The Shifting Contexts of Perfume

Could other factors, apart from the aroma itself, influence our perception of perfume? Yes, of course, and this is not limited to fragrance. Elisa explores the topic.

A few years ago, I went to a nearby wine shop to stock up for a weekend in the mountains with some old college friends. A representative from a local winery intercepted me in the red blends aisle and implored me to try a bottle of his family’s wine. Colorado is not known for its vineyards, but I went along in the spirit of adventure, bonhomie, and perhaps a touch of pity.

When we got to the mountains, I warned my friends (occasional wine snobs) that I couldn’t vouch for the quality of the local wine. Since we were all sure it would be bad, we saved it until the end of dinner, a couple of bottles in. When we finally opened and tasted it, we were blown away—it was utterly unusual, with the complexity and creaminess of a good Bordeaux but some additional, unplaceable quirk that made it compulsively drinkable. I was sad when it was gone.

Back in Denver, I went to some lengths to procure more of it. I couldn’t remember the exact name of the vineyard—just that there was a pheasant on the label—and the shop seemed to be out of it. They eventually found the last two from the case in their basement and sold them to me. But when I tried it again, at home, it was nothing special—not bad by any means, but with none of the exhilarating je ne sais quoi I remembered. Were these bottles from a different batch? Did I not let it breathe enough? Or had it been the good company and our low expectations that made it taste so good in the mountains? I’ll never know.

Perfume is just as mercurial as wine—context can change everything.

Love by association

Sometimes a perfume doesn’t speak to me until I associate it with a friend. Years ago, I interviewed Alyssa Harad over Skype in support of her then-new book, Coming to My Senses. She mentioned that one of her all-time favorite perfumes is Chanel Coco. I had never connected with Coco—it just seemed too baroque and “adult” for me—but she sent me a bit of her vintage parfum, and this felt to me like a new introduction to the scent. Suddenly I wanted to like it, and found that I did. Now I always think of Alyssa when I smell Coco.

The charm of hand-written labels

Another dear friend, formerly local and now living abroad, passed several partial bottles of perfume on to me before she moved. Among them are scents I probably never would have given much attention to, in other circumstances. Take Tocca Margaux—I can’t keep the Tocca names straight and tend to just skip over them at Sephora, but it’s become a go-to comfort scent, my fragrance white noise. And then there’s Sensuous Nude; when I first tried it at a department store, I thought it smelled like Coppertone, period. But I gave it another shot once I knew my friend loved it, and now I love it too. (It does smell like suntan lotion—but better!) She also gave me a whole box of samples, which I treasure because the composite smell reminds me of her.

Gender framing

There’s a review in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide in which either Luca Turin or Tania Sanchez (I can’t recall which, nor the perfume in question) writes that he/she thought it was dull when approached as a feminine but, when he/she realized it was for men, suddenly thought, “Oh, not bad!” The implication is that we lower our expectations when we sniff men’s fragrances, but there are other ways that gender affects how I perceive perfume.

It’s a bit of a Cosmo cliché for women to say they find wearing men’s “colognes” sexier. (Before she was the face of Coco Mademoiselle, Keira Knightley claimed to only wear men’s fragrances: “I didn’t want something light and flowery—I’m not that kind of girl.”) But what I really love is when men wear more typically feminine notes, like gourmands or anything floral. For example, most days the vanilla in Bulgari Black is a little too sweet for me, but I love it on my husband, on whom the sweetness seems more surprising, and therefore more arresting.

Passage of time

One of my favorite perfume-life phenomena: when a scent I didn’t use to care for suddenly clicks. This happens on occasion with mainstream releases that didn’t impress me at launch time but, after five to ten years, they start to smell interesting. Take Miss Dior Chérie—it initially smelled to me like cheap canned beer. Now I find its effervescent strawberry-patchouli accord charming, even nostalgic. Maybe it’s because it no longer blends in with everything else that was following the same trends circa 2005; maybe it’s because mainstream releases get worse every year!

Other times, I just need time to learn to love a fragrance. I’ve blind-bought a handful of perfumes that at first seemed like big mistakes. Eau de Joy was shockingly animalic on first sniff; I could barely find the rose through all that horsey jasmine. Paloma Picasso smelled bitter and dated and deeply not me. Luckily I hung on to them long enough to discover the beauty I was missing. A decade later I’d give Paloma Picasso an 8 or 9 on the me scale, and Eau de Joy is one of the rosiest roses I know.

Has a shift in context ever changed your perspective on a perfume?

First image: Komura Settai (1887-1940), Autumn Leaves.  Photography by Bois de Jasmin. Second: Elisa’s perfume samples.

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64 Comments

  • Gabriela: I found a mini vintage Byzance. Although it smells good, it is not the same as when I was a teenager. So I ask the same as you: Has it changed or is the perspective different now that I am in a different phase of my life? Again, we will never know… March 27, 2017 at 7:22am Reply

    • Elisa: A few years back I found my old high-school perfumes stashed away in the bottom drawer of my dresser. The Egoiste smelled much, much better to me than it had when I was younger. The CK One, on the other hand, had lost its appeal. I’m guessing I and the perfumes both changed! March 27, 2017 at 10:27am Reply

    • Alicia: Gabriela, I grew up among women with large collections of perfumes, mostly Chanels and Carons. One of my mother’s friends wore Shalimar, a scent which wasn’t in the family range. I disliked it intensely. Time passed by. A couple of years ago I went to a symposium, and started talking to a lady who smelled deliciously. It was Shalimar. March 27, 2017 at 3:43pm Reply

      • Gabriela: Alicia, your comment made me smile. Shalimar is special… March 28, 2017 at 1:33am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Oh yes, Arpège, the vintage stuff. I read rave reviews: pure sandelwood etc. I too-like probably everybody else on this site-has read the Turin-Sanchez-bible, where I think it is also mentioned as a nice mens’ scent. So along comes a bottle via Ebay and what can I say: utter horror! It reminded me of a cheap 1980’s barber shop, worse: of old ladies hairspray.
    Only later did I realize that I wasn’t familiar with aldehydes. Now I love the creamy, smooth drydown and hope that nobody notices the first strident hairspray moment. March 27, 2017 at 7:29am Reply

    • Elisa: Aldehydes can be so tricky! There were an acquired taste for me when I first got “seriously” into perfume. March 27, 2017 at 10:30am Reply

      • Alicia: Very tricky, Elisa. I enjoy them in Chanel #5, in Arpege, but can’t stand them in White Linen. Can’t understand why. Thank you for your post. I had similar experiences with Orvieto wines. March 27, 2017 at 7:37pm Reply

        • Elisa: And I’m the opposite! White Linen is my favorite aldehydic perfume of all time 🙂 March 27, 2017 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Connie: Loved reading this post, great insights as always 🙂 March 27, 2017 at 8:11am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Connie! March 27, 2017 at 10:30am Reply

  • Ellen M.: I’ve never liked two very iconic fragrances, Shalimar and Chanel No. 5. Subsequently, I’ve sniffed Shalimar again and found that it was okay, though I felt no need to run out and buy it. Still not a fan of the Chanel. I know, I know…these are the “gods” of perfume. As to “gender,” I do find that many “masculine” fragrances appeal to me, probably because traditionally they have been less sweet and less floral, more woody and spicy. Perhaps body chemistry also changes over time and that also may change how we perceive fragrances. Smell, like other senses, can also be associative, for good or bad, which relates directly to your post. March 27, 2017 at 10:20am Reply

    • Elisa: Just like you, Ellen, I never liked Shalimar or Chanel No. 5. What changed my mind on the former was finding the right vintage and the right concentration, an EDC from the 70s that I just love — much more leathery than the current versions. I appreciate Chanel No. 5 now but still don’t love it, but I’m also sure that I just haven’t found the right vintage yet! March 27, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

      • Ellen M.: I’ve heard that the vintage and concentration is especially true for Shalimar. It is interesting that I am very fond of many other vintage fragrances, just not those. Maybe someday I’ll get an opportunity to sniff that 70s EDC you’re writing about and all will be changed. March 27, 2017 at 6:05pm Reply

        • Elisa: Even today, the EDT and EDP for Chanel No. 5 are totally different. March 27, 2017 at 7:10pm Reply

          • Ellen M.: So frustrating!! Its been a long time since I sniffed this and I honestly don’t remember what concentration it was. What I remember is that I didn’t like it. I hope I’m open to trying again. Any suggestions as to which one? March 28, 2017 at 12:33pm Reply

            • Elisa: The EDT or the parfum are generally the scent that people really associate with No. 5. The EDP (unless this has changed recently, I haven’t kept up) is a slightly different formula, more woody and not quite as aldehydic. March 28, 2017 at 12:35pm Reply

        • kpaint: I didn’t have to overcome any hurdles to love either Shalimar or No 5, and I have vintage bottles of both in various concentrations. But my favorites are also the edc (or spray cologne, as my bottles are called, from the 70s or thereabouts) of both No 5 and Shalimar. (Another upside is that they’re inexpensive and largely unwanted on ebay. I got my bottles for a song 🙂 ) March 27, 2017 at 10:09pm Reply

          • Elisa: Clearly I need to get myself some old No. 5 EDC then!! March 27, 2017 at 10:10pm Reply

          • Ellen M.: Two questions:(1) Does the EDC have any longevity; and (2) how can you tell the 1970 vintage? March 28, 2017 at 12:14am Reply

            • Elisa: Yes, the EDC lasts well! It still has those long-lasting base notes of leather and vanilla.

              I bought an old bottle in an estate sale and then figured out the vintage (roughly) based on the style of the bottle and box — you can find images online of Guerlain bottles through the years. March 28, 2017 at 7:56am Reply

            • Mia: Recognizing Guerlains can make one mad! This site has been of great help:
              http://raidersofthelostscent.blogspot.fi/2013/10/how-to-recognize-guerlain-perfumes.html March 30, 2017 at 2:47pm Reply

              • Elisa: Very helpful, thanks for the link! March 30, 2017 at 4:04pm Reply

  • spe: The context of my own reality sooner or later prevails. In the past, I’d approach perfume with the expectation that it somehow would alter my reality. I’d smell great, confidence would soar, and life would be perfect. It would perhaps compensate for what I lacked and be a place holder for my desires. As a result, I’ve owned hundreds of barely worn perfumes. I’ve realized the folly of this magical thinking and try to have expectations in check. Over a few years, my wardrobe is down to about 20-24 fragrances. I still sample and test almost everything, but very rarely buy once the context issue became clear.

    The wine story is lovely. Thank you for the great post. March 27, 2017 at 11:17am Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, perfume always seems more magical before you own it, doesn’t it! March 27, 2017 at 11:52am Reply

    • SHMW: I think the same probably applies to buying challenging clothes – and probably haircuts and shoes as well! March 27, 2017 at 12:35pm Reply

      • spe: Yes! And things purchased on vacation! March 27, 2017 at 12:47pm Reply

  • yomi: hmmm interesting article, indeed as a fragrance creator myself, i find myself in this kind of dilemma. one of my fragrances , discontinued now, i found warm and luminous, a chypre scent. themn an assistant years later found a small sample in the lab. he rushed to me and opened…alas i couldnt even tell i created it….it was now dark and cool and it took some time before we both registered it in our minds and screamed rocker girl!!!! its amazing …i think its has a lot to do with expectations…..Harry fremont once said its actually possible to * overthink* a perfume! March 27, 2017 at 11:39am Reply

    • Elisa: My husband has a small library of perfumes (well, smaller than mine but larger than the average man’s!) and every now and then it takes me a minute to recognize what he’s wearing, though I should know them all instantly. Sometimes I register familiarity and that’s it, it’s almost like smelling a new perfume. March 27, 2017 at 11:54am Reply

      • Elisa: Also, your comment reminded me of what it’s like to run across an old poem that I had forgotten I’d written! March 27, 2017 at 11:55am Reply

      • Clair: I’ve always been extraordinarily sensitive to scent (with so many wonderful and terrible consequences), but I am astounded when I am at times unable to identify a scent or fragrance despite absolute familiarity. Maybe it is simply aging (!) or maybe it’s that, like the known fragrance on your husband, I am simply disoriented by context. March 27, 2017 at 6:30pm Reply

        • Elisa: It reminds me of seeing someone you only know in one context in a totally new context, and how you can not recognize them for a second! Like, when I was in high school and I ran into a teacher at the grocery store or something. It’s disorienting! March 27, 2017 at 7:09pm Reply

  • Oakland Fresca: I love this topic! I think about this all the time–with fragrance, wine, recipes, restaurants, music, favorite places–I guess anything where the impression is highly personal as well as subjective, but often appreciated in some social or societal context. We are not measuring need, and the need fulfilled–but something else that is much more ephemeral, experiential, and extremely human. Just the idea that we can “learn to love” something is both unmooring and comforting at the same time. And also, isn’t that the key to what is culture and how culture is established, conveyed, and then passed on to new generations?

    Me? Skip the Foucault, pass the Fanon, sip the Turley, buy fresh parsley for making Spanish Tortilla, pack for Pt. Reyes, buy tickets to the Diane Arbus exhibit, apply Mitsouko. . . March 27, 2017 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Elisa: I’ve noticed that dislike can age into fondness. It’s not even like you necessarily slowly learn to love it, with a stage in between where you’re neutral — sometimes it just flips! March 27, 2017 at 12:58pm Reply

    • AndreaR: Ah, Mitsouko……It was the fragrance i wanted to love, but didn’t and then a few months ago i tried again and am now deeply in love with it. March 27, 2017 at 6:28pm Reply

    • Lydia: I really like that description – “unmooring and comforting.” Discovering that your taste is more pliable than you thought does feel like that.

      Your observation about culture being passed on to new generations reminds me of one of reasons why drastic perfume reformulation saddens me. How are we to grow into the perfumes we associate with people in our youth if they are completely different/unavailable when we are finally ready for them? March 29, 2017 at 12:44am Reply

      • Elisa: That saddens me too. It messes with a whole generation’s scent memories. March 29, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

  • Joy: Very engaging topic, Elisa. One of my favorite sample companies has recently listed for sale samples from previous decades. I purchased a few. I still find Diorella one of my all time favorites. It brings back my time in a certain job, the clothes I wore, and my friends. The fragrance was totally enveloped in context. I also purchased a vintage sample of Charlie which I did not wear, but a friend at work did. It took me right back to that office and my work there. Chanel Cristalle is a favorite. I often wore it gardening in the 80’s. I still think of it as my gardening perfume.
    Now that I spend some months in Tucson, AZ I find the heat and dry air make some of my favorites unbearable.
    Context for many reasons is critical.Blue Grass aplash was a favorite on high school and college, but in spring and summer. March 27, 2017 at 4:59pm Reply

    • Elisa: An old perfume friend of mine said that moving to the South ruined a lot of perfumes for him because the heat and humidity made them so much more volatile. I definitely find that I get less use out of heavy orientals living in a desert climate than I did when I lived in Boston! March 27, 2017 at 7:04pm Reply

      • Lydia: I relate to your friend, Elisa. Moving to the South didn’t exactly ruin a lot of perfumes for me, but my constant allergies there made it difficult to appreciate perfume in the same way. I noticed on visits home to NY that the perfumes I brought in my toilitries bag smelled much more complex when my nose wasn’t overloaded with the pollen and mold that are always in the air in Atlanta. March 28, 2017 at 5:49pm Reply

        • Elisa: That’s a bummer. You need some kind of climate-controlled, allergen-free room in your home that re-creates the conditions of your native New York 🙂 March 28, 2017 at 7:32pm Reply

        • Neisha: Have you tried a neti pot? I live in the Pacific Northwest and find that it really helps to keep my whole nasal passage clear of pollen and mold. Made a big difference! April 8, 2017 at 8:12pm Reply

  • Clair: Great insights! And what makes them even more compelling is how one could draw completely different conclusions in all of these experiences as well. For instance, I used to pride myself on not being a follower (and in general tend to avoid mainstream or trendy anything) as a result I also rejected certain popular fragrances which were wildly popular, one of which, Prada Infusion d’Iris, was given to me as a gift. Initially it gave me terrible migraines, but I now consider a “comfort scent”! I didn’t entirely dislike it, I just found it very intense, not at all “soft” as many characterized it. I liked it as a lingering scent on clothing and got in the habit of spraying it on shawls and scarves, in particular a pashmina shawl I used as a comfort pillow on a long trip abroad. Over time it came to represent a comforting scent. Not only that, it opened me up to a family of fragrances (L’Heure Bleue, FM’s Iris Poudre, and other powdery scents I would have rejected in times past) I thought I didn’t like and completely changed my perspective to include o much larger range of likes. On another note, vintage fragrances are fun to explore, since they are so colored by experience and context. Sometimes resulting in the enhancement of a memory, sometimes just less than remembered! March 27, 2017 at 6:20pm Reply

    • Elisa: I have had the same thing happen to me — sometimes I’ll use a perfume unthinkingly, just spraying it around as a room spray or on gym days for example, to use it up because I didn’t consider it special. But doing so could turn it into a comfort scent by forcing you to associate it with the background, not overthinking things, etc. March 27, 2017 at 7:08pm Reply

  • kpaint: I thought your article was going to broach the subject of buying wine based on the label – an approach I approve of, and also apply to perfume (bottles,) and books (covers.) But perhaps we’ll discuss that at a later date 🙂

    As to gender framing, I wore a lot of masculines when I was a teenager. Drawn in largely by the advertisements, I bought a small bottle of Calvin Klein Obsession for Women when I was in high school. I always felt slightly uncomfortable wearing it, and soon swapped it for Obsession for Men, which I loved and felt totally “me.” I also desperately wanted a bottle of Polo and Grey Flannel, but since neither was sold at my local drugstore I settled on a tiny bottle of Ralph Lauren Chaps.

    Many years forward, I find I’m not comfortable wearing overtly masculine fragrances. I’m not sure why that is. I also now have that same bottle (in size XL) of Obsession for Women that I wear all the time and love.

    My husband recently started wearing fragrances after becoming curious about my collection. Prior to a few months ago he’d never worn scents at all, nor given them any thought. I have to assume that that’s why he has an atypical approach (for an American male) to perfume. He primarily likes and wears roses. Thus far, his favorites are Aramis Calligraphy Rose, Rosine Twill Rose, and Atelier Rose Anonyme. He’s tried some more “typical” masculines – Hermes Voyage and Terre d’Hermes amongst them – and thus far, they are not his thing.

    I’m finding the whole process of introducing him to perfumes quite fascinating. I’m also learning that some scents I like on myself I don’t like to smell on him. I don’t think this is a gender thing as much as just making me question my own taste (!) I’m discovering that a lot of what I wear doesn’t necessarily smell “good” but instead has aspects that I find interesting up close, or has a familiarity that is comforting to me. Thus, it’s made me rethink sharing my scent in public places, though I may be fortunate in that my skin does not project much, even with multiple sprays.

    I guess my point is, yes, context matters! 😉 Thanks for the thought-provoking read. March 27, 2017 at 10:34pm Reply

    • Elisa: Well, I do buy wine based on the label all the time! I really *wanted* to be the type to wear masculine fragrances as a teen … which is how I ended up with a bottle Egoiste that I didn’t truly, fully appreciate until many years later. Now I really love it, and lots of other pour-homme scents.

      I’m so happy to hear that your husband is drawn to rose scents!! He can come sit by me any time. Has he tried Rose d’Homme or Une Rose Chypree?

      I think you’re right about some scents smelling more interesting up close than from a distance, or vice versa. I really like when my husband wears incense scents but on myself, for whatever reason, if I’m not in just the right mood I find them boring. I think I don’t just don’t always find them evocative up close. March 28, 2017 at 12:02am Reply

  • Richard Goller: What a great post. You make so many pertinent points. I am very influenced by context and moods. That’s why none of my fragrance reviews on my blog should be taken as gospel. I have come back to several fragrances, which at first I did not like, with a better appreciation. Most recently, this happened with Eau de Rochas Pour Homme. At first, I did not like it at all. Perhaps I was in one of my non-citrus moods. When I came back to it the next day at the shop, I noticed something else very different to my first impression. And now I love it! Silly me. R March 28, 2017 at 7:01am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Richard! I always like when reviewers revise an old opinion on a perfume. Luca Turin’s review of Cacharel Eden comes to mind. March 28, 2017 at 7:57am Reply

      • Richard Goller: Hello Elisa, absolutely, we must always try to be open-minded about these things. PS: For some reason your “like” option often says loading when I come to the end of one of your posts.
        R March 28, 2017 at 9:39am Reply

  • Lorie McMillin: Yes, I bought a bottle of Terryfic Oud by Terry in Paris last year and loved the amber oud combo. I smelled a LOT of perfumes that day and kept going back to that one. It’s deep and sensual. But now that I have it home, it seems a little aggressive for most occasions. I’m not out as much in the evening and don’t want to overwhelm co-workers. So I don’t wear it hardly ever, which was not a great investment. Blame it on Paris, I suppose! March 28, 2017 at 7:16pm Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, blame Paris! I generally think it’s dangerous to buy a perfume based on your first impression in the shop, though of course you sometimes want a keepsake from your trip. I’ve often found that something doesn’t arrest me as much when I get it home — but then, sometimes, I come back around to my original feelings after a while! March 29, 2017 at 9:52am Reply

  • Lydia: Three examples spring to mind and they all have to do with strangers being kind or generous.

    Years ago, the Face Stockholm cosmetics company offered free promotional makeovers at the opening of their old Columbus Ave. store. There was a really nice professional makeover artist who did my face, and I later got a haircut from her (one of the best of my life) at her home. While she was cutting my hair, she shared her philosophy about how important it was for women to make the most of their natural beauty, instead of trying to change themselves into someone else. There was a bottle of her favorite perfume, Chanel’s Coco (pre-reformulation), in the bathroom. I’ve always associated that perfume with her stylishness and positive spirit.

    Another old memory is of wandering around Lenox Mall in Atlanta one evening back when Dior’s Dolce Vita perfume (pre-reformulation) was first released in the US. It was kind of a heavy perfume for my taste then, but a nice older saleswoman gave me a hand massage with the lotion and didn’t even pressure me to buy it. Forever after, I’ve associated that scent with with a sort of womanly generosity and gentleness of spirit. (I was sad later when I returned to the mall to buy the scent that I was never able to find that saleswoman again. I’d have liked to buy it from her in case she got a commission.)

    Just recently, I bought a small Etat Libre d’Orange sample set online. I didn’t much like the ELdO samples (Fat Electrician – OMG, cumin explosion!), but BeautyHabit included a really generous travel spray of Penhaligon’s Ostara. The spring feeling of the day it arrived (after many bitter, cold days), the friendly little note from the person who packed the box, and the generosity of the sample, combined to make Ostara, which would normally be too heavy a white floral for me, seem like the embodiment of spring hopefulness and optimism. March 29, 2017 at 12:26am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks for these stories! I loved the old Dolce Vita.

      I am sorry, though, you didn’t get on with the ELdO samples! There are a few I love in that line. March 29, 2017 at 10:00am Reply

      • Lydia: Thanks, Elisa.
        I’d very much like to hear which ELdO scents you love. I haven’t given up on the line yet, and I plan on trying a few more of their scents just in case.
        The Afternoon of a Faun sounds magical (I can’t resist anything connected to Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes).
        La Fin du Monde, Bijou Romantique, Vraie Blonde, and Rossy de Palma also sound promising. March 29, 2017 at 7:26pm Reply

        • Elisa: My favorites are Rossy de Palma (LOOOOVE this rose), Fils de Dieu (a great floral gourmand with lime and rice notes), Rien (strange, animalic but also futuristic leather) and Jasmin et Cigarette. March 30, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

          • Lydia: Thanks. Jasmin et Cigarette was my favorite of the samples box. Fils de Dieu was my second favorite (it smelled like a Thai spiced creamsicle to me). I’ll bump Rossy to the top of the list and add Rien. March 30, 2017 at 3:55pm Reply

            • Elisa: Thai creamsicle is a perfect description! March 30, 2017 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Patricia: Perfumes that were formerly signature scents for me had to go through a “cooling off” period before I could enjoy them again. Thus Miss Dior, Farouche, Coco, and Lauren all had a period of disfavor before they could be worn again. Coco, in particular seemed overwhelming and very eighties to me until just recently. Then I made the mistake of buying the body cream, which is a sad shell of what Coco should be. Avoid that one at all costs and stick with the perfume! March 29, 2017 at 4:43pm Reply

    • Elisa: I’ve had this happen too! I’m actually still in the cooling off period with my college signature scent, Gucci Rush. I still have a bottle, but I never wear it. March 30, 2017 at 9:47am Reply

  • Austenfan: A very though provoking post which I enjoyed a lot, and I think I may have enjoyed your interview with Alyssa even more! March 30, 2017 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh I’m glad, thank you!! March 30, 2017 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Neisha: I had this experience with Habinita. I ordered a sample assuming it would be love at first sniff because of the notes. I was immediately transported back to 1975, as an unwilling eight year old ballet student with a strict, elderly teacher. She was probably only in her 50s and this must have been her scent. In any event it was a scrubber and I hid the sample away. A year or so later I had a hankering and pulled out the sample. The scent memory has faded and I could actually smell the perfume, gorgeous! I’m wearing it today. My teenage son had a similar reaction to Kyoto which was like a repellant for him until he realize its Commes de Garçons. He admires their fashion and now finds the scent tolerable because of the brand. Heh! April 8, 2017 at 8:06pm Reply

    • Neisha: This makes me think I should pull out my bottle of Shalimar EDC in the disk bottle from the 70s. So many scent memories of teachers and elementary school made it unwearable, but perhaps I should give it another try? April 8, 2017 at 8:19pm Reply

      • Elisa: Do!! It might feel totally different now April 9, 2017 at 11:48pm Reply

    • Elisa: I love that! I had to smell Joy several times before I understood it. It’s good to give things multiple chances. I’m glad your son changed his perspective 🙂 April 9, 2017 at 11:48pm Reply

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