Anyone who knows me knows the answer to that question is a puzzled – maybe? I’m so tasteless in some things, like my love for The Real Housewives and Dance Moms, but have incredible taste in other areas, like… well, there are areas that I’m not totally hopeless as far as taste. Listen, everyone has a picture like that laying around. It was high school, I was maybe 13, and, yes, that is white fringe and metallic red and silver pom-pons. I think we’ve now settled this question – nobody who posts a picture like this has good taste.
Upon entering the rarefied (?!) arena of serious perfume collecting, I remember reading all the perfume writing around the Internets and feeling dangerously inadequate about my knowledge of notes and compositions and French poetry. This is in no way a criticism of that writing or any perfume blog. I love reading them, still do. It informs me, makes me think, sends me for my dictionary, which is a hard thing to do for a Womanofacertainage who has read almost nonstop
for 5 – well, it’s been awhile.
When I switched from some other writing to just perfume/beauty, picked up Miss March at the side of the Perfume Road (don’t worry, she’ll be around and probably back on some level or another even if she doesn’t know that yet), I read all the perfume blogs and was in awe (still am!) at the beautiful, evocative way they could describe perfume. Then I’d get my uneducated mitts on a bottle of The Preshus Nectar, spray it on with abandon and try and smile and convince myself it was goooooorgeous, I just needed to spend some time with it.
Being an absolute stranger to pretending, that lasted about 2-3 minutes before I’d head for the shower with a steel scrubbrush and Lysol. Then I’d sneak up on it quietly a few days later and dab on a drop, convinced I just needed less to have The Magic revealed, but left instead wondering how something so foul could be described so lyrically. Over time some of its beauty would become clear to me in small ways, bit by bit, even if I still hated it. Years have passed, and some things I hated grew on me and became great loves. Others are still huddled over in The Perfumes I Hate Corner glaring at me.
Do I have good taste in perfume? I don’t know. I think one thing I can do is pick a winner. Even if I don’t like a perfume personally or find it bland or overdone, I can usually tell when it will be a great seller, despite my being bored with it. I think I normally smell great because I only put on what I love, even if it’s Pink Sugar. Every now and then I’ve made a FragranceMistake ©.
Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie was a unique problem for me. Musette and I talked about this a couple of days ago, and I asked her if she thought I liked it or not, and she thought for a minute then said no. Maybe because of that slightly foul open and she thinks I’m a Weak Sister. I admit that my first run or two at it with that “wet dog” open were a little surprising, but the whole scent opened up to me when I tried the Beurre Exquise, which I’ve been told is discontinued – can that be? There was just a little less of, well, everything, in slathering on the lotion than there was in spritzing the perfume. Once I overcame my gag reflex, loving Cassie was easy.
Dominique Ropion created a gorgeous, interesting, captivating scent. The drydown is pure lushness with zero bland. Floral, leather, refined, always changing. Will I endure that horrific open to get to that sweet nectar? Oh, yes! I keep thinking of ways to talk about Cassie, and I can’t think of any other way to describe her than she is a nasty little bitch with claws when you first encounter her, but just wait, she becomes an experience. Bois de Jasmin as a much more expansive take from 2008 about Casse.
So do I have good taste? The answer to that is – somewhere along the line, I stopped caring. Reading a review would often send me to try something that I might not otherwise have gone near, and that was an amazing education. Saying that, I’m warning you -if you haven’t smelled Cassie, then leave here, go and get a whiff, do not come running back here complaining that it smells icky. I’ve warned you.
So will you wade through a really nasty open on a perfume to get to the good stuff inside? Or must it be, at minimum, not completely foul?