Do you adore any awful perfume? Of course, if you like it the perfume isn’t awful to you. But do you love any fragrances that are generally regarded as terrible? It’s confession time.
I don’t mean cheap fragrances. Coty Sand & Sable, Dana Tabu, and Revlon Jean Naté, regardless of their packaging, are all completely respectable in my mind. Heck, it’s even chic to have favorites from Walgreen’s. Some people — probably the same who loudly boast they had pigs in a (likely gluten-free) blanket last night or who seek out hipster-renovated trailer parks on vacation — give a fragrance a few extra points for being both old school and down-market. No, I mean perfume that the average perfumista crinkles her nose at.
I’ll admit mine: Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut. It has garnered the fewest comments of any review I’ve written, and I think it’s because readers have been too kind to tell me I’m out of my mind. Perfumes: the Guide describes Alamut as a “hideous oriental” (possibly the guide’s only use of “hideous”) and called it “a parody of a heavy-hitting oriental,” “dense as lead,” and hints that its use in warfare would be crueler than the weapons of mass destruction already employed.
And yet I love it. Is it dense? You bet! It’s an avalanche of animalic powder and wood with tuberose smashed in there somewhere. When I want something smotheringly warm, something that smells like a plump, powdered auntie swaddled in a moth-eaten fur coat serving me English muffins drowning in Gold ‘n Soft margarine — and it turns out I do feel that way from time to time — Alamut is where I turn.
Sure, Alamut and I fell out for about a year. I figured my taste must have finally matured, and I was panicked I wasn’t ever going to be able to unload my bottle. But last week I dug it out of the back of the perfume cabinet, spritzed myself down, and went to bed with a smile on my face. No apologies from me. Nope.
So, I’ve laid it out there. Time for you now. Is your taste reliably sound, or do you sneak your bottle of Disney Hannah Montana out from under the bed on hot August nights? Do you tell people you only bought that bottle of Nicki Minaj Pink Friday because it’s so tacky, but secretly you can’t get enough? Have you decanted your Prince Matchabelli Sexiest Musk into an old Shalimar bottle so a visiting perfume lover wouldn’t raise her eyebrows? Speak up!
Note: top image is Prise d’Alamût via Wikimedia.