Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ode to scent

I want to be intoxicated by your scent.  With each inhalation, I want to be further entranced. I want to breath you in deeply and for each breath to feel new.  I want to be taken back to relive memories of experiences and times I am not yet ready to give up. I want to smell you on my pillow.  To wrap my body in sheets in which you linger.  I want to live in a cloud of you…

This is how I choose a scent.  Not by a name or a famous figurehead but by the feelings and memories a fragrance evokes.  By the way it makes me feel wearing it. 

For me, the length of each scent affair varies based on my mood.  Some last for a short period of time, perhaps not completing a bottle.  Others will last longer, two refills or more.  Then I change.  The power the scent held over me is gone.  I like to leave a small bit in the bottle to sniff and remember fondly the way my life, the way I, was when I wore it.

My current obsession is Versace Bright Crystal.  Its scent first captured me from the pages of a magazine.  With each subsequent sampling, each time I reach to toss my hair pulling my wrist near my nose, it locks me in tighter.  It is described as being,

            A mixture of Donatella Versace’s favorite floral fragrances…a fresh, sensual blend of
              refreshing chilled yuzu and pomegranate mingled with soothing blossoms of peony,          
              magnolia, and lotus flower, warmed with notes of musk and amber.
              Notes: Iced Accord, Yazu, Pomegranate, Peony, Magnolia, Lotus Flower,               
              Acajou, Vegetal Amber, Musk.
              Style: Sheer. Sensual. Luminous.

All of those things sound lovely and while I don’t know what yuzu or acajou are exactly, I could believe it is a mixture of all of these favorites.  For me it is fresh and new, clean and exciting, and yet there are warm undertones that wrap me in memories of travel.  I recall flower markets, museums, and late nights arm-in-arm on cobblestone streets.  Travel companions bringing both adventure and protection.  This involvement with Bright Crystal is new and exciting, familiar, and captivating.

Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne, for several bottles, has been my go to fragrance. 

            The essence of a woman who is incredibly free—she is not from Paris, but Paris
              adopts her. She knows how to love, how to live. Parisienne is the fragrance of ultra
              femininity and sensuality, built with notes of blackberry, damask rose, and
              sandalwood. The grand floral with a woody structure is luminous even in its mystery.

I like to think Paris would adopt me but this description is an afterthought.  It was the sweetness, addictive like a blackberry cobbler, which attracted me.  The gentle rose notes that remind me of my grandmother’s dressing table and how proper ladies should smell.  The light sweetness in a spritz of Parisienne has always been invigorating.  Applying it late in the day made me feel refreshed and awake.  It still pleases me but seems to lack the depth, perhaps the musk, to match my current sultry tone.   Who knows, I may return to Parisienne in the future.

There was a brief tryst with Ralph Lauren’s Notorious. 

            This glamorous and provocative fragrance was created for a woman who commands
              attention. The intrigue and mystery of a heroine from a’ film noir’ are captured in this
              blend of deep black currant, decadent chocolate, and sensual patchouli musk.               

Filled with so many delights.  It was beguiling but such power was overwhelming for a daily dose.  It was attractive in its decadence, but lacking the needed lightness to match my current mood.  There is not much playfulness in a rendevous with Notorious.

A short enrapture with Lanvin’s Eclat de Arpege filled a spring and summer. 

            Lanvin Arpège, a feminine masterpiece created in 1927, named for its similarity to an
              arpeggio—a cascade of successive notes. Éclat d’Arpège, drawing inspiration from the
              original, reflects the spontaneity of a modern woman.

              Notes: lemon leaves, lilac, osmanthus, peach blossom, peony, wisteria, tea,  
              cedarwood, amber, musks.

A season and smell that is notable in its bright adventure.  Light and pleasant, a good time, yet I have few words.  With so many accents, perhaps I have few words because I cannot seem to pronounce them.  Perhaps comments about this time are better kept silent.  Eclat de Arpege’s classic lightness, with few words, continues to stand the test of time.

While cleaning I recently encountered an old lotion scented with Davidoff’s cool water in the back of my closet. 
            Embrace the aromatic blend of refreshing, yet powerful, aquatic notes. A swell of
              lavender gives way to a sweeping wave of menthe. Wade into the scent of
              sandalwood as the aroma of an iris bubbles to the surface, breaking into a flow of
              musk. Flood the senses with the intense force of the iconic composition—a mystical
              alchemy arising from the sea.             

Oh to be taken back in time with such a memorable scent.  For some to the sea, I was transported to the teenage angst I felt during the years it was my signature.  During that time I maintained a sportier aesthetic, followed more than led, and felt slightly unsure.  The lotion made me feel a little unsettled as I put it to use, eager to return to my more sultry and complex current scent selections. 

A more comfortable flashback ensued in using the remnants of a lotion scented with Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. 

            Sarah Jessica Parker blends a scent of pure innocence with the exotic nature of a
              precious oil and the sophistication of a fine perfume. Lavender, orchid and amber
              mingle with apple martini, paper whites and musk. The result, Sarah Jessica Parker's
              casual glamour fashioned into a fragrance.

I felt confident and unsatisfied remembering my first years in the workforce.  This time in my life was full of potential.  I was self-assured and hungry.  I remember slinky lingerie tops and colorful broaches popular at the time. Sparkling late night dancing and unrequited love seasoned the moment.  Lovely, like Notorious, does well on cool evenings to cloak and warm the body.  Lovely provided a lovely foray down memory lane.

In search of a simpler time I once spent an hour trying to find a new scent that wafted past and reminded me of my mother dressing for an evening out.  She wore Liz Claibourn, something no longer made.  It came in a red triangle.  I never found the current scent that caused this recollection.  Perhaps it was a combination of a few, or a memory of the time so vivid it smelled real.  The closest I came to finding this elusive smell was its description,

            Signature Liz Claiborne perfume was released in 1986 in a floral rhythm.  It captures
              with carnation, lily, freesia, mandarin, marigold, green notes, bergamot and peach at
              the top, followed by a floral wave of jasmine, narcissus, rose, ylang-ylang, lilac,
              tuberose, lily-of-the-valley and violet at the heart. Base notes include warm
              sandalwood, amber, oakmoss and musk. The bottle is Pierre Dinand’s creation.”            

Many words but still incapable of completing the memory.  Some times can only be remembered.

The power of scent is strong and different for each person.  Pheromones of the wearer transform each scent into a signature that can be used to identify and bond.  While scents can be common and familiar to all, when attached to emotions and experiences, the same scent can have a completely different effect for each person.  This strength is primal and important.

I want to live times going forward in a swirling cloud of deliciousness that lingers and expresses my power.  I want to catch a whiff in the future and remember how I feel today.   Scent transcends time and place, enraptures and inspires, helps to escape and recover.  The possibilities are endless.

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