It started out innocently enough. Louise and I were at Bloomingdale’s, playing in makeup and conducting a thoughtful, nonbiased exploration of some of the newer scents. By which I mean, we were mocking them. That new Gucci Guilty? Pffffffffffffffft. Those four man-scents, the Ralph Lauren Big Pony Collection? Sporty, Seductive, Energizing and … Posh? No, wait, sorry, that’s the Spice Girls. The last one’s Adventurous. We sniffed them all, trying to decide: if they were actual men, which one would we … kiss if we absolutely had to? The rest of the conversation is unprintable here, and I hope the SA didn’t overhear us. (I think I opted for Energizing. These scents are a big ol’ polo mallet of fresh, right upside the head.)
Eventually we paused at the Hermes counter, where they had a little travel atomizer of the Parfum des Merveilles. (An atomizer that wasn’t available for purchase, naturally.) I was talking about how much I like the Eau des Merveilles, I bought a partial bottle awhile back and it’s almost empty. It smells like salted orange, it’s a great exploration of ambergris, and a salty fragrance I can wear that doesn’t go hideously marine on me, that dead-beach smell. It’s lovely. But maybe I should switch it up, get a bottle of the Parfum des Merveilles next time? It’s not just stronger, it’s a different scent construction — richer, with a finish that’s more cognac, moss and patchouli, a smooth feeling of something like chocolate at the end. I sprayed it on absentmindedly, raved over it, and we headed out the door to Sephora.
But that thing just stayed and stayed and stayed and … you know what?
Someone call the exorcist. I’ve been scent-haunted.
A scent haunting isn’t a scrubber. It happens with scents I very much like as opposed to ones I don’t. Scent hauntings can manifest themselves in various ways. There’s nothing like an incipient migraine to make any fragrance wear out its welcome fast. Or, sometimes it’s just the wrong choice on an off-day. This happens to me mostly with my snarlier vintage classics. I’ll spray on Mitsouko or Jolie Madame and an hour later I’m thinking, kill.me.now. I can also be scent-haunted in a good way – where the ghosts of multiple fragrances are more than welcome, their presence on a frequently-worn scarf or wool sweater quite enjoyable in the winter months.
But the scent haunting that baffles me unfolds as it did with Parfum des Merveilles. I don’t understand what the problem is. I like that scent. I thought it smelled gorgeous. I didn’t feel flattened by it, like Aunts Spiker and Sponge under the giant peach (Byredo Pulp will do that to you, as will MDCI Peche.) Parfum des Merveilles just … started to work my last nerve, you know what I mean? It wanted too much attention, like the kids whining in the back seat. I was so put off that the next time I picked up the jeans I’d been wearing and smelled Merveilles, I promptly tossed them in the laundry. But I still want a bottle. What is wrong with me?
For those of you who are wondering what you Must Own – Lee’s invisible-to-some post on Friday – we’ll repost it and I’ll clear the formats. In the meantime it was reposted in comments yesterday (Random Sunday.)
image: window ghosts, some rights reserved, flickr