For about a decade, serious perfume aficionados had to endure bombardment with celebrity scents that were churned out by the dozens. Most of them were insipid fruity- florals with no imagination that were meant to appeal to teeny-boppers, and anyone into smelling like a combination of fruit cocktail and cotton candy. “Celebuscents” are still out there, but they now seem to be relegated to the shelves of WalMart and Target, and on discount e-tailer websites.
During my absence from the world of fragrance, a few shifts took place that I wasn’t fully aware of until recently. First, more attention was bestowed upon the niche sector of the industry, exposing some genuine masterpieces, and more than a few pretenders in the bunch. Second, bottle prices have skyrocketed over the past decade. Just yesterday, I was perusing Creed’s much anticipated feminine version of its masculine Aventus scent, only to see that a 75 mL (2.5 fluid ounce) bottle is priced at a whopping $405. I almost fell out of my chair. I was enamored of quite a few Creed scents years ago, but now, sadly, they are out of my current rage of affordability. Even scents sold in mid-level department stores, as well as in Sephora and Ulta, are rarely under $100. Despite this, my penchant for buying full bottles has endured; You can’t really blame me for wanting to replace what was taken from me, can you?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and learned that I would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation after my mastectomy, there was a moment when I realized I would eventually be bald. At that point in my life, my hair wasn’t in particularly great shape. I had stopped coloring it, and wasn’t getting regular haircuts, partly because I couldn’t afford them.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a very special friend has been instrumental in the rehabbing of my nose. This friend has supplied me with some generous decants of fragrances from her vast collection, and I want to show my appreciation by reviewing two of them. They helped me recognize my newfound appreciation for scents I would have, in a former life, probably scoffed at.
Wearing fragrance is open to interpretation. I like to compare it to genres of literature. For example, I love reading historical fiction, memoirs, and literary fiction. I dislike mass market paperbacks, romance novels, and science fiction. That’s just me. I don’t begrudge anyone the enjoyment of reading those books, nor do I begrudge someone wearing a particular fragrance just because it comes packaged in an attractive bottle.
The debate about packaging versus what’s inside has long been raging in the world of scent. Some fall on the side of juice first; packaging second. That mindset can be reversed depending on who you’re talking to. Personally, I think the quality of the juice has caught up to the flamboyant packaging, but again, it depends on which scents you enjoy wearing.
Have you ever had something stuck in your craw for so long you never thought it would go away? That’s been the relationship I’ve had with fragrance for the past six years. If you check out the last two blogs I posted, you’ll see that I was off scent for a long time, due to circumstances beyond my control. That is what’s been sticking in my craw for so long (What is a “craw” anyway? I keep envisioning that piece of popcorn that gets stuck in your teeth which takes yards of dental floss to extricate from your mouth.) Then, cancer treatment shattered my sense of smell so completely, I was convinced it was forever fucked. Forgive the strong language; if you’ve been down that road, you know what I’m talking about.
These words were originally published on October 13, 2011 on the site PerfumePosse.com.
The number above – that’s the tax deduction 30 Serges (Exports and Exclusives), plus about 100 more miscellaneous fragrances and other items will get you if you donate them to charity.
How do I know this? I found out about 2 weeks ago, finally, what my wonderful aunt did with my perfume collection and some other items I was forbidden to retrieve from her house. Now, I guess you can say I have “closure” of the situation since she threw me out over a year ago.
I’m usually not one to air dirty laundry, but since I’ve been through so much over the past few years, I thought, what the hell. I’ve lost everything so I literally have nothing left to lose.
The problem is, finding out that my treasured collection is gone forever has put me off fragrance. This is worse than going off meds or having a run of bad luck. Right now, I just don’t care what I smell like or what anything smells like. I even pitched what few bottles that did manage to make it out of her house; I just couldn’t stand looking at them anymore.
So, for now, I bid you all adieu. I have no desire to smell anything and I don’t know when I will again. I know my attitude sounds defeatist and it’s allowing evil to triumph over good, but I am too exhausted, emotionally and physically, to keep fighting. The only thing I can hope for is that my aunt will receive some sort of karmic retribution for all the crap she’s pulled on me over the past couple of years. You know the saying: what goes around, comes around. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed, shall we?
I hope to see you all again before too long.
This essay was originally published on November 4, 2010, on the site PerfumePosse.com.
How many of us have loved and lost? I’m not just talking about perfume: friends, family members, spouses, pets…we mourn for different things in different ways, and no two are ever alike.
Three years ago, my life as I knew it changed forever. The details of this transformation don’t matter, but in coping with all the upheaval, I decided, who better to help get me through it than family? Turns out, this was the worst decision I could have made.