Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Scent of a Woman: An Introduction

No, not the film. I'm talking about fragrance.
As I have said many times, scent and fragrance is such a personal thing. It's also highly evocative, what other sense can take you back to a place, person or moment in your life? The sense of smell, is a very powerful gift that we quite often overlook.
 I never leave the house without perfume and will almost certainly be wearing some kind of scent, even if I am not setting foot over the door.  Its like getting dressed for me and my daily routine would be incomplete without selecting an appropriate fragrance to suit my mood.  And that is essentially what I do, I say to myself "how do I feel?" "what is happening today?" and make a selection based on my answers. Some days I need to be comforted, others I need an extra shot of confidence. And like any woman, there are times when I will use a scent to make myself feel sexy, not like that always works of course! But I try!! 
I don't subscribe to any particular kind of rules.  I don't keep certain fragrances for specific seasons, I just go with the flow and what I feel like wearing at any particular time.  I'm also fascinated by fragrance and it's reaction to individuals pheromones and skin. I think it's amazing that 2 people wearing the same perfume, can smell totally different. 
 A particular occasion when this occurred was a shopping trip with Parental Unit Number One (that's my Mother, to you).  We were mooching about the beauty counters in Debenhams when a particularly over zealous sales assistant  jumped into our path brandishing the latest offering from Christian Dior (which I believe was Hypnotic Poison). 
 The original Poison that most people will know and probably dislike, was a particular favourite of my Mum's back in the day. I remember, as a child, her coming to give me a kiss before she and Dad went out, enveloped in a cloud of Poison.  Its one of the scents that I still associate with her to this day, although her fragrance preferences have changed somewhat since then.  Anyway, we decided to break my  own rule and let the SA spray the perfume on our SKIN, yes skin, not a little card, our very own SKIN!!  Now, I know that would be the proper way to test a perfume, but I hate people randomly spraying scents on me.  I prefer to take a card and if I like it, on another occasion I will return and spray it on my skin.  But until that decision is made, back away from me lady and take that perfume bottle with you!!! This is probably something that I have learned as I have gotten older,   in this story, I was young and foolish teenager and eager to have Dior's latest offering to test.
  Unfortunately for my poor Mother, the fragrance smelt vile on her. Something akin to "eau de chippy", which was not in the least bit hypnotic, unless you fancied a take away that is. Mum was repulsed by how it reacted to her and asked to smell it on me.  Being a good daughter, I offered up my arm for her to sample.  Low and behold, it didn't smell horrendous on me.  This is a perfect example as to why you should test perfume yourself and why it can be such a minefield to give the gift of fragrance, unless you are 100% sure it is something that they already wear, or have mentioned that they like.
Whilst thinking about my obsession with perfume and searching about the subject on the internet I came across Marie Claire's Fragrance 101 which explains the intricacies of choosing a signature scent.  Fragrance families, tones and notes are all explained in a very logical way.  They also provide help in the form of a Fragrance Finder. If you are a total perfume novice, answer a few quick questions and they will suggest some fragrances for you to try.  I thought I might do this as a bit of fun.  I know what I like.. So I thought I would see what they came up with. 
 You can see the results below. And I have to say, they were pretty spot on!
You might like Oriental Fragrances
Fearless and slightly mysterious, you're drawn to things that are unique, luxurious, and sexy. You like to be in-the-know when it comes to trends, and you're always up for trying something new. This means you need a statement-making fragrance that is rich and instantly recognizable. The sensual notes in oriental scents like amber, patchouli, musk, and vanilla stand out because they're warm and rich. These fragrances are often mixed with bold flower scents like tuberose and jasmine, and can be enhanced with spices or sweetened with sugary notes


Burberry, Burberry Brit
Jean Paul Gaultier,  Classique
Armani, Armani Code for Women

I like and have owned all of these fragrances however, I do prefer JPG Classique and Armani Code to Burberry Brit.  
You might also like Woody Fragrances
You seem like the calm, nurturing type who makes others feel at ease. You have a self-confidence that's extremely attractive. Your boho-chic aesthetic is more glam than granola, and you always look great in an effortless way. This indicates that you might like a scent that's sexy yet earthy and unconventional. Classic woody fragrances are dominated by notes of cedar, patchouli, pine, sandalwood, and vetiver. Some newer versions are blended with exotic oriental notes, fresh citrus and lush green leaves, or feminine flowers.


Donna Karan Cashmere Mist
Clinique Aromatics Elixir
Estee Lauder Sensuous

I certainly agree with the second section of the analysis and have been pondering if I should purchase Sensuous, after I received a sample size and loved it!  I cant say that I have ever encountered Cashmere Mist, but I do like other DKNY perfumes and Aromatics Elixir is a scent that I can't make my mind up over, do I like it, or not?  Its something I go back to sniff in Boots or Debenhams and ultimately walk away from.  I'm still undecided, so the jury is out on that one!

What I can divulge, are the perfumes that are in my possession. I'll take you through my current perfume collection and tell you about the fragrances I love.  Feel free to jump in an make some recommendation's to me, if you think I am missing out on something fabulous and I shall hot foot it down to Boots for a sniff.  I've got a stack of Boots vouchers burning a hole in my handbag!!

 Where to begin? As Maria sings in the Sound of Music "lets start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start"  So I will start with my very own signature scent: Contradiction by Calvin Kline.

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