It is with great pleasure that I’m writing again after a break and am back with another episode of Mood Scent 4 with I Scent You A Day, L’Esperessence and A Bottled Rose. In this series we scent moods and occasions or write about perfumes on whatever topic we desire. Today we’re focusing on Perfumes That Work For Everyone Else But You.
Now let’s be clear that here that with the exception of my mention of Chanel No 5 I’m mostly talking about people who are passionate about perfume, enthusiasts and niche nerds. Let’s face it you’re probably reading this because you’re one yourself. You probably seek information on the wild web – blogs, Instagram and YouTube. So I imagine we are all making a few judgements here about what people like and don’t like but well that’s the fun of it.
So let’s get into it …
Chanel No 5 EDP / Chanel / Perfumer : Ernest Beaux / 1921 / Notes / Top : Neroli, ylang-ylang, peach, bergamot, aldehyde / Heart : Jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris / Base : Vetiver, sandalwood, moss, vanilla and patchouli (from Fragrantica)
THE classic Chanel fragrance and the one that is synonymous with the brand. Can you believe it is still selling after nearly a century? Well we know that it isn’t exactly the same scent it was when created. Chanel ensure that the winning formula is altered for current tastes and to conform with regulations.
Much to my dismay, this perfume has never suited me and perhaps I’m still scarred from drinking some of my mother’s liquid when I was a tot. I’m not immune to the classic appeal, and would very much like some of the Parisian elegance to rub off on my comportment, yet it’s not to be. The scent for a start has aldehydes that can be tricky but I think that it’s the promise of finesse and refinement that eludes me. While the florals are perfectly smooth and everything is seamlessly blended, it just doesn’t deliver for me. I prefer No 5 L’Eau that feels like a younger sister to the more matronly No 5. Vintage perfume connoisseurs have told me though that the only version to try is the Parfum as the other concentrations (EDP and EDT) are just not really up to scratch these days.
Chanel make memorable advertisements for their iconic fragrance, and in particular Brad Pitt’s unforgettable moment. Let’s revisit that moment one more time.
If you had to peg me with a Chanel perfume in the regular range it would be Coco, the oriental in the line. To be fair, the current version of this fragrance also smells nothing like the original. Where’s the volume and swagger? I still remember someone I used to work with who doused herself in Coco and we could all smell her way before she entered the room. It’s rather tame today, but nevertheless I still enjoy it.
Anyway back to No 5, Marilyn Monroe and countless other women throughout history have worn this perfume and fallen for the aldehydes, smooth florals and warm base and have no doubt carried it superbly. I am just not one of those women. I do wonder what Chanel is planning for the centenary though.
Mitsouko / Guerlain / Perfumer : Jacques Guerlain / 1919 / Notes / Top : Citruses, jasmine, bergamot, rose / Heart : Lilac, peach, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose / Base : Spices, amber, cinnamon, vetiver, oakmoss (from Fragrantica)
I know Mitsouko is revered by perfume connoisseurs and is considered one of the chypre classics and while I do understand that, I confess that this perfume doesn’t move me. It smells very musty and that unfortunately is a deal breaker, plus there’s no peach in there that I can detect. I do like fruity perfumes so at least I thought that would be an interesting facet. Again I assume that there are some great vintage versions but I won’t be tracking them down anytime soon.
Now another Guerlain oldie is Shalimar and I understand its appeal. It completely wowed me upon first sniff. It’s an incredible Queen Bee perfume. However I know that it does absolutely nothing for many. It smells so old, they say, not understanding the power and sex appeal of this seductive perfume. So I hopefully won’t annoy Guerlain fans too much as I do have a classic Guerlain to love, it’s just not Mitsy.
Muscs Koublai Khan / Serge Lutens / Perfumer : Christopher Sheldrake / 1998 / Notes : Civet, castoreum, cistus labdanum, ambergris, Moroccan rose, cumin, ambrette seed, costus root, patchouli (from Fragrantica)
I will preface this entry by saying that Muscs Koublai Khan is a perfume that many niche nerds may like but it’s unlikely that the general population will warm to it in droves. I did own this skanky classic once upon a time a couple of years back when I was early in my ‘obsessive’ perfume phase and stumbled across it at a reduced price along with Tuberéuse Criminelle. The imagery is mysterious and doesn’t really talk to its rather pungent nature. Described on Luten’s website as
Evocative of China and its splendour during the reign of the legendary Kublai Khan, this tribute to China, with echoes of gold, lacquer work and Khanbaliq smoking dens, reveals its silky outer layer in a multitude of singular stages.
I will admit that in my desperation to acquire as many Lutens perfumes as possible in my manic perfume phase, and with its lusty reputation I was particularly eager to own a bottle of it. I don’t even think there was a tester I just bought it because I was sure it would be a love. However … the love just never arrived. I forced myself to wear it in the beginning thinking there was something wrong with me and that I would fall for its depth and musky madness if I just kept on spraying, and that Khal Drogo would be conjured in (unfortunately only) a bottle. However that was a fool’s game.
The perfume smelt like musk and rose but not that exciting. More cuddly than bodice ripper. Then a strange thing happened. I started to notice costus (ie the scent of unwashed hair) and that my friends was a deal breaker as I could not unsmell it. So it was sold on eBay and that was that! Au revoir stinky hair.
Let me know which perfumes work for everyone else but you.
Notes // Photos // Featured – Pixabay // Mitsouko – Pinterest // Khal Drogo – Game of Thrones website.