Saturday, August 23, 2008

Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Hello, dear reader. My name is Diana, I am a budding sniffa, and I have a problem.

In my early twenties there was a young man I hit it off with and went out with exactly four times. At the end of each outing, I’d think, “Why did I go out with him *again*? He’s nice, and he’s lovely to look out, and what a wonderful kisser, but we just don’t click!” Yet the next time he’d call, and I still wasn’t seeing anyone else seriously, I’d go again. Each time I’d think, “I’m sure if I just spend a little more time with him, we’re going to figure out why we are attracted to each other.” But we never did. And it wasn’t that we ever had a bad time so much as that we just never had a very good time that made it seem so dissatisfying, but even that dissatisfaction was tempered by our failure to connect. I could never get too worked up about him, one way or another.

Some scents are like that. There are fragrances I love from the moment I sniff them. Beautiful, rich, and dark. Light, clean and angular. Something in between, I just love them. It’s the olfactory equivalent of looking across a crowded room and falling, instantly, in love. Then there are perfumes I smell and I think, “Not if you paid me to smell like this would I wear it.” I am smart enough to know how much of love is about taste to try not to be overcritical of what is probably someone else’s love (though I am still overly harsh too frequently), but there are potential lovers you just know instantly are not for you, and sometimes those come in a pretty package and are adored by plenty of others.

No, my problem is that fragrance first date that goes well, but not well enough. I splash it on my skin and think, “Well, you’re sort of nice. Let’s see how it goes.” But then it just stays there. In cases where the fragrance is particularly well-liked or even lauded by more mature noses, I find myself feeling frustrated, mostly with myself. I wonder, “Everyone else sees how wonderful this is – why don’t I?” Yet, I just don’t. And I want to. Like that young man from years ago, I just keep saying yes because I cannot get why I seem to be the only one who cannot get into it.

I’ve been told by my personal Obi Wan Kenbo of perfumistas to just sit such perfumes aside and wait. In six months or a year, as my nose develops, she assures, I might feel differently. And perhaps that’s true.

The fragrance I am struggling with at the moment is L’Artisan’s Mûre et Musc. Mûre et Musc, released in 1978, is described as follows on Lucky Scent:
Fresh, lovely and a bit naughty. This groundbreaking blend of wild blackberries and clean musk has become a L’artisan classic. Since its creation in 1978, the enchanting fragrance of “Mûre et Musc” has never ceased to cast its spell. Those who have chosen it are so attached and faithful to its scent that it has remained one of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s all-time greats. Some, bemused by its powerful charm, have tried to imitate it, but none have succeeded. Elegant, playful, sexy.

Mûre et Musc notes: wild blackberry, musk, citrus.
Mûre et Musc is a lovely scent. Light, sweet, flowery…like a scent one catches on a breeze in a beautiful English garden. I imagine small children with ribbons flowing behind running across manicured lawns with lush flowers beds on warm summer days, fingers sticky and mouths stained purple with blackberries. I see those little girls crowned with laurels made of flowers on green woody stems. There is something innocent about it, which is beautiful. But it’s also so very…nice. Picturesque. Like a blushing eighteen year-old virgin getting her prom corsage. Like full-bottomed white panties edged in lacey ruffles.

And perhaps therein lies the problem. I’m not sweet. I'm not innocent. I’m not nice. I tend toward scents that are dirty or skanky or wild or cruel because I’m a lot of things but I’ve just never been very nice. So while I like Mûre et Musc a lot, and I think it is brilliant at what it does, I just don’t see us going anywhere.

Which is kind of too bad. I’m sure there is a part of me who would really like to be nice. That part just does not seem to earn more than a few moments of consideration, flirting with what might be, before the reality of what is settles in.

For other reviews, see Bois de Jasmin's review.

Photo from Flickr.