One Thousand Scents

Monday, June 19, 2006

Whimsical: In Love Again by Yves Saint Laurent

On a complete and unexpected whim, I bought a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent's In Love Again a couple of nights ago. I'd just finished work (at 9:30ish) and we were poking around in Shoppers Drug Mart, which--have I mentioned this before?--is a Canadian chain that's like a huge drugstore and a small supermarket and a high-end cosmetics store and an odd-lot fragrance store all at once, and they had a bunch of things (like Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui and Perry Ellis and Hummer) for well under $20, and I couldn't see anything I really couldn't live without right at the moment but then I saw a bunch of boxes of ILA and I remembered having read that it was grapefruit-based and fairly unisex and the object of desire for a lot of people who had gone a little crazy when it was discontinued until it was reissued, and I just grabbed a bottle of it and bought it (along with sunscreen and ibuprofen and other things that people actually need).

I'm not entirely sure why it was the subject of so much obsession when it was discontinued, but it sure is nice. (So's the amusing bottle, which seems like an oddly-shaped block of glass until you look at it from above and realize it's a charmingly lopsided heart.) It opens with the zing of grapefruit (one of my favourite notes), though not the crisp, startling grapefruit of Photo: this is something milder and subtler, but it's grapefruit nonetheless. After a while, and not much of a while, the grapefruit is overshadowed and subdued by a whole lot of summery things; it smells, to be honest, as if it were composed of parts of a bunch of other scents--it calls to mind Calyx and CK One, White Linen and Cotton White (an old Body Shop scent), Eau Sauvage and 4711. It makes you think of soap and freshly laundered clothing in a sunshiny backyard with some extremely ill-defined flowers--nothing "flowery" or "floral", just summery--and lots of leaves. (This definitely could be worn by a man.)

About an hour and a half in, I smelled the back of my hand and damned if the grapefruit hadn't somehow magically returned! I don't know if it was there all along or if the scent has actually been engineered to present the same note twice, but it was a pleasant surprise. I wondered if the whole thing was going to start all over again, but it didn't; backing up the grapefruit this time was a soft, luscious musk, nothing strong or animalic: this is the sort of musk that is always described as "skin musk" or "crystal musk" or "white musk". It doesn't usually have an effect on me, but in this scent, the musk is definitely there and exceedingly attractive.

In Love Again is subtle; it's the quintessence of the office scent, because I can't imagine that it would offend anyone. If you'd applied it at least half an hour earlier, they probably wouldn't even know you were wearing it. But you'd know.


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