Hey, everyone, welcome to the Results of the Signature Scent Challenge – your chance to report on how wearing the same scent for a week worked out for you, or just to laugh and mock the rest of us. Let’s begin with a warm welcome for Tom (aka tmp00), a sweet, slyly funny guy who will be doing occasional posts for us while Lee takes a break. We welcome Tom’s man-junk male perspective to the henhouse although we already have some huevos. Most of y’all probably know Tom already, he lives in El Lay, is a gracious host and a long-suffering tour guide/driver to crazy perfumistas who visit, and writes for PST and has his own blog, among other venues. Tom and I are sharing today’s post.
Tom says: Well, I started my scent challenge on Halloween and I chose Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan. That’s right. The devil MKK. I’ve been in the habit of wearing it in the evenings when I am alone and basking in what I think is it’s warm embrace. Is it work friendly? I think it can be when worn sparingly and not on the neck (I usually only put perfume on my chest before dressing). Let’s see I can fly under the radar on this one..
Sunday: Day One. I happily spritz myself knowing that my morning would be Nigella Lawson, Tejava tea and laundry. I do venture out to wander around but don’t think I’m wafting sex-juice too much, but then I also didn’t get in an elevator with anyone. I’m reminded why I love this scent so much. It makes me feel sexy in a way that’s the polar opposite of my pasty, Topsider-wearing self.
Since I live next to the West Hollywood Halloween craziness (Action McNews helicopters and BH police and fire responding to assist the Sheriffs department all night) I asked to take a vacation day on that Monday and slept in. I did venture out on an ill-advised trip to Santa Monica. Ill advised because I decided to take the bus, which made the trip a four hour journey with lots of standing on street corners. No-one on the bus scuttled away from me so I guess I wasn’t off-gassing too badly.
Tuesday was voting (you did that, right? If you didn’t don’t tell me…) then back-to-work. I had showered, but was still getting some of last nights spray on my wrist whenever it was near to my face. I was noticing that I am finally discerning the jammy rose accord. Co-workers weren’t complaining. Yet.
Wednesday. Hot. 98 with the “real feel” I’m in an air-conditioned office and made sure to do only to quick sprays under my clothes but waiting for the bus home I can feel that dab wanting to come out and bite someone. I kind of like that. Luckily the AC on the bus is as arctic as it is at work so the beast simmers down, claws sheathed.
Thursday the weather is the same and I decide to dab to be on the safe side. I also wear a sweater that I hadn’t dry-cleaned. I later notice it has the faint smell on it of Le Labo Musc 25 and between the two I feel like I’m wearing a sex party. I am assured by a trusted co-worker that I smell very clean and nice so I am thinking it’s all in my head. Not to be cruel but I do have an older gent in my area who isn’t the daintiest sort so that could be in comparison. But no-one on the bus gags or runs so I guess I’m okay.
Accuweather had posted earlier in the week that Friday would be cooler. Not the case. Still 96. Luckily at work it’s still 46 so the two healthy sprays to my chest I awarded my freshly-showered self are kept at bay. That and the fact that I caught an especially early bus that got me there an hour early allowed the early parts to dry and kept the feral aspects of this big cat on “purr”. I’m definitely seeing more nuance in the scent and I wear it more: the rose or the touch of cumin I’d never discerned before. I’m constantly struck at how suave it is as a scent. Some say Kiehl’s Musk is the same scent but I don’t think so. As much as I love Kiehl’s (and it’s price point) it’s Methode Champanoise to MKK’s Moët & Chandon.
Saturday is finally cooler. My BFF Bitsy is in town and wants brunch. We go to the Village Cafe in Beachwood Canyon (Patty and March have been) then at her insistence an hour walk in the “flats” of Beverly Hills. For some reason I park in the 800 block, which fanged me in the rear when we had to walk uphill to return to the car. I am getting peeps of those claws from the two sprays to my chest. I think it’s sexy as hell, but perhaps a little much for 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.
I was surprised by this contest. Of course I chose a scent that I love and am glad that the love stayed true. Had it been a scent that I was merely “meh” about I might have banished it to the back of the closet after 7 days. Instead, I found new facets to Muscs Kublai Khan and even learned that I can get away with it in more situations that I would have thought. I might not wear it tomorrow, but I think I’ll be wearing it more often.
Watch out world…
March says: Hehe, I wonder how many people chose something by Uncle Serge? I’ll find out today.
When I look back at the only three scents I can remember wearing as “signatures” they are Paris, Poison, and Coco. Okay, sue me, even then I liked big scents, and I still love those in particular. I already said in my personal challenge post to you that I felt like I had to own this and not go with something wussy or wallpaper-ish. As I was sampling and eliminating possible choices for the challenge, I realized I kept putting on the same scent afterward. That scent was: Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger. As my girls say, duh. FdO is perfect for this – it’s big, it’s bold, it’s a little strange with that sweaty topnote, and from my earliest days of perfume obsession I’ve had a soft spot for orange, as long as it’s not too soapy. (I like mine very juicy or more indolic, and neroli is often combined with jasmine for just that reason.) Once you get past the clean-scrubbed Florida-orange-juice iconography, or fresh-smelling babies in much of Yurrup (where neroli is apparently associated with baby product the way the smell of talc is here) orange blossom is kind of … gamey.
Days one through four were a breeze. I actually liked not having to choose, although I had to resist opening any perfume packages that showed up, worried about my lack of self-control. I had to work around my yoga schedule, but since I go in the mornings I just waited and put it on afterward.
The major thing I noticed is that FdO shows different faces to me. It always takes about 60 seconds for that Frito-note to emerge. The first time (okay the first fifteen times) I ever smelled it I was repelled. Then … well, you know how it goes. I’ve worked through at least two small decants, plus those manufacturers sprays. Some days that sweat-note seems huge to me, and lasts and lasts. I love those days. To me it’s akin to really digging the camphor in Tubereuse Criminy; just not the same without it, ya know? Some days, though, the sweat seemed muted, and that made me sad, even though I still like the indolic, sweet (but not nauseatingly so) orange blossom drydown. Like everything else, Fleurs d’Oranger lasts forever on me, and beyond forever on my clothing. I can detect FdO weeks later on my sweaters, a scent-ghost I find inexpressibly cheerful in dark February.
And then (cue the music from Jaws) – something terrible happened. On day five, I put it on and – nothing. Only the faintest ghost of itself, the halo outline of neroli without any of the sucker-punch. I tried my newly-arrived partial bottle, and … again, some sweet neroli at half-strength, and no sweat. Like an Eau Legere. Ohnoes! I have made myself anosmic! I would really like a pic of my daughters’ faces when I told them I couldn’t smell it, because I am sure others could — probably down to the end of my street. Bringing home another realization – this must be what happens to people who drown themselves in their signature scents (Giorgio! Angel! Kouros!) until the rest of us are begging for mercy. I bet they can’t smell it any more.
I went to the local BlueMercury to try their bottle and … nope. No sweat, half an orange. Sadface. We walked across the street to console ourselves with cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake (breakfast of champions, my friends… the girls were with me because we were on the way home from the dentist. Savor the irony, which in this case tasted like strawberry lava fudge.)
So I guess I’m going to have to look elsewhere for my perfume thrills for a few days. I hope my anosmia fades, because I would really miss FdO.
Alrighty. Your turn!