Scent of a Sister – Anosmia

Anosmia is a hard thing on a sister relationship.  

My sister and her daughter were out this last weekend, and we just had a blast shopping and watching Pride and Prejudice and being sisters, as we always do. For those of you that have sisters you are close to, you know what I’m talking about.  There is nothing like a sister you love unabashedly who shares your history and gets all of your stupid jokes. My niece is a senior in high school, so this was the last prom dress shopping that will ever be done for her.  It was a little poignant, and I was just so darn happy to get to go for the first time! I have two boys, so there hasn’t been and never will be any prom dress shopping for me. Well, there could be, I guess, but my boys haven’t taken up cross-dressing so far.

For so many years, my sister and I have shared our love of perfume. I’d get some new things and head out to Kansas to visit, and she’d paw through my suitcase to see what I had and find some new things to love and convince me to get her for her next birthday.

About eight months ago, Shirley (my sister) had a bad sinus infection, and her sense of smell just was pretty warped and twisted for a long time, she developed anosmia to some things and just a horrid aversion to other smells. Anything that smelled great now smelled awful. Anything that smelled awful now was tolerable. She knew when a perfume was really good because it made her nose ache. After a few doctors, some bad and some good, she has finally gotten recently what looks to be a good course of treatment to help right her anosmia and fix her wrecked sense of smell, and it is slowly coming back. There are some notes that still stink to high heaven for her, like sandalwood and patchouli. How hard it has been these last few months because we couldn’t share that love of perfume. She would just be sad, and I didn’t want to make her feel bad, so it is good that we are getting back to sharing again.  This weekend was just fun to go sniffing away like we used to. It’s been interesting to watch the process and see how one note can ruin what is a great concoction for her still. It makes me wonder what receptor that one note is hitting that still is inflamed to make it so wretched.

Smell as a whole is a strange mystery to me anyway. I don’t know why it is so powerful, but so hard to pin down. I know lots of people are good at picking out notes, but how can they do that? It is just some little tiny molecules floating in the air. I find it a wondrous thing and a great miracle that we can enjoy something so much that is, basically, nothing. And through my sister, I can now empathize with the pain people feel when it is taken away from them. It is a hard sense to do without.

I was fortunate enough recently to get a great deal on The Bay for the whole little Frederic Malle Sampler pack. There are many I have not tried in here and a few that I wanted to try again, and one that I hated twice, swapped or gave away that has re-entered my life. Malle has been a slow love. There are a few I loved instantly, but most just didn’t do it for me right out of the bottle, but that is how Serge was.

Musc Ravageur —
Wicked little perfume. This was to be my third and last time with this scent. There is something about it that is so decadent and hot, like your Sunday morning bed after an amazing Saturday night date. It is a little musky and a little sweet, and I’ve managed to fall in love with it finally. This isn’t a scent I can wear most days, but on the days when it works, I get why it has all the fans that it does. It is ideal for meeting some hot, inappropriately young Latin guy in a bad part of town, or at least thinking that’s what you should do when you wear it.

Lys Mediterranee — I love Serge Lutens’ Un Lys, but this one is lighter, not as likely to annoy your neighbor on an airplane. While I love lillies with a passion, they can be overbearing in their fragrance, but this one is a beauty and incredibly wearable even for those who aren’t big lilly fans.

I intend to go through the rest of my little sampler pack of Frederic Malles over the next couple of weeks. There’s some losers in there too, but these two just leaped out as two that will join Carnal Flower, Iris Poudre and Lipstick Rose of Malles that I love. Frederic Malle Perfume samples can be found at Surrender to Chance

  • Katie says:

    Oh man I love playing in my perfumes with my sister! Your poor sister though, that sounds awful – I hope she gets to have it all straightend out and doesn’t have to suffer too much for too much longer. I can’t imagine what that’s been like for her.

    It will be interesting to hear your impressions of the rest of your Malles from the pack, too. You’ve inspired me to dig out my Musc Ravageur sample from wherever it is hiding right now while the weather’s cool today! “…or at least thinking that’s what you should do when you wear it.” Heh!

  • March says:

    I am almost through my little bottle of MR, a sure sign I love something. It’s just an unbelievable fragrance. Nothing else like it in my wardrobe, for sure.

  • violetnoir says:

    Yeah, sisters are the best!

    My sister loves AG’s fragrances, and she introduced me to Des Lys this past summer. I love it, but she is not so crazy about it. I’m plotting a take over of her bottle. o:-)


  • Marina says:

    Bestest of wishes for your sister and I hope the new course of treatment completely restores her sense of smell.

    PS. Musc Ravageur rocks!

  • Flora says:

    Well, the reason Lys Mediterranee is so different from Un Lys is: there is no lily in it! Ginger lily, lily of the valley, water lily – none of these are really lilies, and only lily of the valley is even related. Un Lys is based on the “white lily” (Madonna lily), which is a true lily, hence the difference in its strength. There is always something animalic and a little decadent lurking underneath the sweetness of true lily, no matter how innocent it seems at first.

    I love Un Lys myself, but I am sure I would love the other one too! Ginger lily is a tropical flower that is wonderfully fragrant, and who does not love muguet de bois?