Welcome back guest blogger Cinnamon!
Like many of us I have a loooooong, complex and perhaps strange relationship with perfume. I can recall the first fragrance I bought for myself (Love’s Fresh Lemon body mist with pocket money at around age 10). I recall a college roommate’s perfume (Ivoire de Balmain) but can’t recall much else about her. I remember absolutely everything about buying what became my first holy grail (HG) exclusively worn fragrance (L’Artisan Mure et Musc from the brand’s Madison Avenue New York shop purchased in the mid-1980s).
Over time, the relationship with perfume endured, though it evolved from long periods of wearing one HG to having a box in the closet with a handful of things. The contents of the box fell within fairly narrow fragrance grouping: mostly classic chypres, amber orientals, and a small number of ‘others’ (eg, Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit, a rose-framed fragrance with a heavy dose of apricot; Dior’s Eau Noire, immortelle and smelling like a wondrous rendering of petrol and molasses). I roamed a fairly narrow perfume road.
And things went along that way for decades.
Until my thyroid went wonky. Then, all change.
I guess having a gland which secretes important hormones decide to stop working very well is going to affect a lot of different things. During the diagnostic process I discovered that a lot of foods I ate in large amounts – and craved in fact – negatively affect the thyroid. Another issue with hypothyroidism is you gain weight very easily no matter how little you eat. To address all this I visited a nutritionist, who provided a fairly narrow eating regime so I was eating both to support my thyroid and to lose weight.
One of the things that the nutritionist said I had to stay away from was sugar, but not only refined sugar – no, no, there are certain fruit that went out the window, along with cake, milk chocolate, etc – all the things you’d expect. I’m not always totally orthodox now with what I eat (I have a pastry every Saturday after early AM yoga). But, in general, I try very hard. Because I feel a whole lot better when I stay away from refined sugar and most fruit bar blueberries and raspberries, and my formerly beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Prior to the thyroid thing, I was not terribly interested in gourmand fragrances. But as the thyroid situation unfolded, I got properly medicated, and I had my back and forth with the nutritionist I found myself drawn to gourmands.
I started talking to perfume friends about Lutens Arabie (which I had sampled years prior and vaguely dismissed, but which popped, unbidden, back into my head). I felt really attracted to the stewed dry fruit, spices and honey. Then, a friend gifted me with a bottle which led to an opening up to all things sweet and foody.
So, off I went, sampling fragrances that in the past I wouldn’t have paid much attention to at all. I discovered Hiram Green’s Slow Dive (a honey fragrance that actually smells like the raw artisan honey you get from people who keep their own bees – syrupy sweet but with a funky, pongy animal base). I mentally revisited the now gone Dior Hypnotic Poison, all vanilla-almond lusciousness. I tried Frederic Malle’s Le Parfum de Therese again (I know, not really a gourmand, but that melon, which I consider a horror note, made adult – sultry and limpid [great word] with jasmine, plum and leather) and bought one of those travel sized things which make Malle vaguely affordable.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my chypres, etc, but a whole new world opened up.
So, I wonder: did my perfume psyche realign things to accommodate the changes I was experiencing – ie, though I could no longer eat certain things with abandon, I could ‘wear’ them, thereby continuing to experience that particular pleasure?
What about you? Has there been a significant change over time in the perfumes you gravitate towards? Do you like gourmands? Any particular ones?