Well, Halloween may be over, but there are still a few things floating around of which to be a little afraid, even in the fragrance world. What’s your big, bad scent nemesis? What strikes fear into your perfumed heart? The note that sends you running for cover when you get a whiff of it?
For the most part, mine is cumin. Although surprisingly, I can wear and enjoy MFK Absolue Pour le Soir and Neela Vermeire’s Bombay Bling lightly applied with no ill effects. My theory is that either the amount of cumin in these is so well-blended that the cumin somehow enhances, rather than overpowers, the other notes. Or perhaps I just enjoy those two so much that it’s mind over matter — my nose simply ignores the cumin in favor of the delightful whole.
When cumin gets a bit more heavy-handed such as Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom (and perhaps the old Serge Lutens’ Fleur d’Oranger), I have to offer a hearty “no thank you” and back away quickly, lest someone think I haven’t showered in days. Even when not a starring player, I still have to beware of the beast. I wanted to love Roja Dove Nuwa and tried it, despite seeing cumin way down in the notes list. But as I’ve written about before, my skin seems to amp cumin, and so with Nuwa it almost seemed as if it reached down into the pack of notes, and pulled the cumin out front and center for nearly the whole life of the fragrance, drowning out most of the other players. Several of you had commented on something similar, so I know it’s not just a quirk of my oddball skin.
But somehow, I have unearthed an even deadlier nemesis over the past several years, one that makes even the unpleasant aura of B.O. pale in comparison. And that is the ill-making, queasy-stomach-inducing, metallic effect that I’ve come to find out that Ambrox/ Ambroxin (and I suspect even some ouds) has on me. Byredo’s M/Mink has that ick factor in spades on my skin. In fact, so much so, that I couldn’t even bring myself to use a photo of it to accompany this post. (Which explains why I decided to use a positive photo today, instead of a negative.) This nemesis also is present in several other scents that put me off, including Amouage Opus VII, which, when sampled recently, had me moving pretty quickly toward the laundry room.
Nowadays, before sampling anything, I’m much more careful to look over the ingredients very carefully, in case a scent nemesis of mine is lurking somewhere among the notes.
So please share with me –- what note is likely to send you running for the liquid Tide?