Random Scent Crimes

Wait, I spent HOW much on perfume?!

It has been hot this summer — in the nineties, and I don’t have air conditioning. Call me a waaaaaahmbulance. Anyhoo, I was in the library the other day, killing time in their lovely A/C, and I was walloped by a fragrance someone was wearing. I literally followed its trail through the stacks on the first floor, intrigued – what could possibly be so strong? Eventually I sidled up to a woman my age in the magazine section, smiled at her in a friendly fashion, complimented her fragrance (… I mean, what else am I going to say?) and asked her what it was. Turns out it was 24 Faubourg which is why it smelled familiar, it was one of my mother-in-law’s favorites at one time. It is a lot, a big white-flowers-hairspray-over-cigarettes scent, and I do not love it. I could smell it for at least thirty minutes after this woman had wandered off. I swear, I had that weird thing where I could almost taste it; do you know what I mean?

Thing is, though, I really don’t think she’d dumped an entire flacon on herself; I wish I’d had a perfume friend there I could ask. I think that, for whatever reason, in that moment in time and space, I was wildly sensitized to it. On the other hand, who would reach for that in this weather? On the third hand, I love the way a big, blowsy, indolic white flower fragrance opens up in sultry summer, so who am I to judge?

You own HOW many bottles of perfume?!?!

I go to my allergist regularly, and they have a no-fragrance policy, and I’m always a little nervous heading in. I respect those signs and would never apply a fragrance before going, but … am I fragrance free? I check defensively for remnants of scent on the sweater I’m wearing (medical offices are COLD!) and I also use a lot of sunscreen and creams and lotions on my dry skin and while they’re mildly scented, it’s not unscented. I figure if you can’t smell anything unless you get within a foot of me, I’m okay. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, back to that 24 Faubourg, whoa. I could smell it for hours afterward; did I get its molecular miasma lodged in my nose-hairs, or was it some sort of olfactory hallucination? How come that doesn’t happen with something I love? I know I’ve mentioned it on here before, but there’s also a woody base in some mass-market man-frags that sticks in my nostrils and drives me insane which is one reason why I don’t casually sniff at the men’s counter at, say, Macy’s.

So, what have I been wearing during the day, while wilting in this furnace-like dry heat, still waiting for our monsoon season to show up? A spray bottle of ice-cold spring water I spritz myself with, head to toe, followed by a splash of good old 4711, so refreshing! This was going to be a post about one or more of the amazing cheap colognes I found on Amazon after Tom’s post, but I fell down a rabbit hole and had a hard time making up my mind so we’re not there yet.

After not wearing fragrance to the doctor or dentist, or to the gym (also air conditioned), I have a nice cool evening shower and then absolutely slather myself with this stuff, and shout-out to Musette for giving it to me. Its scent is pretty subtle – I see frankincense and cinnamon listed right there at the end of a nice, short list of ingredients. It smells incredible, I can’t get enough of that smell, just a really nice, rich body-butter-type smell rather than a “perfumed body product” if that makes any sense at all, in a very emollient cream that doesn’t clog my pores and doesn’t work my last nerve, scent-wise, in the heat.

Have you ever gotten a fragrance up your nose/in your face/on your person that hung around like a bad dream? You know you have. What was it, and what did you do about it? Or have you been the one committing the scent crimes?

images via Pexels

  • Tara C says:

    I would be happy to send you some of my Quebec monsoon – it’s been so rainy this summer the mosquitoes are eating me alive.

  • Musette says:

    and BWF in high heat? Sign Me Up! I wear the living snot out of Carnal Flower, Tribute Attar (those heady roses), Rose Aqor (sp – one of the newer Amouage attars), LYRIC EXTRAIT (which I will wear in the 90F heat tomorrow)… those are absolutely THE BEST in the heavy, humid sweltering 90s…. and beyond.

  • Musette says:

    Honey – I am SO late to this party (forgive me) but you know alllll about how long Opium will stick in my soft palate, which is why I avoid it like a plague virus. Ditto Aromatics Elixirs … ew… neither of those smell Awful – it’s just that they stay and stay and stay… like an unwanted guest.

  • ElizaC says:

    It made my day when I realized that Amoureuse blooms into even more of a monster in a hot car.

  • alityke says:

    I seem to get perfumes stuck in my nose regularly, more from olfactory imagination I think. Maybe a smellucination?
    24 Faubourg is beautiful but far too grown up for me despite being a pensioner

    • March says:

      LOVE smellucination as a word, I’m stealing it! I agree, 24 Faubourg is very grown up in a way that is … not me.

      • alityke says:

        It’s that perfectly groomed Aunt who winced at sticky fingers & was all “Noli me tangere”.
        Smellucination? Happy to release it into the wild.

  • Dina C. says:

    I remember sniffing 24 Faubourg and thinking it was like an orchestra, as opposed to a string quartet. It seems to have every note from the perfumer’s possible bag of tricks. I’ve spent the summer wearing ethereal citrus scents, but today I reached for L’Artisan Nuit de Tuberuese. It’s warm and spicy. But I’m the only one in the house, so I’m not bothering anyone else. I tend to spray or dab lightly.

    • March says:

      Oooooh Nuit de Tubereuse — you smelled fantastic! That is one I’ve probably over-applied and did not regret it one bit, what a gorgeous scent. Yeah, 24 is definitely an orchestra, great analogy!

  • rosarita says:

    I used to work with a woman who doused herself in the latest mainstream scents. Calvin Klein Euphoria stuck in my nose the worst, she wore big blasts of it.

    • March says:

      Yikes, I remember not liking that one, although I can’t remember what it smelled like! To be fair, though, I sometimes miss being in an urban environment where many people around me were wearing fragrance and I felt like I was one of many.

    • alityke says:

      OMG my bestie bought Euphoria at the outward Duty Free on a girls long weekend in Spain. Another who hoses herself with scent. Everything I ate, drank or otherwise sniffed was Euphoria. Bleugh

  • cinnamon says:

    I love 24 Faubourg in the bottle and on other people. In fact, I brought back a bottle for a friend when it had just been released and I was on work trip to Paris (my one and only exciting work trip). It does not work on me. At.All. Which is a bit sad. And totally agree on big blousy florals in the heat. The way they open up. As to things stuck in the nose, I had that happen with something recently that I really didn’t like. I can’t recall what it was. I think it was so unpleasant I’ve consciously forgotten it. Hope your rainy season decides to arrive.

    • March says:

      It’s an El Nino year so: cold, wet winter, hot dry summer. It’s cooled off a bit and it’s manageable but I miss my almost-daily late afternoon rains, cooling everything off! 24 Faubourg I can take in small doses (I wound up with my MIL’s bottle, pretty sure) but I don’t want to wear it, it’s not right on me either.

  • Tom says:

    I like 24 Faubourg, but it’s one that one has to go steadily with. Sadly, the one person i knew who wore it was, shall we say, zestful in her application?

    The worst one was Agent Provacateur. I later found that I pretty much hated it in even small doses, but said friend once when we were at the store on Melrose took advantage of an unattended tester and hosed herself down so liberally I had to leave. We were supposed to have lunch but I Just Could Not. Looking at the notes I should like it but I got blowsy roses in curry.

    On the flip side I hate being told I’m going to be in a scent free zone. I mean, do they sniff you for Aveda hair goop or Jergens cherry lotion at the door? Toss you if your shirt smells suspiciously like Snuggle? Do I get a guarantee that everyone in that office is freshly showered and isn’t breathing coffee and onion bagel at me? It’s enough to make you want to douse yourself in Agent Provacateur..

    • March says:

      Hahaha Musette has a story about being out with a friend who kept dosing herself in something because she liked the opening, it was terrible! Yeah, scent-free zones … good luck with that. I don’t put on perfume before the doctor, but I would never voluntarily work in an office with that rule.

  • Kathleen says:

    I love 24 Faubourg! I have to admit I have more likely been the one committing the scent crimes. I am a big vintage perfume fan and I’m certain I have gotten in people’s noses, no malice intended I promise. I’m not sensitive to perfume and have not had the experience of perfume hanging on in my nose. I wish I encountered more people with a perfume trail!

    • March says:

      Oh, I admit it’s exciting / delightful to be on the trail of someone! As I said further up in comments, I do sometimes miss being around a whole bunch of people wearing fragrance to work etc. And I am 500% more likely to be the criminal than the victim given my tastes in things like Poison!

  • Portia says:

    YAY for Hermès 24 Faubourg! Sorry it tormented you March but what a fabulous fragrance. Thanks for the reminder.
    The first time I tried Cacharel Liberté the fizziness got caught in my nose like snorting super sweet soda pop or Whizz Fizz and sizzled there for hours. It was hella distracting. Sadly it has never recurred.
    Portia xx