Second chances Monday

second chances
I’d be willing to bet that nearly every perfume lover has at least one classic fragrance that just does not do it for her or him, despite numerous attempts, trying other versions of it, even body products. And if it still doesn’t work, most of the time, it’s time to give up. But I heartily believe in second chances, hence this post.

I have tried (and tried and tried!) to love Chanel No. 5 — heaven help me I did! But it was just a no-go every time. A few years back, I did try Eau Premiere, and found that to be at least moderately wearable on me, but I still wasn’t going to run out and buy a bottle.

So when Chanel launched No. 5 L’Eau last year, I didn’t give it a second thought. I figured No. 5 and I were too, too far apart to warrant any second chances or any hope of a friendship. But never say never, right? Because sometimes it’ll come back to haunt you. As I found out at a Chanel trunk show a few months back.

The rep chatted and joked with me, and after a bit, said she wanted me to try a little experiment. After asking me questions about my likes and dislikes, she had me close my eyes and hold out each wrist. She spritzed a different scent on each one and had me wait a bit before sniffing.

She must have been on to something, because I was quite pleasantly surprised with both of her choices. The first turned out to be Boy, one of the newest in the Les Exclusifs line. It was beyond yummy on me! And here I didn’t even think I liked fougeres! But the real shocker came when she showed me the bottle she had sprayed on my right wrist. Lo and behold, it was L’Eau! After sniffing it a few times, I did get the family resemblance, but it was wrapped in enough light-bright-fresh something or other, that I didn’t mind one bit! “Hey, I think I really could wear this!” I told her excitedly.

Now I probably won’t run out and buy a bottle of this either, but my few samples will be put to good use this spring and on into summer. When a friend of mine, a diehard No. 5 lover, asks what I’m wearing, I will have to eat crow and tell her. I guess this is second chances at its most ironic, eh?

So do tell: Is there a scent you’ve come around to after getting to know it a bit more? Or one of its siblings/cousins? Or are there still some fragrances that will never, ever make a convert out of you?

12 Comments

  1. I go back and forth on Chanel Coco Mademoiselle parfum, it smells good on other people but when I spray from the bottle, it does nothing for me ! But, I love Coco Noir, which is stronger but I am drawn too it, and I am a die hard fruity fragrance lover but I make an exception for Coco Noir!

  2. Clinique Aromatics Elixer is one that I WANT to love, and I’ve tried so many times, but it HATES me. Oh well. C’est la vie!

  3. Shalimar was one of the first samples I picked up when I began venturing into perfume. The first time I put it on, I was completely overwelmed and disgusted, and ended up attempting to wash it off less than an hour in. Later, after spending more time smelling things and reading, and my nose had “matured” a bit, I gave it another go, and found the experience much, much more enjoyable.

    A good early lesson for me not to write anything off on first impression!

  4. My little story is about Chanel No.5 also. Many many years ago when I was 15/16 an out-of-state friend sent me a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume that she had been given by a family friend. She didn’t like it so passed it on to me. I thought it was so-so. I remember thinking it was *cold*. I did eventually use it up though. When Chanel stopped sites selling samples – stupid of them btw – I ordered some samples including No.5. First spritz and it came back to me, only this time I liked it very much. I am now the happy owner of a 1960’s 2 oz edt in perfect condition!

  5. I had wanted to try Shalimar for over a decade, since it’s not sold in my country and an older friend of a friend who was intelligent, fancy and travelled mentioned it. When I finaly got to try it in Paris, I was horrified. What a stinky perfume, I thought. Back to Samsara. Another ten years went by, got some Guerlain samples at Surrender to Chance and now Shalli is my favorite perfume, the one I turn to when I need comfort or an extra dose of power. It might take time.

  6. I’m lucky enough to be someone who got along with the classics pretty much immediately, but there is one fragrance that comes to mind as something that I didn’t like originally, discarded, and then found myself craving- Incensed by Smell Bent. It’s a very resinous and amber incense, very thick, almost treacle-y. It’s fairly sweet, kind of similar to April Aromatics Calling All Angels in scent, but the gumminess is ‘more so’.
    I honestly love it now and there are moments when it is the only thing that will do.

  7. If I test a perfume which really doesn’t agree with me, I don’t usually go back for more, in light of the fact that there are SO many perfumes to try, and life is short. If the perfume in question is a storied classic, highly regarded by commenters I know and respect, I may give it another chance. Otherwise, move on, I say.

  8. Over the past few years several samples of Chamade have landed in my mailbox. I’ve tried them all and was overwhelmed by something in the base, perhaps the sandalwood or vetiver. All I could smell was bitterness and frustration. Recently I was tossing the sample stash looking for something else when I waved a vial of Chamade under my nose. Miraculously it wafted hyacinth and wisteria and loveliness. Haven’t had the courage to wear it yet, but now there is hope.

  9. I’m with you on Chanel No 5 — while I love No 19, Coco, and Cuir de Russie, I’ve just never loved No 5. I’ll have to try the L’Eau and see if it brings me around! I’m pretty much the same with Shalimar — while I’m crazy in love with pretty much the entire Guerlain vintage/classic line, and some of the newer ones (Pamplelune!), I don’t get Shalimar. But one I thought I hated until I smelled it again was Diorella — it smelled kind of bitchy in a bad way when I first sniffed it as a beginner perfumista, but now that I’ve smelled a lot more, I’ve grown to like it a lot — still bitchy, but in a *good* way!

  10. Like you I never could get on board with No.5. Haven’t even bothered to give L’eau a try. Guess I ought to. Never found a Shalimar I like either.

  11. Seems I’ve had the opposite occur recently Ann. I always loved CHANEL No 5. My Mum wore it on & off for years, so did I. Recently though I spritzed some on my way to a plane and instant headache. Not to be basing my opinion on one double spritz I have retried it on three occasions and instantly headache.
    My older versions at home don’t affect me in this way so something in the formula has changed and it doesn’t like me one bit. Very sad.
    Portia xx

  12. I wanted to love Shalimar, but just couldn’t. I tried several flankers (Initial, etc.) but still…not really. Until Souffle…oh, I do love Souffle! It’s perfect for me, and I’m so happy to have found “my” Shalimar!

Comments are closed.