I had a really interesting Thursday. I went on a sniffing expedition and was, how shall I say this: disappointed. I’ve tried to keep an open mind over the years and do my best to be an equal opportunity sniffer. My new next-door neighbour sells Avon, and I’m planning to ask her to get me some samples. Come on – who hasn’t had a bottle of Sweet Honesty over the course of their life, or one of Avon’s countless other scents? They’re worth a sniff, right? I’ll get back to you on that one.
My day started off innocuously enough. Then, I met a woman who lives in the building next-door to mine who proceeded to tell me her life story in the span of 20 minutes while we were waiting for the bus. She thinks she’s the only one with a crazy family. Shall I continue? Needless to say, I listened politely and kept my mouth shut.
Before I left the house, I went looking for some sniffing inspiration. That lead me over to Now Smell This, and Robin’s post from the other day. She wrote about how things in the fragrance world are chugging along to the tune of over 1,000 new releases per year now, up from about 800 when she first wrote about the topic back in 2007. That got me thinking: how many of them are going to smell similar to one another? How much innovation and originality can there possibly be if the market is so saturated? It was with these thoughts swimming around in my head that I went out sniffing. Robin’s words, particularly, “…flankers or mindless copies of things we already had too much of…” were echoing in my brain. Robin, if you’re reading this, don’t worry – you didn’t kill my inspiration. I didn’t have that much to begin with. There wasn’t anything in particular I had my heart set on, and I had a pretty good case of the ass-drags going anyway. I didn’t know what I was expecting to find.
What I did sniff left me colder than Nunavut in January (that’s about -40C on average). I tried Jennifer Aniston at Sephora: Bobbi Brown Beach with less Coppertone, but more salt. It can’t hold a candle to Bond No. 9 Fire Island, which is the Queen of all beach scents. No pun intended. Narciso Rodriguez Essence de Musc was a fleeting burst of citrus, then nothing. Coach Poppy was the typical non-descript fruity-floral we’ve smelled over, and over, and over, and over… After that, I couldn’t bring myself to pick up another tester. I was half-heartedly approached by a nice lady in The Bay, who offered me some YSL Belle d’Opium. When I politely declined, her supervisor couldn’t wait for me to get out of earshot before she reamed the poor woman for not beating me over the head with the tester bottle. After that, I packed it in. I was done like dinner.
What is it about fragrance that can leave you giddy and floating on air one minute, and ready to bag it for eternity the next? I was saddened to hear about Elizabeth Taylor’s passing on Wednesday; more so because of her talent as an actress, rather than as a perfumer. I know her scents have their legions of fans, but I’ve never been one of them. I wore Passion for maybe 5 minutes when it came out, but after that, I never went near White Diamonds or any of her other offerings. The only thing I’m yearning for now is a copy of Cleopatra to add to my DVD collection.
There is one course of action I’m contemplating: I want to try to pick a scent, and wear nothing but that scent for as long as possible. For me, that’s tantamount to sacrilege, since I’ve always celebrated my fickle perfumista ways. I could go weeks without wearing the same scent two days in a row. That was before my collection was filched…I know – I need an intervention from a room full of people telling me to get over it and move on.
So, what do you think? Shall I go forth with a “signature” scent, or should I keep prowling the shelves for something I know I’ll never find? My actions will be dictated by your thoughts. Maybe I should consider it an intervention after all. Decide my direction, and I will take it from there. Keep in mind that the research could take a while. It’s dangerous to go “cold turkey”.
Image: Jackson Pollock’s “One” in all its glory.