Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Sweet Smell of...

Image result for perfumeMy sister is one of those people who always smells good. When she stays with me, her fragrance lingers in the guest room after she's gone. She loves perfume and knows about top notes and middle notes and all the other stuff that makes it sound like she should be talking about music. (She's also pretty fluent in French, so maybe to her it's parfum.)
Me, not so much. My French is remedial, and my knowledge of perfume is worse. I'll occasionally give myself a spritz of the one fragrance I have in my closet, but only when I'm feeling fancy. As I found out this week, though, perfume is a really interesting and complicated subject.

The first known perfumes date back to ancient times. A 3,000-year-old cuneiform tablet identifies a woman named Tapputi as the first recorded perfume maker. Perfumes never really fell out of favor in the the Arab world, but in Europe, the Dark Ages were dark times for perfume. Credit the French for getting the ball rolling again during the time of Louis XV. Perfume apparently came in handy for masking body odors, but putting it in wine, as the French did, was perhaps a step too far.

Every perfume is comprised of one of more of the eight basic categories: oriental, spicy, woody, floral, aquatic, green, fruity, and citrus. The bright top notes of a scent evaporate after a few minutes. The middle or heart notes last from four to six hours. The base notes emerge an hour or so after application and tend to evaporate more slowly.

Image result for perfume
Let me guess...citrus?
I decided that a week of perfume might be a nice upgrade for me, so I ordered a set of tester-sized designer scents I knew nothing about. Every morning, I tried a new one from the likes of Donna Karan, Michael Kors, and Cartier. Being a generally not-fancy person, I was surprised at how fun my perfume week was. A little spray in the morning gave my mood a boost on the way out the door--although I can't tell you whether any of the scents were woody or aquatic, just whether they smelled Good or Not Good. I tried to remember to sniff my wrists occasionally during the day to keep track of the developing heart notes, but usually I forgot. 

After seven days, I don't think I'm on my way to developing a perfume obsession on par with my sister's, but I'm not at all opposed to calling this one a Take It.


  1. I try to remember to use perfume occasionally. I tend to more in summer than winter (who has exposed skin in winter?), though, so it takes a number of weeks once we hit warmer weather for me to think about it. My parents bought me two small bottles of very expensive perfume from a French parfum factory when they were there. My favourites.

    Like you, I have no idea about scents (like and not like). Although I don't like the really heavy oriental or strong florals. The rest I have no clue about.

    1. Oh, now I wish I had some fancy French parfum! Maybe someday :-)