The Meaning of Perfume

1960s Peugeot advertA few weeks ago I was on the back deck of my father's house in Montana, tapping out a review of Dana Tabu on my laptop when my father leaned up against the deck's handrail. He still wore tall rubber boots from mucking out the horses' stalls and he held leather work gloves in one hand. "So, you're writing something about perfume?" he said.

My father used Old Spice soap on a rope, and although he didn't know it, his Oil of Olay sunscreen smelled like roses, but otherwise perfume was a foreign concept to him. When I told him that, yes, I tried to write something every week about perfume, he said, "Have I ever told you about that Peugeot I used to have?"

I was surprised. My dad has always driven big, usually old, pickup trucks. Right now he has an early '90s diesel Chevy. "Well," my father said, "In the early '60s, mom and dad drove me and Gerry" — Gerry is my uncle — "to San Francisco to pick up a couple of used cars. Gerry got a German car, and I got a Peugeot. That was a great little car — got 28 miles to the gallon. Never broke down. A French lady had owned it, and she'd spilled a bottle of perfume in the glove compartment. For five years, whenever I opened the glove compartment it sure smelled good."

My father had a happy, faraway look. For him, perfume symbolized youth and a time full of possibility. (When I asked him what happened to the Peugeot, he said that Gerry had wrecked his own car by running into a cow. "Completely totaled it. The cow was pregnant, too, so the insurance company had to pay out for two cows." Gerry then borrowed my father's Peugeot, and when he bent down for a second while driving, he swerved and took out a row of mailboxes. Then began the string of pickup trucks.)

On the other hand, when an activist friend found out that I like perfume, she said, "'Perfume is bondage!' That's what we used to say." For her, at least at one time, probably during Janis Joplin’s heyday, perfume was something that women wore to attract men, so it symbolized dependence. (Considering some of the skanky vintage Miss Dior and hyper-mossy Parfumerie Generale Corps et Ames I wear these days, perfume in my case could mean independence from people altogether.)

Both of these stories made me think about what perfume — not individual fragrances, but perfume as a whole — means to me. I'm still working it out, but for me perfume is about glamour, art, comfort, beauty, and luxury. It's about the pleasure of holding a beautiful bottle, and the ritual of dabbing the stopper on my wrists and neck.

More precisely, it's about defining myself each time that I reach for that bottle of Caron Farnesiana or Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman or Guerlain Nahéma. Perfume, then, is how I tell myself what I am, or want to be.

Note: image via Eugenio's Peugeot 404 website.

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96 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful article to read!
    I agree, perfume is many different things to many people. For me, at least at the moment, it is a form of art, and a method of comfort. But heaven knows how I will feel about it 5-10 years from now :]

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous article. And I will be dreaming the rest of the week about what that fragrance was that the french woman spilled in that glove box.

    And what modern day fragrance is sold in a beautiful bottle that can be dabbed and not sprayed? Where have all the parfum extraits gone? I can only think of Onda, Rubj and Kiki. And when are those coming to the states damnit!??!

  3. Anonymous says:

    P, Thank you! I love the challenge of perfume, too, about how it's teaching me to smell and how perfume can complement music, color, pattern, and things like that. But, as you say, who knows about the future….

  4. Anonymous says:

    K, Of course I asked my father what perfume it was, and of course he had no clue. I wish I could see a picture of the car and the French woman who owned it.

    It seems like the only extraits I see these days are the old Guerlains, Chanels, and Carons, although I know more are out there. Everything new seems to be an EdT or EdP.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Angela, Thank you for a lovely, thought provoking read. Although I've worn various perfumes for the past 25 years or so, it's just in the last year that I've really started getting passionate about scents – and reading blogs like this is mostly the reason!

    I realize I have more scents now that I mostly just wear at home, for myself, than I do for 'office' wear…and I shudder to think how much time I spend reading along and testing the different samples I've gotten because of something I've read here. I love having my old sentimental stand-by fragrances as well as all these fantastic new 'crushes'.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great story! The thought of you writing a piece on the deck of a house in Montana is very exotic to me!

    I am currently testing a mini of Ivoire de Balmain of unknown age and condition, and it smells not unlike a perfume that might have stained a leather car seat many years ago, if not a glove compartment. Does anyone know how Ivoire should smell – I am getting silage and saddles but was expecting a demure soapy floral!

  7. Anonymous says:

    R, isn't it fun to get to know perfume? The old loves and the new crushes are all wonderful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    V, it isn't a big ranch or anything, but rather a small house that is a log cabin with an addition all plastered with vinyl siding, adjacent to ten acres or so of pasture along the Yellowstone River. Not far is a tattoo parlor and a bath house offering “massages”. It's a strange mix of trashy and romantic.

    I remember Ivoire as a green metallic soapy floral and not particularly leathery.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The cow was pregnant, so the insurance company had to pay out for 2 cows.”

    I love this. Its very amusing.

    Great article. Would LOVE to know what perfume was spilled in the glove compartment.

    my comment verification is: newts.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a lovely post! There is a tendency among some people to doggedly reduce any form of beauty and adornment to one thing: Sexual attraction. Catching and keeping the approval and attentions of someone else. Making oneself into an object. Of course, there are people who use perfume in this way, but to assume that this is its only purpose, and that beauty for beauty's sake is impossible, is a very sad way to view the world, IMHO.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I know, I really want to know the perfume, too!

    “newts”–how funny!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you. Beauty for beauty's sake is completely legitimate. And beauty for your own enjoyment is even better.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I would love to know what perfume was in the glove box! Maybe it was a Caron…
    I was applying a spray of Rumba (and thanks again!), aimed poorly, and got it on the dresser scarf in the guest room, where the bottle is sitting for the time being. Every time I walk through the room I can smell it; it's lovely. It got me thinking: perfume is a ghost, a reminder that someone else has been here. (Even if, in this case, that someone else was me :-) ) When my sister-in-law stays, afterward the room smells of either Messe de Minuit or Mitsouko, depending. And I still take out my mother-in-law's vintage furs and inhale Chloe. It will make me sad when that smell finally departs, if it does.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Perfume does seem to be a ghost, and that kind of links back to perfume as a way to define who you are (at least at the moment). As you say, it reminds you of your sister in law and mother in law. “Perfume as a ghost” is a much more lovely way to say it, though!

    Can you imagine emptying a bottle of Rumba in a glove compartment? Whew! The windows would need to be down for quite a while….

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to guess that the spillage occurred sometime between 1960 and 1963. Maybe it was Diorissimo, and my dad was smelling lilies of the valley, or maybe Chanel No. 5….

  16. Anonymous says:

    Perfume…it just makes me feel better when I'm wearing perfume. Such a simple way to enhance your enjoyment of just…being. Thanks for a thought provoking article.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Since I couldn't get to Montana this summer, your post is the next best thing. I was all set to go to Billings to see my daughter while she was living there, but her old car broke down (no cows involved) and I ended up paying for the repairs instead of buying myself a plane ticket.

    Perfume for me is a couple of things, ghosts and memories among them. I think I first got seriously interested in scent when I discovered that the smell of balm of gilead poplar would immediately trigger mind travel to my grandparents' farm in northern Maine forty years ago. Since I've gotten interested in perfume, I've found that perfume triggers some more immediate emotional responses. Lostmarc'h Lan-Ael, for instance, induces an instant state of comfort and security, although I have no positive associations at all with the Fruit Loops most people think it smells like. (Actually, I think Fruit Loops are a bit alarming,)

    And of course, there is the fantasy aspect of it, too, I'm not much interested in the glamour part of that, but the (arguably) tasteful anonymity of wearing something like 24 Faubourg on an Upper East Side NYC shopping expedition feels like it provides a veil of invisibility. Anyone who has read Harry Potter knows that such a thing provides great possibilities for observation and adventure. Other perfume-induced fantasies can extend to my imagining myself in places I've never been, like the Morocco that exists in my mind thanks to Serge Lutens and Andy Tauer.

    And that sometimes perfume just smells achingly beautiful all by itself is probably the best thing of all.

  18. Anonymous says:

    So, perfume is about feeling good. I like that!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful!

    I love the smell of “bam” trees, too–only here it's the sweet, wet smell of cottonwoods. I also get the “cloak of invisibility” aspect of some perfumes.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Angela you lead such a interesting life! It could almost be a mystery story. Those citroens had that wonderful adjustment for high water or whatever. I'm sure your dad would remember. You just pushed a button and the car would go higher or lower according to need.

    My father wore “Mitsouko” because, as he said, so did Chaplin. It smelled better on him than me.

    As for that remark that perfume is bondage – does anyone see a correlation to the amount of “upkeep surgery” and skin care for us that were at the mercy of that misleading philosophy of feminism that was shoved onto us at such a tender age? Elizabeth Arden was a feminist in her own right, Helena Rubenstein as well. My response to that comment is what I've always said about such things: ” Yes and cow poopy is natural, but I would not wear it as perfume”. Wear your Dior proudly!

  21. Anonymous says:

    They should be arriving at Luckyscent in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I have read this blog for some time now but never felt compelled to comment. After reading this wonder~I must. Angela, you have a gift for the pen and I have caught myself daydreaming of cowboys, french women and perfume for hours. Completely out of character for myself and I knew I could not continue my day until I told you how much I enjoyed your post. Your father must be proud as I hope you are. Take care and keep writing! Warm Regards, Yvonne

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hurray! I have a few drops of Onda that I cherish, but it's nice to know more is available.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And I do wear my Dior proudly! I love it.

    I love the idea of a button that raises cars to go through puddles but lets them be sleek and low for speed on the highway. I wish I had a Citroen De(accent mark here)esse.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Angela, I have a gut feeling it was Vol de Nuit in the glove compartment! And she'd thrown it there after a huge fight with her Italian lover, crossed the border back into France in the dead of night, clad only in a filmy black negligee and mariboo-trimmed mules. In her rush to escape, and her emotions driving her to a fever pitch, she'd slammed the bottle in the glove box with the fury of a woman scorned.

    It wasn't her bottle of Vol de Nuit. It was the Other Woman's, carelessly (or perhaps on purpose; we'll never know) left on the dressing table. She'd noticed it just as he was pouring her a nightcap of grappa and loosening his tie. . .

  26. Anonymous says:

    Angela, lovely article.

    It's so true about old loves and new crushes…. Perfume is such fun!

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is!

  28. Anonymous says:

    …and with the scent of Vol de Nuit now permeating every corner of the car, she knew she had to sell it. She could never drive this car again.

    Toward dawn, she abandoned the Peugeot on the outskirts of Marseilles and walked proudly down the quiet, two-lane road, the summer wind whirling her negligee about her legs. “I walk to my destiny, whatever it may be,” she whispered, unaware that her destiny was the handsome, muscular farm boy leaning on his pitchfork in the nearby olive orchard.

    The Peugeot's destiny was to be shipped to San Fransisco and driven by a teenaged country boy, who for years would bel vaguely in love with the woman he only knew by her scent.

  29. Anonymous says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!! Thanks for finishing the story so beautifully. I hope you share it with your dad, who sounds like a sweet guy. . .

  30. Anonymous says:

    Robin- enjoyed your article. For me Perfume is a lingua franca, it is life journey, my heritage ( all women on mom's side love orris) , markers of desire and memories, (how he smelled the first night etc…) a moment of absolute obsession( how I felt when I bought heure exquise in 1984) , the smell of my best friend ( osmanthus yunnan) , of heartbreak ( as much as I love apres londee I can't bear to smell it, Iwas wearing it when I miscarried) and my future (which new scent will bewitch me tomorow ). Every thought, ambition, interaction is related in someway to fragance. Even anger and betrayal (like the word ompur in a press release, images of a black limo and black caviar for a flanker that smells like coconut and rum or an ad of a model I have seen a million times pitching watches or diamonds and now perfume).

    It is life, and the genie is out of the bottle and always a surprise.

    – memechose

  31. Anonymous says:

    How beautiful! I love thinking of perfume as “the genie” in the bottle.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Ack! Of course I can't edit these darn comments. Looking back, I see I should have said “abandoned” not “sell” the car, cleaned up at least one typo, perhaps axed an adjective or two…

  33. Anonymous says:

    This is a lovely article, with equally lovely responses!

    I 'fell' into perfume by way of childhood… first with my mother's L'air Du Temp and occasional N. 5, and then with the heady fragrance of orange blossoms in bloom. I am actually more drawn to scents found in nature and 'the real world' rather than perfume, but the sense of smell is one that is vitally important to me.

    There are days (I work in perfume) that I go home scratching my head at the sheer volume of perfume (and related products) that has sold that day. My modest sales range anywhere between $700-2500 daily, with the average being around $1400. When holidays are in full swing and I've had $4000. days in sales, I have to stop and wonder about the attraction… somedays I just am not able to process it despite my own love/obession with it. lol

    But perfume – to me as a woman, and not professionally speaking – symbolizes beauty, sensuality, comfort, and the most important accessory.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I've never thought about how working in perfume would change a perfume lover's feeling about perfume, but I can sure see that it might!

    Perfume is definitely the most important accessory–I agree.

  35. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful read! I thought for a few moments about what perfume means to me and realized that I could probably write an essay. Between the various blogs, fragrance boards and email buddies, I probably now read about, think about, write about and obsess about perfume more than any other topic. But the spinoff topics are so rich and varied. Perfume composition and musical composition. Animalic fragrances and their Freudian connotations. Scent, memory and cognition. Add to that the aesthetic pleasures of the fragrances, the beauty of the bottles, the thrill of a wonderful vintage find. What's not to love?

  36. Anonymous says:

    You're right–at least an essay if not a whole encyclopedia could be written about what perfume means to a person!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Fabulous article, Angela. But truly, do you really think Corps et Ames chases people off?

  38. Anonymous says:

    It only chases off mean people, people who chew with their mouth open, and people without much taste in perfume.

  39. Anonymous says:

    To me, perfume is a way to express myself. It says more about who I am than my clothes sometimes. It is the whole aura you carry around you that speaks so many things. I start my day thinking which perfume to wear and what a way to enjoy life.

    You're so gifted with your words and nose, Angela!

  40. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like we think about perfume a lot alike, especially the part about using it to express ourselves. I like how you describe it as an “aura”, too.

  41. Anonymous says:

    It's true. It's about self-expression — and, for me, sharing something beautiful created by an artist. When I wear something by Andy Tauer, for instance, I think of Andy in Switzerland, such a sweet genius, and how the air around me here in Vancouver smells of an aura he created.

    It's also, for me, as many have said, just a great way to put the day into focus. I think about the fragrance I'm going to wear first thing in the morning, and it's so much fun to make it “work” with what I'm wearing, or where I'm going, or whom I'm meeting, or the weather, or my mood, or the music that's playing. . .It's so creative — and EASY!! Just pick up the bottle, spray/dab, and you've done it beautifully. Clothes get dirty, buttons pop off, shoes pinch and need new heels, but fragrance is a snap!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Angela, I briefly touched on “Xanadu” that Faberge scent of the late '60 early '70's. I snagged a bottle of it supposedly never opened (yes, it did still have the seal in place). I opened it and nearly 40 yrs later it still smells roughly the same. No clue where this was for all that time, but I did feel like a tomb raider!

    I've put it on little cotton balls around the house so I can enjoy my memories.

    I love your site and writing. A cyber salon of perfume mavens.

    Thank you.

  43. Anonymous says:

    To me perfume is like a candied cherry – always on top, nothing seems to be the same without it. If my wardrobe, my shoes, my jewelry, my everything a woman can have, is the cake – then only my perfume can be the sweet, deliscious cherry. Fragrance is a way to express myself, it's a way of living – I love aromatic things, exotic teas, beautiful candles, amazing bath produtcs… and my precious perfumes, of course. Perfume is an art, it reminds me of another beautiful art – which is music, of course. Perfume can be more classy, more modern, it has it's own rhythm and it's own notes.

  44. Anonymous says:

    And what more could one ask for from one's perfume? It is now officially my signature scent.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Heh. I have several bottles of stuff I really, really would hate to spill. I almost dropped my open bottle of CB Musk absolute on my wood floor in my closet. And I ended up tearing the laundry room apart looking for what smelled like a dead mouse, and instead found my missing atomizer of Borneo. Yep, to my nose Borneo = dead mouse.

  46. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful article! I have to agree that for me, too, perfume is about who I am in this particular moment — or who I want to be. I think about the fragrances I've been through in this week alone, LOL … sometimes three a day! I guess I have a lot of “selves.” Also, perfume provides that “personal layer” to whatever my garb for the day is. Yesterday I wasn't crazy about what I was wearing … except for my perfume.

    Looove your writing! Thanks for the article.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Perfume is an easy was to express yourself, but it's rewarding since you can spend time smelling different scents, learning about them, and appreciating them, and then they can express so much more.

  48. Anonymous says:

    It would be really interesting to compare different types of perfume to different types of music sometime. I wore Sublime today, and it felt like a teenaged soprano to me–innocent, smooth, and high-pitched.

  49. Anonymous says:

    How wonderful to have cotton balls of scent here and there to smell! It can be so interesting to smell something you haven't smelled for years. Hopefully all the memories that go with it are good.

    Thank you for the compliment, and we both have Robin to thank for the site–it's amazing the work and thought she puts into it.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I love it, too. I don't know why it's not more popular (too many open-mouthed chewers out there, I suppose).

  51. Anonymous says:

    I can imagine the dead mouse/Borneo mistake. But in the laundry room? I'd probably confuse it with a teenage boy's dirty gym sock.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Perfume absolutely is about telling yourself what you are. Through perfume, I also discover hidden aspects of myself. When I fell in love with incense, or was taken with a bottle of classic Mitsouko, I had to ask myself why. Doing so was a surprising (if not the largest) process of self discovery.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Great idea for a column, Angela! You could pick the music, and we'd all weigh in with scents that shared the same vibe.

    Let's see: Eric Satie's Gymnopedie (that melancholy piano piece) and Frederic Malle's Angelique Sous la Pluie. . .anything by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and BPAL's Lust. . .the possibilites are endless!

  54. Anonymous says:

    I have a lot of “selves”, too! If each one of my bottles and decants is another self, then I can put Sybil to shame any day.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I just loved reading this article and everyone's thoughtful, well-expressed comments about the personal significance of perfume. There's not much I can add, partly because I'm mentally exhausted from a long, hard work week. Certain fragrances that I love seem to help me keep going at times like this. A quick sniff of the wrist gives me a little lift whenever I want it. Personal fragrance is a portable pleasure!

  56. Anonymous says:

    They are! It would be a good party game.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I love your observation about discovering new aspects of yourself through perfume. Mitsouko could be a huge teacher.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I hope you're able to relax a little after your hard week. Maybe a little s-perfume 100% love or Des Lys can help you unwind…that or a stiff martini.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Angela. GREAT idea! I think I just might indulge in that third option tomorrow evening. Feeling better already. G'night! :-)

  60. Anonymous says:

    So introspective AngelaS., It's an evocative introspection. Thank you so much! : )

    Since being on a fixed income and having my non-aspirating relatives look at each scrent as a waste, this post has made me evaluate my addiction.

    But I can't live without fragrance.

    Reasons: This is who I am today. This one here is the women of your dreams. This one makes me feel happy, and it's just for me. This one I wear when I need to be confident and professional. But this one…is who I am on the inside, my signature scent. Who is a kind, lacy underwear wearing tomboy, wildlife officer; who is very stong emotionally and yet aching for tenderness and yet secretly wants to fall into some white knight's strong tender embrace, who won't let go…never ever.

    Fragrance to me, is who I want to be, it reminds me to smell hope. It reminds me to take care of this girly, empathetic bohemian who picks wildflower bouquets and who takes spiders and others outside- But then there's this soft fragile me.

    I think fragrance are a reflection of who you are, where have you've been, and who you're becoming. It is a small token of acceptale self-love. If you do not love yourself first, who will you be able to give love too?

    I believe we are very sensuous human beings and perfume shed's a bit of light on our best self.

    joy,

    Becca

  61. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to you both for such fun!

  62. Anonymous says:

    I would feel naked without at least fragranced lotion on every day. I can go without makeup, without jewelry, but the only time I go without fragrance is when I am going out to test some! I applied at a no-fragrance place once for a job and was horrified at the idea. I don't even remember a time in my life after age 11 or so where I didn't have perfume. It's just part of my being.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Super post Angela! I don't have much time now but will read all the comments later. MarianneW is the same person as marianne winia.

    xoxo.

  64. Anonymous says:

    i apologize Angela. I saw this on twitter and did not read your byline. You are a wonderful writer!!! So evocative and like Proust … remmeberence of things past, assoications with smell are most memorable.

  65. Anonymous says:

    That is so true about personal fragrance being a “portable pleasure”. I sniff my wrists repeatedly through the day (circumstances permitting) – I usually have 4-6 things on the go at any time (in olfactorily discrete areas of arm/hand!) so there is lots to dip into. My other half constantly tells me to stop sniffing as he says I look deranged.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, Angela. Please thank you dad for sharing with you, so you could bring this story to us.

    I too am intrigued by why we experiment with scent, and the interplay between trying to find scents which best express ourselves and finding scents which help us discover things about ourselves.

  67. Anonymous says:

    You're welcome!

  68. Anonymous says:

    So true! I really like your last sentence, too, about how perfume can shed light on our best self.

    Wildlife officer? Now that sounds exciting.

  69. Anonymous says:

    You're welcome!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Oh gosh, you don't need to apologize. I'm always happy to be confused with Robin.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! I'll keep track of you W or Winia or whatever.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Yikes! I can't imagine working in a no-fragrance place, either!

  73. Anonymous says:

    I've often wondered what other people think, too, as I sneak a whiff of the inside of my elbow or wrist. Oh well.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I will thank my dad. He isn't very internet savvy, but I can probably get my niece to show him to the site.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I often think of my perfumes as muses: contemplating their beauty and power often leads me to make connections to other subjects that I can explore in writing or art or even cooking. It's the case where a gorgeous work of art–the perfume–becomes the inspiration for further creativity.

    Reading that lovely little story that you and reader Robin spontaneously created in thinking about your father's Peugeot and the spilled perfume in the glove compartment, I am certain that perfume is a muse for many of us. Wonderful post, Angela!

  76. Anonymous says:

    Not in MY laundry room, babe. They're lucky they *get* to put their dirty laundry in there! I have a weird, fetishistic relationship with my laundry room. It's very Martha Stewart, with a wall of cabinets, hanger bars, a drying rack, a counter for gift wrapping, etc. The rest of the house may be a hovel, but my laundry room is perfect. :-P Sometimes I go in there just to hide.

    So that dead-mouse smell was decidedly out of place. Although now I keep my to-swap samples in there in a cabinet, so there is always a faint, wonderful whiff of fragrance depending on where you are standing.

  77. Anonymous says:

    A counter for gift wrapping! Do you have a mangle, too, like Martha does? Is the room painted Araucana blue?

  78. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, perfume as a muse. What a great insight! Today I will muse on Fleurs de Rocailles.

  79. Anonymous says:

    Coincidentally, after reading this post I read a review for a documentary about a Brazilian singer, Maria Bethania, called “Music is Perfume” (http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/08/29/movies/29yous.html?8mu&emc=mua1). An appropriate idea, and the reverse is true as well – perfume is music. Both are art forms that fill the atmosphere around us and enhance it. Music gives structure to sound, and perfume gives structure to scent. The creativity that gives them structure enhances our experience of both.

  80. Anonymous says:

    I'm supposed to work in a “Frag Free” environment, but I bend the rules.

    I'm just not me without a little scent. If someone were to have respiratory shut down, that's be another matter but I wear it discreetly.

    THe day is much more pleasant and cheerful with scent!

  81. Anonymous says:

    In the light of this, you might wish to consider changing your name to “starchlion”. : )

  82. Anonymous says:

    Whew! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who “sniffs” in public.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Fascinating! I must see that movie.

  84. Anonymous says:

    I would do the same thing and hope that one of the very rare people who truly is sensitive to scent doesn't work there. I think that “fragrance free” really means “don't drown yourself in it”.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, her torn heart aching, our woman in black silk took the first train to Paris. She knew no one there, and needed more than anything to be alone with her confusion and pain.

    She trudged through the dark, narrow streets of the Ninth Arrondisement, her dark hair wet now with rain, heard the melancholy notes of Eric Satie coming from an open door, and found herself, as in a dream, walking into the soft light of a small bistro. She ordered a glass of cognac, and her full lips trembled as they touched the glass. She closed her eyes. The liquid went down hot and fiercely needed.

    As she slowly opened her eyes again, the potent swallow already warming her heart, she caught the scent of something so familiar, so comfortingly real, she was suddenly transported to another bistro she'd known as a much younger woman, back in the days of her wild and trusting innocence in the south of France. She remembered the man she loved when she wore the same fragrance. It was unmistakeable. Sandalwood, animalic civet, petitgrain, Persian black narcissus, together more intoxicating than the cognac in her now-empty glass. Caron's Narcisse Noir. She would own it again, and come back to herself.

  86. Anonymous says:

    PBI, working in perfume definitely changes one's feeling about perfume. As far as I'm concerned, it destroyed some of its mystique.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Whew! Now I need some Narcisse Noir (and a cold shower!).

  88. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I've been called worse ;-P

  89. Anonymous says:

    No mangle, although I keep toying with a dropdown ironing board… and it's pale butter yellow although I love that blue, would be a great color. The laundry room is on the second floor and has a window with a really nice view of my gardening-fiend neighbor's yard. Right now there is a giant sunflower I can almost reach out and touch!

  90. Anonymous says:

    Sounds wonderful, it really does. Much better than my scary basement laundry area.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I believe 'smell' is the only sense humans have, to transport themselves in a far off place or time. Perfume for me means escape! Sometimes just a whiff is enough to take me to a magical place.

  92. Anonymous says:

    Feminité du Bois was available in parfum here last time I bought a bottle. My EdP bottle is still half full, but I might buy the parfum when I run out.

  93. Anonymous says:

    So true. Sometimes when I'm fed up, I'll take a sample vial of perfume out of my purse and sniff it, just to–as you say–go somewhere else.

  94. Anonymous says:

    Nice!

  95. Anonymous says:

    Angela, what a wonderful story! Of course, the very first thing I thought of too was; which perfume got spillled in the Peugeot's glovebox? I guess all perfumistas think alike! :-D

  96. Anonymous says:

    I wish I knew what the perfume was, too!

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