One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Click: Lagerfeld Photo


This morning before I showered for work, I wanted a quick hit of something cheerful, so I grabbed a spritz of Todd Oldham--too oriental for early summer but I couldn't resist--and returned to my computer. It was a warm, or warmish, morning, so we had all the windows open, and as I sat typing or reading or whatever I was doing, a wasp appeared at the window screen. Insects bumble by all the time, of course, but this was different; it was determined to get inside. It took me a minute or two before I realized: Oh, shit: it wants the Todd Oldham! Of course it did: the top note of kiwi, mango and cucumber is fresh and enticing. Thank goodness for screens. Now I must remind myself never, ever to wear this outside during insect season.

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What I put on after showering was something a lot more congenial to warm weather: Lagerfeld Photo, a brilliant, classic men's scent.

It starts with a bang: a jolt of hesperidic notes dominated by grapefruit, which the perfumer said was meant to suggest the flash of a camera. I never can resist the smell of grapefruit, and here it's striking, almost dizzying. Gone in a heartbeat, of course, as grapefruit has a way of doing; but it's a gorgeous opener.

After all those citrus notes have mostly burned away, the core of the scent makes itself known; it's a crisp fougere, mostly lavender and green leaves (and, I think, geranium) with some flashy hints of spice. The citrus notes never leave entirely: there's always a small charge of them to keep the scent from becoming boring. I love this sort of alchemy; citrus notes are volatile and evanescent, and when a perfumer can rein them in so that they last throughout the life of the scent, I'm impressed. The hesperides remain, increasingly dimmed and veiled, right up until the very end, which is soft and woody, with the faint glow of vanillic benzoin.

Photo is one of those scents which, for some reason, you can find just about anywhere for very little money: I paid less than $20 for mine, and it was money well spent. It's a modest classic.

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