Hi, I’m Patty. Can you Smell Who I Am?

[pullquote]“We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.” – T.S. Eliot[/pullquote]  Last week’s exploration of musk perfumes made me consider for the first time musk wasn’t just a sensual, skanky fun factory.  Inside or of in spite of that overt sexuality is a tenderness and raw, aching vulnerability.  Musk was the stranger I thought I knew.  

Realizing I didn’t know musk at all  launched me on a long, winding path of thinking I’ve not nearly finished.  I need to warn y’all –  this is all sorting out in my head still.  By the time I need to hit Publish, it may not be completely unwound.   It occurs to me very late in writing this a few/all of you may be scratching your heads by the time you get to the end, thinking – “She’s a little dense, isn’t she?  I thought about this in my first month of perfume school.”  If that’s the case, yeah!!!  You can help me finish my thought process.

What I have loved about perfume over these many years – besides the wonderful smells and discoveries – has been the ability to go further inside myself with just a whiff of something familiar or foreign or perplexing.  Finding something new or the unexplained old that now makes sense.   

Eliot could have also said:   Every time we meet ourselves, we are meeting a stranger.

For me, “meeting yourself” is when you look at a place you thought you knew, preferences you believed you always had, then discard the layers of habit and expectation and find something else there.  Smell helps me “meet myself.”

Let’s go back to how this began…

Writing the perfume notes articles started because I wanted to look at all of my gardenia perfumes and sort through them – simple enough!  The sorting became compelling, addictive and not just a little OCD.   After I sorted the gardenias, I found this need to then sort the roses, then jasmines and on and on.  All of the perfume smells I’ve taken in over these many years/decades want to be ordered so my mind makes sense of them and how they fit in with one another and how they feel in relation to me.  


willy wonka - best perfumes for women
Sorting has created some wonderful surprises and disappointments, but always finding more in the note I’ve been exploring than I believed existed.  Maybe this need is important now because of how I started in perfume 7 years ago – sniffing everything I could get my hands on, reaching for the next new thing before I’d really thought much about the one I had in my hand.  Basically the greedy little kid from Willy Wonka.  

As I approached a note for the guides, I would immerse in it, and often my mood would change.  Some days were all blissful sunshine because I was working on a joyous note I love that fits my personality, like orange blossom or rose.  Some days were just dread because I was working in a note that didn’t fit me or my mood – either that day or most of the time.  

I learned the most on those dread mood days as I slowly covered myself in perfumes making me deeply uncomfortable, fidgety and irritable.  When I started on musk, listening closely to my mood cues, I found some of the reason. There is a vulnerability in musk. The note is intimate, reminding us of the close smell of another person – sometimes the not so good and sometimes the lovely salty skin that is exquisite.  If your mind doesn’t want to be vulnerable, wearing a scent that feels like it is speaking for you, telling your secrets to others, is more than a little agonizing. I felt like I was running around in a tornado wearing only a circle skirt and no underwear.

My thinking used to be  –  we wear fragrance to express a mood or a facet of our personality – perfume for flirting, perfume for business, fragrance for cocktails, fragrance for sorrow, and so on.  My new revelation says it’s deeper than that.  It is partly mood, but the perfume we choose also speaks to the sense that feels – in us and in everyone we come in contact with.

Best perfumes for women, best perfumes for men

Do we choose fragrances because they say something we are afraid to speak out loud?  Alternatively, do we choose other fragrances when we want an emotional shield from the world – a smell barrier?  Do we do both subconsciously?  

I think we do. When you are standing in front of your perfumes waiting for one to speak to you, there are the easy favorites that you know will always fit. Then there are the more difficult perfumes that you also love, but you won’t wear them unless… unless what?    And have you been wrong, went against instinct and picked the one your gut said not to wear and then felt like you wanted to jump out of your skin all day or crawl inside of it?

Maybe it’s just me.  Writing about perfume is synonymous with my experience of it.  It deepened my love of it as I stretched for a way to describe how something smelled and the feeling or memory it attached itself to.  Explaining smell made me venture back into time’s ruins, sorting through what was real, what was projection by others and what was really me.    And I loved it until the day came when I didn’t.

When I separated in early 2008 and went through a divorce for the next year and a half, it was hard to write about perfume.  I’d sit down to write and something like this would appear on my screen — 

Best Perfumes for Betrayal



Best Fragrances for a Cheatin’ Husband and His Ugly ‘Ho

You know, those are articles I could write now without a problem (scribbling note to self to put them on the Editorial Calendar, once I get an Editorial Calendar – nobody.better.steal.these)!  

I was reading a book then, and I could never read past the first page – still can’t. It went like this –

“We think we know the ones we love.  Our husbands, our wives.  We know them — we are them, sometimes, when separated at a party we find ourselves voicing their opinions, their taste in food or books, telling an anecdote that never happened to us but happened to them.  We watch their tics of conversation, of driving and dressing, how they touch a sugar cube to their coffee and stare as it turns white to brown, then drop it, satisfied, into the cup.  I watched my own husband do that every morning; I was a vigilant wife. 

“We think we know them.  We think we love them.  But what we love turns out to be a poor translation,  a translation we ourselves have made, from a language we barely know.  We try to get past it to the original, but we never can.  We have seen it all.  But what have we really understood?”

That’s what I wanted to write about then – how we never really know anyone – they are like the wisps of perfume we smell. We experience them through our lens, focusing until they come into a view conforming to our reality.  People, perfume?  It’s the same, they all get the filter of our life and memories and expectations.  It is incredibly unfair to blame them when they don’t turn out to be who we invented.

Musk or lyin’, cheatin’ ex-husbands, it’s the same.  

I couldn’t have written that, though.  My best intentions would have deteriorated into some  self-indulgent maudlin piece that fueled my demons.  I knew as I sat down to write that I had to pick safe things to write about, blaming the wall I erected on the process of writing.  Now?  I think it was mostly about the perfume.  


best perfumes for living

Fragrance makes me feel things, at least the best ones do.  As you enter into them and explore what they are, you drag your sorry soul and all the emotional detritus in life’s suitcases.  Perfumes that fuel emotion, if we allow it – and I say we should! – makes us open up those battered suitcases and explore who or what we’ve put in them.  When we do that, we play Emotional Show and Tell.  

The only question is – Are you in the Mood to Play?

Do I have it wrong?  Or right?  
Does our willingness to be vulnerable on any given day dictate what perfumes we can wear and be comfortable with?

Do we use some scent as armor?
Have you ever gotten it wrong?
Am I really this dense that I didn’t think about this before?  

Okay, sharing time!  You can answer all of the above or just tell me a time that you got it dead wrong and wound up in a scent that you did NOT want on you.  Or are you just thinking – hey, Patty, seriously, it’s just perfume!  I want to wear it because it smells good!  

Let’s see, a good giveaway for this. Oh!  I know, a good one, but you’ll have to wait until I have it in my hot little musky hands.  Four samples of Parfum d’Empire Musk Tonkin will be given away to four lucky commenters  – here or on Facebook.  Drawing is open until… until i have the prizes!

  • I agree with you. Going through my own marriage trials and tribulations, I find myself straying from the fragrances of my happy, married life—warm amber, sexy Opium, and dark musk—to fragrances that feel safer, either because they’re unfamiliar or bright and fruity, filled with the optimism I don’t have right now. Scent is our sense that is most closely connected to emotion and memory, so it should come as no surprise that scent can influence our mood, but the raw power of that connection still surprises me sometimes.

  • Sonia says:

    Hi Patty, I am new to this and I am in my early 60’s! I really appreciate how you articulated what I have been feeling as I begin this exploration. In my younger days as I was very much trying to prove myself professsionally which included a certain felt and probably also real need to be somewhat asexual, I chose very “green”- ha! just got the pun! and clean scents. I am now going back and really exploring ouds, leathers, am not yet ready to enter the musk realm but it is clear to me that I am working with scent as a way to reveal more of myself to myself- that is the first step. How to reveal that to others is the next step where a lot of the vulnerability comes in.
    Also I need to remember that who I am is about what I reveal and very much also what I conceal.I love that perfume is an art to help us do either or both!
    I so appreciate your writing about this as I have not seen this discussed other places and I welcome any discussion (read support) on this journey.

    Thank you and all the other women writing in on this.

    • Patty White says:

      Hi, Sonia! First welcome! Second, what a cool story. I think many of us have done exactly that, picking perfumes for the work place, if we wore any at all, that were nonoffensive, unisex, asexual. Then we get to this place in our lives where we’re wondering what we missed and if in that process we carved off some of the coolest parts of who we are.

      The great thing is we didn’t carve anything off, it’s still there in the corner waiting to get dusted off! I think musk can make us feel vulnerable because it’s says, woo-hoo, I’m a sexual creature. I still remember the first time I walked out the door to work in my first pregnancy and was showing where I couldn’t hide it anymore. I kept thinkg, Yikes, people know I have sex now!!! 🙂 Yeah, I know.

      I am so glad we are part of your journey. it’s a great boat ride with plenty of room and some of the most amazing people sailing with us. xo

      • Sonia says:

        Hi Patty, thanks for reminding me the stuff we thought we carved off is still there. I totally get it about the pregnancy stuff- you’re not alone. After I sent in my post I got very nervous about omg, I’m in my 60’s and I going to start exploring bad girl/skanky perfumes- what will people think of me?
        This is part of the dusting off process, isn’t it? Scent tells us so much about what our instincts are and how our conditioning has impacted those instincts.Here’s to freedom

  • Fabrisse says:

    For me it’s a mix of mood, time of year, and event. In the autumn, I wear fruitier scents. In the summer, I wear transparent scents. But for special occasions and throughout the winter, I wear either Fracas (which I will also wear in autumn or summer for a special occasion) or a mix of Poivre and Or et Noir (both by Caron).

  • MADCUTE says:

    I really, really enjoyed this post. Thanks for being you!

  • Amer says:

    There are times that I feel hurt or betrayed or like no one understands me. I have found that using perfume with abandon, especially during these times often results in me feeling better. Perhaps it is an aromatherapeutic effect, perhaps smelling myself serves as a reassurance of my presence (that I come to doubt at times), perhaps it helps me claim some space as my own. Perhaps it’s none of the above and spraying with abandon is the equivalent of a “SCREW YOU (majuscule)” to the world and everybody in it. I’ll let others decide. Whatever the reason perfume makes me feel better for, it serves kinda like an armor… in a way like humor as I’m sure you know.

  • Lynne Marie says:

    Patty, you did NOT get it wrong – as least not from my perspective. Perfume is an armor, a comfort, a consolation, a refutation ( is that word?), a plea, a smart-alack response and so much more. I live in an environment where not many women wear perfume and there are days when the perfume I choose is a “nah-nah” to them. There are days when I don’t choose anything too floral because I don’t want to feel too feminine and therefore less powerful and yet there are days when my perfume is very feminine precisely because I want to feel powerful. In the end it is so much more about where I am at than where I think everyone else is at and I sometimes need to remind myself of that. The cool thing about perfume is that the more I explore it and react to different smells, the more I feel like I am unearthing heretofore unknown aspects of myself. It’s as if perfume is my therapy and it allows me to “try on” different ways of thinking and being, but rather than making me feel divided, all the different parts I try out make me feel more whole or maybe perfume is the glue that cements the wholeness. All I know is I like this path that I am on and I feel more honest about all the different sides of me than I have felt in a very long time. Are there days when I’ve chosen wrongly? Not yet, but then again I haven’t graduated to many big girl/ skank perfumes yet 😉 ,but I’m sure I will !! I so loved this post, your honestly and how you are willing to delve into what makes perfume so powerful for all of us. Thank You!!!

    • Patty White says:

      Yeah, refutation is a word! And it’s a great one that completely fits.

      what you say is exactly it – we get to learn comfort with parts of ourselves that don’t come naturally. I think we wind up more integrated as human beings over time as we let in how we feel about things and not try and shut it off.

      And that process is ongoing. I may never feel like a helpless frilly feminine girl that needs to be taken care of, but with scent I can try it on a little bit and let that part of me that wants that run free for a second before I catch her and throw her back in the cellar. 🙂

    • Sonia says:

      Thanks, Lynne Marie. I agree with you that perfume is being part of my therapy as I play with different ways of being, feeling especially, and also thinking. I had not thought of it as also helping me to integrate these different parts. I also by the way, am still dancing around the skank perfumes but I am definitely getting interested in flirting with them- if not yet ready for a full fledged affair!

  • Ines Stefanovi? says:

    I’m still wondering at my relationship with perfume. It still manages to surprise me and teach me things about myself.
    I’m not sure I can reply meaningfully to your post – I know that lately I choose my perfume by how I want to project my image. Of course, those are all perfumes I like to wear but some of them are more difficult than others (for other people as well) but I still choose them as that is how I want to be seen and I hope it will help me feel like the image I try to project.
    The musks I have and can wear I usually apply when I feel sexy (and for some tender as well) and I want to underscore it with perfume.

    • Musette says:

      I think we alll do that Ines, don’t you? Even I, who rarely care what other people think (yeah, Anita, pull the other one) tend to choose scents for image projection.


    • Patty White says:

      I think that image is a huge part of perfume and should be. If it’s not able to surround you via smell with how you want to appear to yourself and others, then it’s not doing its job. It’s shoring up that other sense to create you in your totality.

      We all live as a projection. My son once told me one of those science things I clearly was sleeping through in 7th grade – that we never really touch each other or anything. There is a molecular barrier (I may have the science wrong, I’m just putting in what I think I heard here) around us. it has to be there so molecules don’t merge. But it prevents us from ever really touching anything. We feel resistance and note that as hard or soft or slippery. But we haven’t really touched that thing at all. Well, there’s a whole other post in just this.

      When I realized that what he was saying was completely true, I was sorta stunned for a second and then thought, of course! We can never really be known here or know someone else because we can’t really feel them. We use all of our senses to figure it out, but it’s like that stupid page in that book – we’ve seen it all and understood nothing.

  • Magdalena says:

    A truly beautiful post!

    My mood most often makes me pick this fragrance or the other. I have a very short list of must haves: fragrances that just feel like me, or my moods, translated to pefume. The one I use most often is Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline – I find it full of contradtictions: it’s soft and sharp, pure and alluring, and so on… and yet it is harmonious. In short, it’s a Gemini – just like me. 😉

    Only when I am not in any particular mood, just feeling neutral, I can test new fragrances – with an open mind and/or heart, not only nose.

    My biggest mistake fragrance-wise so far was, I think, Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca – I loved the sample much, spraying it now and then, but when I got a full bottle and tried wearing it for real, and not just for test, it just… wasn’t me, at all. I couldn’t find a good occasion to put it on and find it suitable, not even a summer walk in the park.

    • Musette says:

      which is why we’ll be seeing you at Swapmania, right? 😉 You need to find that AAHF a loving home! El O is a Gemini – and sounds just like that perfume (though I would stop short of ‘pure’ and …well, Alluring + El O is an intriguing concept. Like Alluring + Mothra). I am going to get him some Crystalline!


      • Magdalena says:

        It’s an awful, awful thing I’ve sold the Herba Fresca nearly-full bottle like a month before I discovered Perfume Posse (September? October? Yes, I’m such a newbie, only in the wider perfume world since spring); I could have swapped it for something new and exciting! 🙂

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, thanks, sweetie!

      I really do like those Omnias. You know, I really like a lot of Bvlgari – the teas, the Omnias, Black. Huh! 🙂

      Like Musette says, sounds like Herba Fresca needs to be in the swap pile!

  • Mariekel says:

    You know, it just occurred to me that I have been haunting Ebay for a while, looking at old bottles of Avon Lemon Velvet — my very first perfume love. I had the perfume spray and roll-on at home, along with the shower gelee and dusting powder, plus the demistick to take to school with me.

    Yet I have hesitated again and again to buy it. Because while I am desperately curious to smell it again, I am afraid of the memories of being 10 again, the spectre of my parents’ looming divorce creeping up behind me, my own unhappiness at school. But I am even more so scared of juxtaposing that child on grown-up me, seeing the world as it was then through today’s eyes. The present can be a hard place to be. But how much harder if yesterday is superimposed on it.

    • Musette says:

      Wow! That was stunning, Mariekel. And it might help explain why I have been so hesitant to revisit Heaven Sent. I was a touch older than 10 but those were not happy times for me. I have wanted to sniff it again but the thought of it makes my stomach clench. So I’ve left it alone.


    • Patty White says:

      Oh, hon, sometimes you just can’t, and you shouldn’t try until you’re ready, and you may never be. It may just be a ghost you want to leave in the closet and let it belong to that little girl that you can look after. You’ll know if the time ever comes when you want to smell it again and go back.

      Cinnabar was like that for me. I love it, but there was so much associated with it that was so horrible. When I finally did face it, it was shocking that it did not turn me into a mess. I felt all of that, but it was like I was watching someone I loved in another room, and I had empathy for them, but I had finally detached from that pain. Time had done its magic, and it let me reclaim that part of my life, which was lovely.

  • Mariekel says:

    Gorgeous post, my dear. I often think of my perfumes as masques that I can wear not only to put the world at arms’ length, but to allow me to play roles (even if only mentally). It has always been this way. Even when I was a kid, and I would inherit a perfume from my mom or my dad would surprise me with a fragrant gift (for a time, he worked for Avon in the early 70s, back when they still made a few real perfumes), they became part of the bedroom play-acting scenarios that occupied many of my afternoons. Now, there a certain perfumes I reach for if I need to channel some aspect.

    PG Querelle, for example, gives me (an entirely imaginary) vision of myself in trendy glasses, a white silk shirt and well-cut black trousers: my spiky intellectual persona. If I am feeling especially vulnerable, By Kilian Incense Oud makes me feel everything will be ok. Probably because a lovely rep at Bergdorf’s gave me a travel bottle gratis when I was worried about my mom in the hospital. But I do find the scent itself deeply soothing. Miller Harris Jasmin Vert allows me to believe, however fleetingly, that I am about 10 years younger. And so it goes.

    On the other hand, there are perfumes I choose because they match the day, my outfit or that I just get a craving for. There have been many days when I have made an impulsive grab for a scent, found it horribly askew and scrubbed it off.

    • Patty White says:

      Thanks, Mariekel!

      You’ve thought through this so elegantly! Now I wish I’d had perfumes to play with growing up. I had an incredibly play-acting life going on, and scent would have really enhanced some of those dramas I had going on. You and I would have gotten along great as children, each of us off somewhere concocting some story and creating the whole play as all the characters.

      I think incense does make everything feel okay – btw, thanks for giving me the scent I want to wear today! As soon as I read incense oud, I was thinking, yes, that’s what I want – because it has such a long history of use for calming, religous ceremoney. There has to be a reason so many cultures reached for myrhh and frankincense and other resins to burn.

  • Angelique says:

    I wear perfume for the sheer decadence of it … and yes, for the sheer witchery of it. It evokes mood (even if only my own), which changes my attitude, which creates personal behaviors, which then affects everyone.
    This was, as always, so very well written too. In and of itself it is tender and vulnerable in the reflective tone.

    • Musette says:

      I’m in totally agreement here, Angelique! xoxoA

      • Angelique says:

        *Smile* Patty is going a great job enticing us with your fragrances. I now have a list of about 50 I want to try … tomorrow.

    • Patty White says:

      Thanks, Angelique. You know, I didn’t say in the post that i did get over my aversion to writing about perfume over the last 6-12 months. It took me a while to realize that I could sit down and not wind up in the icky place.

      it is hard to be vulnerable, and it doesn’t come naturally to me – AT ALL. 🙂 Which to me means I really should try and do it more often lest I come to the end of my life and find out that nobody ever really knew me.

      • Angelique says:

        Perfume does have the ability to make the Soul Sing too … and I’m glad you are decanting your own essence. It’s a marvel to see.

  • Tara C says:

    Great post! I choose a scent that resonates with my mood that day, for the most part. I don’t really have an armor scent, just things that make me feel particularly beautiful or comforted or whatever I need that day. I wore L’Eau de Givenchy when I was falling in love with my last husband and now I can’t wear it because it breaks my heart, remembering how I felt then and how it all fell apart. Fortunately that’s the only scent I can’t wear any more due to sad memories.

    • Musette says:

      Tara, that broke my heart to read. I’m glad you only have the one sad olfactory memory. I also hope you are moving forward to create new GOOD olfactory memories, even if you are ‘only’ falling in love with yourself! (which I try to do, every day, figuring if I don’t love myself, how on earth am I going to be able to love anybody else?)


    • Patty White says:

      Oh, Tara, I’m so sorry to hear that. I think I never mind that relationships end so much as I do the grinding of the heel into the dream and image of what you thought you had or meant to each other.

      I don’t know that I do have an armor scent. I probably do, and I just haven’t figured out which one it is.

  • Lisa says:

    I really liked the idea that perfume can be also be used as a sort of “smoke and mirrors” to mask what we want to conceal at the time. I appreciate your candour in this piece and am delighted that there are others that speak this strange language we perfume lovers share.

    • Musette says:

      This was an amazing post, wasn’t it? I was gasping at the beauty, depth and intimacy of it, in a good way! I’m envious. I couldn’t write like this if I sold my liver. I can write about holes in floors, though! 😀 xxooxA

    • Patty White says:

      It is a strange language, no? I mean, of the perfume-wearing public, probably only like.000002% get into it like most of us do.

      I think if more people understood the power of smell on emotion and memory, they’d think about it more. But it’s like art, most people walk by an amazing painting and go “oh, pretty!” or “what is that?” and spend no more time on it. Then I go back to the movie that explains life “Joe Vs. the Volcano” and remember that most people are going through life asleep and very few have the power to wake up or want to.

  • There are definitely scents I love, that I don’t wear because they don’t feel like “me.” No. 5 is one of those — I am never the lady in the suit with the perfect haircut that that scent feels like.
    Mostly, though, I love perfume because it feels like it has no boundaries. Unlike clothes it always fits, and no matter how extravagant the scent it’s not going to hurt my feet or rip if I lift my arms suddenly. I’m not a heavy applier, so I wear anything I want wherever I’m going to be — men’s, vintage, va-va-voom, downright weird … it’s something I do for myself, not to impress other people. It’s like beautiful lingerie that I wear for my own enjoyment under my everyday clothes. But unlike lingerie, it doesn’t have to hand-laundered!
    I have a feeling that someone who made a point to sniff me on a regular basis would know more about my moods and my internal life than I might choose to tell them. Good thing more people don’t think very much about perfume.

    • Musette says:

      Oooh! I wanna come sit by you! I have a feeling you always smell fabulous!


    • Patty White says:

      Or if they knew the thought we put into fragrance,they’d probably know more about our internal life than any of us are comfortable with!

      Yeah, perfume, shoes, scarves, lipsticks and hats, they are my go-to things when everything else just seems too difficult.

  • Steve Seyboth says:

    A good read. I choose my fragrance depending on whether it’s work or play, time of year etc.

    • Musette says:

      what kinds of perfumes for play, Steve?

    • Patty White says:

      Thanks, Steve! You know what? I do too! 🙂 Except when I’m doodling with perfumes in ways nobody really should. then I wind up writing long, overthought posts about the perfume puzzles it creates in my head. 🙂

  • LCT says:

    Maybe I care too much about what others think of me, but I will often choose scents based on how I’d like to smell to other people. It’s almost like a persona (a version of armor). ‘Laid back but sophisticated’ – Chanel Coromandel. ‘Friendly and bubbly’ – PdN Kiss Me Tender. ‘Not trying too hard’ – Penhaligon’s Castile. And on and on.

    • Musette says:

      I think you can use perfume the same way you use clothes/makeup/etc. I do it, myself. If I want to scare someone I wear contemporary (pre-reformulation) Mitsouko. Steps ’em back apace. Cartier Fougueuse? “I have a G6 for myself and a tricked-out cargo plane for my Percherons. Amouage Epic “hmmmm…now…where did I put that canary diamond bracelet. Don’t tell me I left it at the pool AGAIN!”…and so on.


    • Patty White says:

      I don’t think that’s possible. Choosing a perfume to project how you’re feeling or how you want others to perceive you is a great way to go! But it is all tied up with how you feeling about those perfumes and the notes they have in it.

      I probably didn’t really get that covered in the post. Our perception of what a perfume is or says becomes reality. I think if Mitsouko makes a person feel like they have a spine of steel, then that’ what happens. Mitsouko itself has no power, it’s a fragrance. See? It’s so hard to explain!

  • jen says:

    I’d have to say Mitsouko for armor and lily of the valley for amour. Love the circle skirt and no undies!

    • Musette says:

      I’m with you on the Mitsouko, as you know! I wear LotV only in the spring, when I bust out the white gloves (literally. I wear suits with gloves in the Spring. Why not, right?). That circle skirt/no undies/tornado had me howling! Such a skritchy visual!!!


    • Patty White says:

      Cool choices and surprising. Do you think it’s lotv because it’s so chilly and has a restrained thing? Mitsouko is my bitch days, that or diorling. If I’m feeling difficult and drama queenie, I put them on because it matches me.

    • Gatto Nero says:

      I find the comments on Mitsouko so intriguing. I love (pre-reformulation) Mitsouko but have to pick my moments, because it makes me so melancholy! The scent has a depth and history to it — a life story, it seems to me — that brings me to a strange place of reflection on mortality and loss. But it is achingly beautiful, too. I may be alone in this reaction.

  • tammy says:

    What an incredible post, though it makes me feel like the simple peasant that I am, because I really don’t believe I am that emotionally invested in my perfumes. I pretty much just pick what I feel like smelling, and the only thing that strongly effects my choice is the weather, and also where I’ll be wearing it, I suppose. (No really heavy hitters at the movies, etc)

    I think the closest I come to anything like you describe is when I know it’s going to be a busy/rough/hard day, I’ll pick one of my favorites scents not so much as armor, but just so I have something to look forward to, Also, I must admit that iris based scents tend to make me feel lady-like and grown up and I am more likely to behave when I wear them. (Needless to say I do not wear them often.) They smell like rich people to me. ( I have no idea where that comes from!)

    And while I don’t think emotions play much part in what scents I choose, I will say I go nuts if I go too long without them. I just got through moving and most of my perfumes were boxed up for about two weeks. I felt so unsettled. I burned a ton of incense til I got them unpacked! So I am emotional about them, I guess, but they aren’t something I use to express or work through my emotions.

    • Musette says:

      Chiming in here (Patty was neck-deep in work yesterday and sounded like someone had pounded her into the pavement, up to her chin – yes, THAT bad!). There is nothing ‘simple peasant’ about your approach. It’s a totally valid and elegant approach. You know why? Because I Said So. And it also happens to be MY approach. Except for Mitsouko. Which I wear only if i am going to beat the living daylights out of somebody (or want to project that ahead of time so I don’t have to beat the LD out of somebody).

      Iris is cool and composed. Sort of Grace Kelly-like, imo. So I get the ‘rich people’ connection. Iris is more than rich people, though. It has the composedness of Old Money.


    • Patty White says:

      Oh, no, you are NOT a simple peasant just because you don’t feel emotionally invested in your perfume. I don’t think I am that emotionally invested in mine. I use them for pleasure, for exploration. Some of the things I’ve found with them were just weird things that could only happen to me because I do crazy stupid stuff with perfume – like put on 12 musks in one day.

      I have a feeling you probably make choices more subconsciously than you think, especially if you already know you pick things for a rough day because you know it will give you happiness amidst the crap you have to wade through.

      Most of the scents I’ve used to work through emotions are ones that I wore in difficult periods in my life, and they used to hurt physically to wear them because it was like someone picked me up and dumped me back in whatever emotional hell – usually of my own making – I was living in then. It’s amazing when you can face that down and find you are on the other side. It’s a “Witch, begone!” moment. 🙂
      ‘I can’t imagine being withoug perfume for two weeks. I do go days when I don’t wear them at all, too busy, can’t make a choice, but take them away from me? Eeeeeeek!!!

  • Martha says:

    I have recently started wearing perfume again after many years (19) of not wearing it. I am a nurse and we (nurses) are cautioned against wearing fragrance on the job because sick patients can react badly to strong odors (i.e. nausea and vomiting). At this time, I work as a home health nurse and I go to people’s homes and do whatever it is that is necessary for ongoing recovery. I see and smell many sad and ugly things. I started wearing fragrance, albeit close to the skin perfumes, as a sort of consolation for dealing with the downside of life. Frankly, it is easy to become depressed when faced with someone’s hopeless health situation, or someone’s chronic bad health. When I am driving along during my work day, I comfort myself by taking a sniff of either one of my wrists. It is important that I be able to smell the scent because at the moment when I sense the composition of the perfume everything seems a little bit better. Wearing a fragrance reminds me that there is beauty in life and all around. So, I guess, wearing perfume is like wearing armor, but in my case, it is not meant to be detected by others.

    • Musette says:

      While I ‘get’ the nausea and vomiting I also know that most people appreciate a beautiful scent, discreetly applied – especially in situations you describe. Hospitals stink. They smell like Nothing Good is Happening Here, Folks. Same with nursing homes (my dad is in one). I am careful to wear a less ‘human’ scent therein – for example, I will wear Amouage Memoir but not Jubilation 25 – but let me tell you, when I slap on the Memoir body cream (and just one spritz of the perfume) I have nurses and patients clustered around me like bees. It’s NICE to smell something quietly beautiful, both for myself and them!


    • Patty White says:

      Oh, sweety, that really touched me. I spent time volunteering for hospice – I haven’t for the last year or so because of time problems – and I know what you mean. Life can feel so hopeless and pointless sometimes, but it’s not. It always ends, but the journey is so amazing! The people you meet and love, and every one of them changes you forever, even the people you hate. 🙂

      I applaud you for taking care of people, it is a hard job to do, and it’s more than a job, I know that too. I’m glad you’ve found a small comfort in fragrance. I believe that too. Anything that involves the sense, engages them and pulls us out of mundane drudgery is a beautiful thing. xo

      • Martha says:

        Seriously. What you just said. Perfume is just another way for us to take care of ourselves, to remind ourselves that we’re worth it. And I agree, the journey of life is amazing. Thank goodness there’s lots of perfume to take along. 🙂

  • JulieT says:

    I was dead wrong when I wore Poison to a wine tasting event. I was new to perfume.. What was I thinking???

  • Turtledovey says:

    I can’t say I ever thought of it as willingness to be vulnerable, but I definitely have had that want-to-crawl-out-of-your-skin feeling when picking the wrong one. There’s definitely something more unsettling about it than just, “Gee, I guess I didn’t really feel like wearing red today, oh well.” When sampling ones that just really don’t fit, sometimes it will even feel like someone is walking just behind me or I turned and didn’t see them, it’s an odd sensation. I do pick perfumes with my mood, but usually it’s mainly just limited to “Ooo, I feel like this one today” for no particular reason, or sometimes choosing between calm or energetic, playful or serious, although I hardly ever go with serious.

    • Patty White says:

      It’s like wearing a skirt that’s too short, you just can’t get comfortable.

      Yeah, I’m usually what you do. I think it’s just been the enforced having to wear and stay with notes that I’m not necessarily feeling right then that made it acute for me and brought it into a weird view. Most people would never have to do that!

  • Dionne says:

    Perfume for me has always been about more than just smelling good. It’s tied up with my feelings about my own femininity, about living in my body instead just in my head, and it sparked a personal renaissance that’s still ongoing. Finding scents that smell fabulous on me (a lot of mainstream stuff is a hot mess on my skin) helped heal some very old wounds.
    I actually feel down the rabbit hole while trying to find a signature fragrance and spent a lot of time agonizing about who I really was, and what fragrance could best encapsulate that. I think it says something about personal discovery that when an old friend was smelling some of my collection, my bottle of Id’I prompted her comment, “Yes, this is very much you” and then Black Cashmere got a “This is you as well” and I completely agreed with her assesment.

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, Dionne, that’s so lovely and touching!

      I think fragrance is a really nonthreatening way to explore all the pieces you lost along the way – it has been for me. when you get to the place where you’ve become a faceted diamond that reflects light every time you turn and show something else, that’s amazing. xo

      • Sonia says:

        I love this one- amazing to me how many of us have looked for the “one fragrance” that would help us remember who we are/ or keep us from forgetting who we are— instead, it’s great to celebrate the fact the we are many fragrances, multi-faceted and perhaps the “I” I am looking for is the one who celebrates/accepts all of those. Curious, at least for me that there is still a longing for the “one” however and challenging to see that that keeps changing.

  • Janice says:

    Great post. I definitely have comfort/armor scents (Bois d’Iles,
    lately) and I definitely get it wrong sometimes—usually by wearing something
    that starts to feel, midway through the morning, too fancy or overdressed or
    just smarter than I feel myself. Amouage Opus I is the last one I remember this
    happening with, and I haven’t gone near it since. I should dig out that sample
    and try again…

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, that is bad, and it happens to me, your perfume feels overdressed. Amouage Gold and the Patous can do that to me so easily, as does Hermes 24 Faubourg. They are in furs and I want to be in jammies!

  • Magda says:

    Oh absolutely. I don’t have many perfumes in my collection, but I’ll often wear Bandit when I want to feel tough-as-nails in the face of something intimidating; or sometimes I’ll wear it but I’ll sweeten it with The Unicorn Spell, or warm it up with some Fat Electrician… I know, layering frags is taboo. Oh well, if it works!

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, Bandit is great for armor!

      I layer frags all the time! Who said it was taboo? Remember, no rules in perfume. 🙂

    • Gatto Nero says:

      Layering fragrances is a time-honored tradition among scentoholics! I consider it an art form, akin to mixing color (as in paints) properly. And Bandit is a great tough-as-nails choice!

  • SBE says:

    Favorite line EVER:

    Best Fragrances for a Cheatin’ Husband and His Ugly ‘Ho.

    OK, but to answer your question, I definitely wear perfume as emotional show and tell, but not as armor. I wear perfume that matches my mood. Example, a week or so ago when the weather turned from nice to blizzard, and I was in a bad mood besides, there was only one thing that could help: to watch Twilight for the ten thousandth time. For my perfume match for the occasion, I chose Stella McCartney Stella Rose Absolute, for it’s dark, romantic feel. (and, yes, I felt much better afterwards…)

    • Patty White says:

      Haha! I had fun writing that too! I usually refrain for many references to that ex because we weirdly enough stayed friends ultimately, after a couple of years of fighting more than we ever had in the previous 18 years.

      Ohmigerd, I have those too – shut in, bad weather, and grabe the Lord of the Rings or Pride and Prejudice or Titanic and even Twilight and watch it… again. I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched all of those.

      That perfume is perfect for it! What do you think of the claim they are putting on Balenciaga Florabotanica that that’s Bella’s perfume? I say crap, it’s just not. She is definitely cool, dark musky roses, maybe Serge Rose de Nuit or Stella rose Absolute or a lot of other things, but not Florabotanica.

      • SBE says:

        SOOOOO agree! Bella is most definitely SL RdN and not Florabotanica!

        And so happy to hear that there are others watching movies, in fact, exactly the ones you’ve listed, for the millionth time!

        The line made me giggle as I have a cheatin’ ex with a ho, too, but happy to hear that you get along with yours….we are getting along as well!

  • This post resignates deeply with me. As a former massage therapist, I am accutely aware of the affects of essential oils. They can change a mood, open up hidden feelings, aid the body in healing, and generally should be viewed reverentially as the potent medicines they are. I never thought of perfume as portals into our psyches!,

    I have sought out a “signature” fragrance for years, as if somehow that scent would suddenly solidify my identity. These have been periods where I was lost from an abusive marriage ( with a subsequent divorce) or times when I refused to look inwards for sense of self.

    Now that I am in a healthy place, I love not having a signature fragrance! I choose what I want to reveal. You’re absolutely right in that fragrances reveal things about s. I now look at my love-hate with Angel in a new light. My secret longing towards perfumes I thought of as “in appropriate” are now going to be re-examined. This is very insightful, and I wanted to thank you for placing another piece of my puzzle.

    • Patty White says:

      You are so welcome! I think the things we hate have more to tell us than the things we love. I know a lot of people that despise carnation because they have associations of it with funerals. I think de Profundis hit some of that same territory with the chilly chrysanthemum.

      I found an old post that popped up in that You might also like box above the comments about Estee Lauder Cinnabar. It was a perfume I wore during my first marriage to a crazy, beautiful, abusive, mesmerizing man. It took like 25 years for me to be able to smell it and relaxing into the memory instead of screaming. So I understand your reference to times when you were lost. Been there. I think it was then that I believed there was ONE perfume for me because I wasn’t comfortable with so many options or digging around inside my head. I had no forgiveness for myself, I guess.

      I’ll be interested to hear how your inappropriate fragrance romp goes! 🙂 There is a measure of freedom you get when you either free yourself or just accept your devils.

      • I will definitely keep haunting this blog and posting about my adventures!

      • I just read the Cinnabar post and WOW! I completely understand that situation. For me I am relieved that Fredrick’s of Hollywood no longer makes their perfume that was prevalent in the early 2000’s. Why I thought that was a good honeymoon fragrance, I’ll never know! But, the one fragrance that hurt for such a long time was Michael by Michael Kors. That was the perfume that I chose as a “woman”, and I loved that it was my ex-husband’s name. It was “me” at the time. For a long, long, long time I couldn’t smell that perfume because of the painful memories, but now I smell that big flower jumble and I smile. Now, I remember the sparkling optimism of youth and young love.

  • Sandstorm936 says:

    I’m fickle in my daily perfume choices and my perfume collection is in no particular order, like you mentioned. Chanel’s Cuir de Russie and Shalimar (off the top of my head) are comfort perfumes. I haven’t worn those in a while. Mitsouko, Chanel no. 19 are my b***h perfumes. But I find Chanel no. 19 just doesn’t seem to suit in winter. Lyric, Bal, Courtesan are the ones I go to when I’m feeling sexy. Amouage Dia and Gold are the ones I go to when I feel like a million dollars. For the past week, I’ve been feeling panicky because (probably not always the greatest idea) I read the blog 1000 Fragrances and it looks like as mid next year, Chanel no. 5 is probably going to be no more due to reformulations. What makes it worse for me is that on the Chanel website, the EDP is now marketed as limited edition.

    • Patty White says:

      Yeah, that potential reformulation – again – is scary.I mean, a lot of perfumes wound up hitting the skids because they were small companies that couldn’t afford the reformulation, or they perfume would be unrecognizable

      I love your sexy choices, those are mine too! Well, or some of them. I usually have Ormonde Woman in there and about 50 others. The number of fragrances I really love is scary, it’s like my perfume harem.

      • Sandstorm936 says:

        It looks like the spine of Chanel no. 5 is going to be destroyed because, I think, a couple notes are going to be banned and labeled as allergens. I swear that in a couple years that there won’t be any perfume releases and governments won’t allow us to wear perfume at all. I’m gonna stock up on no. 5.

        • Patty White says:

          I liked ARi’s post about it. Why don’t the perfume companies just slap a lable on the bottle listing the allergens. Then they could produce it. But they’d rather take the secret to their grave and destroy the perfume.

          I never even though that was an option, but apparently it is. So now I’m back to blaming the perfume companies. Get over it, people have a right to know if an allergen is in their perfume. List the ingredients, end of problem.

  • You are SOOO deep Patty. Who knew?
    I’m still at the smell EVERYTHING stage, I’ll think about it later,
    Portia xx

    • Patty White says:

      Hey, I have depths I never plumb in public usually. 🙂 for good reason, it’s not always pretty.

      I am going to be really interested in a year or two to have you go back and think about this and see if it resonates.

      I loved the SMELL EVERYTHING stage. God, what a heady rush that is. I’m envious of you guys. It’s sorta like being envious of people who have never heard Joni Mitchell’s Blue album and that they still have that in front of them.

  • pam says:

    Oh, mymymy! What a great post! Yes, I do use perfume in some of the ways mentioned. And some leave me so vulnerable that I am careful to wear them only at certain times. Diva can make me invinceable, Tocade can comfort me, and L’Heure Bleue makes me very fragile. Gotta be careful with that stuff.

    • Patty White says:

      Really, on the L’Heure Bleue? what an interesting trio and such big differences. I used to wear Diva all the time, and it did make me feel that way too – feminine and strong.

  • It’s interesting to me that I always gravitate toward dark, skanky, musky perfumes, the very ones that I assume would be the smells of vulnerability Patty is talking about here. These are the smells that I feel most comfortable in, the bright and sparkly would for me probably evoke similar feelings of discomfort that the skin smells evoke for Patty. But then I tend to be a bit of a broody guy and there are times when I feel caught off guard if someone sees my laughing to myself, so perhaps this is my armor, to smell the way that I am generally already perceived by myself and others. I had never really thought about these things before, scent for me being such an ultimately subconscious experience. I will have to pay attention now to why I may pick one scent over another on any given day. Thanks for the food for thought, and for the draw!

    • Patty White says:

      You are so welcome! It’s a fun conversation for me, these ones always are. I love hearing how people think about perfume.

      I have a feeling that my perception of musk as vulnerable isn’t necessarily accurate for everyone. I just don’t wear them much, even though I love a lot of them, so coming around to knowing that my perception of them subconsiously is different was helpful. I am not the kinda girl that lets people in easily.

      I have a feeling that your more broody nature feels more at home in those more brooding scents. I could happily spritz on SMN Eva every day and never give it another thought because its pace and feel matches my Pollyanna beliefs.

      It was fun to think about, and I’m still turning it all over. I really love hearing everyone else’s experiences, though, it helps me to figure out if there are similarities or it’s just me.

  • Elena says:

    I own most of my perfumes because they smell good, but there are a few that serve a higher purpose. My armor is Chanel 19. Chanel seems to be a trend for armor, they have that polished to a high shine aspect to them, don’t they? Even when I’m just going to the grocery store, I feel like I’ve got my act together wearing it. Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic makes me feel strong, energetic and capable because of association. I started wearing it to work out because I must wear perfume at all times, and I thought that wouldn’t asphyxiate my gym-mates (though I did wear Patou 1000 once when I got a sample, bwahahahaha!) and now I get an instant lift from it.

    • Elena says:

      Wearing 1000 to work out doubles as a time when I got it completely wrong. I kept looking around and trying to figure out who was wearing such an interesting and lovely scent, but I could not associate it with myself at all. I don’t think I’ve worn it since.

      • Patty White says:

        Oh, how cool! so it was completely unlike you, but you liked how it smelled? I think there are a lot of fragrances that go there for me. I admire them, think they are just beautiful, but I don’t wear them. I’m not really a vintage kind of girl, even though I love vintage. They seem so… wrong when I put them on my skin and try to wear them around.

    • Patty White says:

      wow, Chanel seems to be the big winner in the “Perfume Armor” range! 🙂 I wonder how Coco would feel about that.

      Do you think its the citrus that gives you that energetic thing? In the summer, I think that’s why I go to mostly citrus, they do infuse me with some energy that I don’t actually possess when it’s hot as can be out!

      • Elena says:

        It’s definitely the bright bracing citrus along with the gym association. A great wake up scent, too.

    • Mals86 says:

      Chanel No. 19 is absolutely my invisible-armor scent as well.

  • Jackieb says:

    What a great post…thought provoking!
    As a part time aromatherapist I know that essential oils can influence our moods, but as a perfume addict, I tend to wear fragrance that reflects how I feel. Otherwise we would always wear the same one ie, sexy, confident young. Oh no, celebriscents!
    Tonight it’s Zafar sample, what does that say about me??

    • Patty White says:

      thanks, jackie! I almost ditched it halfway through it. It was violating my too much disclosure rules, but sometimes the point is being a little vulnerable.

      Zafar? Confident, you know what you want, and you take risks. Tha’s my two cents! 🙂

  • ElizabethC says:

    Scent can definitely be used as armor. I put on Chanel No. 5 and I am wrapped in icy invulnerability. It’s very much like makeup, putting on my face for work meant that it wasn’t the regular (slightly disorganized) me. There are times when I use scent to reflect me and there are times when I use it to send a VERY SPECIFIC message (of course, in reality, probably no one picks up on that, but it makes me feel good so….).

    • Patty White says:

      Chanel NO. 5 is armor. most aldehydes fell like armor for me.

      but you know, even if nobody gets the exact message, that you feel it’s sending one is putting something out there. I think that projects.

      • Musette says:

        I agree. No. 5 is not ‘friendly’ – it’s like Grace Kelly. Lovely but somewhat reserved. Like an 11cwt emerald-cut diamond ring, worn solo.


  • I was really touched by this post, Patty. I do not think my perfumes say much about myself- they just reflect what I like to smell. Given how much of myself I pour into my perfume habit, I guess it is a little odd that my perfumes aren’t more, well, personal. HEATHER WHAT DOES THIS MEAN

    • Patty White says:

      Most of my perfumes don’t say anything about me either other than stuff I think smells good. There’s just the back row of things that are more challenging!

      i suspect your perfumes are more personal than you think, you just don’t know why yet. And you’re like 22! 🙂 And thanks.

    • Heather Wood says:

      What does it mean to you? ; ) Seriously, if you put that much of yourself into your perfumes, I suspect that what you like to smell is a more personal matter than you think, because remember, pleasure is very personal! Let’s not confuse “personal” with “serious, grim, and no fun.”

  • Spiker says:

    At the rather mature age of 42 I just started wearing perfume this September, and while I’m still very much in the “ooh pretty!” stage of exploring perfume, there are very definitely comfort scents vs. sophisticated scents vs. happy, skippy scents. I’m looking forward to the journey.

    • Patty White says:

      Wow, how cool is that?! I think early on, you should just concentrate on the pretty and what you love. Sometimes you never need to go deeper in. I think I wound up there just because I think about it and write about it all the time. It makes a lot of introspection into the whys. But none of that is necessary to really have fun with it!

  • Ann says:

    Patty, this really is a fascinating and complex subject. I agree that many times there’s so much more going on with the choice of scent than simply “That smells good.” I use fragrance as a mood enhancer, mood lifter, armor for a difficult day ahead, etc., as well, sometimes without even being consciously aware of doing it. BTW, I’m so very sorry that that happened to you, Patty. You are a beautiful, strong woman — thank you so much for sharing your feelings about fragrance and life.

    • Patty White says:

      so what do you use for armor? I’m always curious! I think de Profundis is my armor. Not because it protects me as much as it won’t let anything hurt me when I’ve got it. 🙂

      Oh, that was a long time ago, and I’ve long since gotten past it to the degree anyone gets past things in their life. I think writing my Best Fragrances for Betrayal may go a long way to finish it off completely. And it will be fun!

      • Ann says:

        Hey, Patty, I love de Profundis as well; it’s a great armor scent. Another go-to in the armory is Roja Dove’s Diaghilev. It’s beautiful and empowering in a “don’t mess with me” kind of way. Something about those mossy-ish, chypre-type scents seems to make me feel bolder — also love RD’s Unspoken, though it’s a bit sweeter.

        BTW, am just now trying the Coco in parfum — mmmm … some mighty smooth juice! Thanks …

  • I think you are on to something. Lately I have a lot of trouble choosing scent. I’ll pick a perfume in the morning, and it turns out not to suit me, and just annoy me all day long. Right now I feel like I could wear one or two perfumes for a month at a time and be happy. Just content, wearing things that are comfortable and comforting. Yet, there is still a thrill of the chase, and I keep wanting to try new things. It’s so complicated.

    • Patty White says:

      It is complicated! I get bored easily. I’ll get 1-2 things I wear regularly for a few weeks, then I just don’t want to smell them anymore for a while.

      Maybe the trouble choosing is because we don’t always know what we need? I’ve had these weird jitters and tension for weeks, and I’m really sick of it. I burn incense all day, and it helps me past it.

  • Heather Wood says:

    As a perfumista and a psychiatrist, I’m fascinated by the emotional aspects of scent and thrilled that someone with so much knowledge of scent posted on this topic. I say yes, without question we can unconsciously choose scents to help modulate our emotional responses. We can also access parts of our “inner stranger” through scent, even remembered scent. As soon as I read the name of your giveaway, I was brought back to my unhappy 14th year when I regularly lifted my own spirits by rubbing and sniffing a Tonka bean that someone had given me as a curiosity. I had forgotten most of that year, but when I read “Musk Tonkin” I was reintroduced to a piece of my younger self and found myself thinking that I have to smell this perfume. I don’t just want to, I need to. Thanks for the memories, indeed.

    • Patty White says:

      Uh-oh! 🙂 Oh, wait, you’re one of us, so you don’t think we’re crazy.

      I know incense and lavender calms me, helps me turn inside in a good way, centering. Sometimes I want armor, impenetrable, self-sufficient. Your basic ball-breaking scent.

      I’m so glad you had that memory. Those things you clung to in unhappiness that made it better can be powerful. Do you think it would have the same effect today?

      Do you know if anyone has done studies on the impact of remembered smell with senility and Alzheimer’s? I got an e-mail once from someone at an Alzheimer’s facility back east, wanting to know if I knew a fragrance person that could bring in some scents, that it was something their patients really enjoyed. I’ve often wondered if smell therapy is something that could be real – either in physical debilitation or in emotional.

      When I start into something uncomfortable, taking my time with it, even if it’s several runs, usually will get me past whatever old quivering ghost I associate it with. I don’t always figure out what it is, but it’s an interesting process that doesn’t seem as violent as confronting a bad memory straight on – it’s like a side angle that seems to work out a kink. Sorry, long winded tonight!

      • Heather Wood says:

        Wow, your questions and speculations are as thoughtful as your reviews.Without getting too nerdy about it, our other senses are transmitted from the sensory organ (retina, eardrum, whatever) to primary sensory areas in the cortex, then through a complex relay system to the limbic system where emotion and the emotional attachments of old memories live. The olfactory nerve, on the other hand, feeds directly into the limbic system, bypassing initial cortical processing altogether; with scent, we feel and remember before we think. We’ve all noticed the ability of scents to evoke old memories in an immediate and visceral way! I don’t know of any studies on scent in Alzheimer’s patients, but I do know that the limbic system and distant-past memories tend to be relatively preserved in Alzheimer’s until late stages, and I can well imagine that dementia patients would greatly enjoy scents that reminded them of better times. So, Queen Patty, if I’m unfortunate enough to develop dementia, will you send a perfumista to remind me of the things that made me happy? I’m sure it will make me feel better, regardless of whether anyone has studied the subject or not.

        BTW, re “you don’t think we’re crazy,” as a shrink I don’t think about whether people are crazy, I think about whether they’re functional, i.e. reasonably happy and avoiding harm to themselves and others, or the reverse. I have never seen anyone on the Posse trying to cause any harm, and they seem to have a lot of fun, ergo: sanity!

        • Patty White says:

          Yeah, i read the articles about how scent processes, and I often just wonder if scent could be used to help people with emotional pain. And thinking about it giving some comfort to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients makes me happy. I wish I knew if there were more of that going on or if I could figure out how to do something with it.

          So, yes! If you are that unfortunate and I’m not there before you, I’ll bring you perfume. I think I’m going to make a list now so people know what to bring me to smell that take me to happy times and great memories. maybe I’ll see if they can use headspace technology to capture the scent of my mom and put it in a bottle for me. 🙂

          Oh, I was teasing about the crazy. 🙂

  • Poodle says:

    I pick perfume based on my mood more than the occasion so I guess I agree with most of what you said. There are some scents that I only wear for me. I am totally transported by certain scents too. I’ve had scents I only sort of liked turn into scents I love because of a memory attached to them. I’ve turned on scents for similar reasons and tossed them out hoping to erase the bad memory associated with them. They are like people, some stay with you, some change and you need to part ways with them.

    • Patty White says:

      Yeah. And maybe it’s not that the perfume speaks as much as how we feel about it telegraphs. If we are wrapped up in somthing we love and makes us feel special, that’s what we put out there. Maybe then people associate that smell with how we are in that moment. I feel like I’m chasing my tail. 🙂