One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oh Nose!

I certainly do apologize for not having posted anything in a whole month, and I feel bad about it, but there's a reason.

It's not for lack of trying! In the last few weeks I've written bits and pieces about the following scents: Phat Farm Atman, Chanel Allure Sensuelle, Azzaro Pour Homme, Amouage Dia Pour Homme, CSP Bois de Filao, YSL M7, and Miller et Berteau Green, green, green and green. I expect there are others that I've forgotten in the interim.

I do what I always do: I put on a scent, sniff it, think about it, sniff it some more, write down some ideas, do a little research, sniff yet again, write some more. Eventually the thing gets written.

But there's something wrong. There's something wrong with my nose.

It's been building for about six months, I suppose. I ordered some things from Sephora about a year and a half ago, and one of them was Poison, the fantastic limited-edition Amulet bottle. I had worn Poison for years not long after it came out; it suited me incredibly well (I intend to write about it properly one day, as I promised a few months ago), but I hadn't had any for quite a while, and I just couldn't resist that amazing bottle, which looks like a lethal dagger made of amethyst. See?
I put it away and didn't try it for a whole year, which I do sometimes. A lot of the time, actually: I have at least thirty things--mostly miniatures, but a few full-sized bottles--which I have never opened, and don't get me started on the samples. When I broke it out last summer, I was shocked to discover that it didn't smell at all the way I remembered it: at the very top was a sharp, greenish, synthetic note that I was quite sure hadn't been there originally. I thought the bottle must have gone off, so I went to a department store to try their tester, and it had exactly the same note at the top; something disagreeable and in-the-way. A couple of months later I got a sample, and that smelled the same way, too.

What was the story? Was that note there all along, with me simply incapable of smelling it? Was the formula changed?

Whatever's going on, it's not just Poison. There seems to be something (or somethings) in a lot of commercial scents, and soaps and lotions and the like, which I was never aware of before, but which now simply leaps up at me. It's the dominant scent in anything which contains it, and worse, it takes up lodging in my nostrils and it won't go away; it seems to stick in my nose, and for hours it overlays nearly everything I smell. I'm not "allergic" or "sensitive" to synthetic fragrances, but there is something in some of them--a lot of them--that suddenly is omnipresent: it launches itself at me and it won't let go. It's like trying to watch television and, every now and then, your eyelids take on a life of their own and flap and flutter and get in the way. You can still see the television, but what you're seeing is distorted and diminished.

It's not inevitable, it's not everywhere, and it's not predictable. One day last week before work I put on a couple of shots of Coup de Fouet, and it smelled as it ought to. As I sat down at my computer about twelve hours later (it was a long day), at 1:30 in the morning, I put the back of my hand to my nose, and the long-lasting drydown smelled as it ought to, too. My nose isn't permanently busted, at least not yet. But if I had smelled something with that element in it, the CdF would have been ruined for a while, maybe for the rest of the day. Something's going on, and it's really a drag. I have somehow been wrecked by modern perfumery.

With any luck, I can still get enough proper nose time to write about the things I love. Keep tuning in.


  • So sorry this is happening to you! I sincerely hope it gets better soon, if only because I selfishly enjoy your reviews. :)

    I've never worn Poison but always admired it on others, so I swapped for a bottle on MUA not long ago. There is a horrid grape Koolade note on me that I really can't stand. Maybe it's been reformulated?

    By Blogger rosarita, at 10:29 AM  

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