One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

30 Demeters in 30 Days: Day 24, Orange Cream Pop

Sometimes it's tempting to think that people don't just have different likes and dislikes regarding their sense of smell, but that their noses are wired in completely different ways--that they're practically different organs. Certainly people's brains must be wired in different ways.

A co-worker of mine, nearly as big a perfume fanatic as I am, despises sweet scents, particularly vanilla, which she likes in food, but hates in fragrances. She tends towards austere scents, and often wears unadorned patchouli oil (which smells perversely good on her, where on me it would smell like filth). Yesterday I brought to work Demeter's Incense and Holy Smoke, two variations on a theme, the main difference being that Incense smells like the resins and balsams before they've been ignited, and Holy Smoke, true to its name, smells like them after they've burned for a while.

It was easy to predict her interpretation of the scents. She thought Incense was interesting, but too sweet; her exact word was "girly". (It is sweet, but in a dark and brooding way; nothing girly about it.) She would, of course, never wear it. Holy Smoke, on the other hand, was very much to her taste. Her reaction was a simple, delighted "Oh!" as she brought her nose to her forearm again and again. It smells even more like a bonfire on her than it does on me (if that's even possible), but she didn't perceive the campfire qualities, or they weren't as important to her as the bitter myrrh-and-charcoal quality of Holy Smoke.

I gave it to her, of course. I have so many Demeters, and I probably wasn't going to get much wear out of this one, obviously not as much as she will. It strikes me as more of an academic exercise in converting an idea into a destination than a proper wearing scent, anyway.

I can well imagine her response to Orange Cream Pop: wrinkle up her nose, recoil in disgust, laugh at her own reaction. It is sweet, exactly what she thinks a scent shouldn't be. Of course it's sweet! It's a liquid Creamsicle! (The recipe on the bottle's label lists orange juice, but they're not fooling me. This is pure Creamsicle, all the way.)

All there is to the scent is bright synthetic orange and buckets of creamy-sherbety vanilla, and possibly, as the website promises, a hint of the wooden stick the real thing is wrapped around. The whole thing is very fake, very confected; it won't make you think of real oranges, that's for sure, but isn't that kind of the deal with cheap frozen confectionary anyway? It calls to mind Comptoir Sud Pacifique's long-discontinued Vanille Orange, only (I hate to say it, but it's true) rather less wonderful; but since you probably can't have that, this is not a bad substitute.

It doesn't last long (a faint orange-vanilla haze remains after about an hour), but what the hell--neither does a Creamsicle. At least this one won't make you fat if you overindulge.

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