch myself making one of my pronouncements about how much I loathe Fragrance X, I like to go back and re-smell it to see if I´ve changed my mind. Having said three times in a week during blog-related discussion how much I hated Prada Woman, I decided during my last mall sniffage to give it another go. So I put on a spritz and waited and … it was lovely. Notes are: Bergamot Oil, Bitter Orange, Mandarin Flower, Mimosa, Rose Absolute, Peru Balsam, Patchouli Oil, Labdanum, Tonka Bean, Vanilla Absolute, Benzoin, Musk, Sandalwood.
I´m still scratching my head over this. My best guess is that over time my tolerance for patchouli has gone up. This time around with Prada I got all the sweet, soft florals I´d somehow missed before. When I look at the notes up there I think, damn – I should love this. I don´t get the big citrus at the beginning that some people do, but the mimosa is much more noticeable to me, although I can´t identify a “rose” note. I would even go so far as to describe this as predominantly floral on my skin, with the patch/sandalwood base gently cradling those florals rather than bludgeoning me with its astringent assertiveness. The sweet creaminess of vanilla/benzoin/tonka also help to highlight the florals, I think, and mutes the patch a bit.
In the meantime Patty keeps sending me samps of the Carons – the really nice ones I can´t smell in the store here. And she´s wearing me down. I want to post on them, but the thing is, every time I open the package of 10 vials, I´m overwhelmed by the gorgeous smell of them all together. It smells like honey to me, dark and rich and sweet, with that furry feel you get in the back of your nose when you smell beeswax. While Diva was mulling the Secretions, I dabbed on some Parfum Sacre extrait – which I don´t think they even make any more – and that´s a crime, because that jus would bring any normal person to his or her knees in gratitude. Everything I hated about the Caron base – that bitter, medicinal iodine smell – is muted into something powerful and strange and, yes, beautiful in the parfum versions, and what kind of fool was I? I couldn´t stop myself, and at the end I was wearing four of them: Parfum Sacre, Alpona extrait, Pois de Senteur extrait, and En Avion.
Then I grabbed Diva and Enigma and ran out the door to see a show, Flamenco Vivo, even though it was a school night, and late. Because, really, is there anything like flamenco? We had box seats looking down on the stage, and the acoustics were excellent. The five dancers seduce and retreat, invite and repel. They are tightly choreographed, but they improvise. The guitarists and the singer call out to the dancers, and the dancers work their castanets into a beat like rattlesnakes, unbelieveably, dangerously fast. They move their hands and their arms behind them, arching, graceful – and then they do this bizarre thing – they beat their hands against their breasts, smack them across their hips – Look At Me! At the end of two hours, the diva, Carlota Santana, came on stage with a man, and they beat that floor until it was smoking beneath their shoes. And I sat there, wafting an immense sillage of Caron, my wrists up near my face to maximize the scent. The sight and smell of that much fierce beauty all at once just about did me in.
I want to know: has there ever been a moment like that for you, when you were transported by a sight or an event, and a perfume connected to it? Or: is there any fragrance you´ve done a complete reversal on and fell in love with, and why do you think you changed your mind?
images of Carlota Santana y Flamenco Vivo: baylinartists.com, artidea.org