Sniffing out the perfect scent.

PerfumeOne thing I really hate about department stores (the larger ones, anyway) is that they always put the cosmetics and perfume departments on the ground floor as you enter, and wherever you want to go, you have to walk through a cloud of floral mist that just about gags me to tears. Yuck.

But in the past two years I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports. And since I’m the type who likes to give herself time, I’ve been hanging around Duty Free a lot. And through sheer curiosity, I decided, hey! Let’s see if among all these dozens of bottles of chemical water I can find something that actually works for me!

Half the scents are too floral, which is so not me, and I definitely tended to gravitate towards the more, dare I say it, masculine scents. But then most were too heavy. I went through a period of Burberry, which I thought was okay but not amazing – I ended losing the small bottle I purchased (on sale) and I can’t honestly say I regret it. So clearly not the one for me.

Then I found it. I found the scent. I thought that when applied correctly, in super spare amounts, it was the right mixture of light and dark, and had a nice musky aroma, and a dozen other words that honestly I can’t come up with because I’m not a connoisseur by any means. Suffice to say, every time I went back to those Duty Free shops I tried some more on, and every time I said yes! This is it!

Slight hitch: I discovered it’s a cologne. Don’t ask me how I missed the fact that the perfume is for men. I should have spotted it. The packaging is dark. There are no curves to be seen anywhere. In hindsight, everything about it shrieks “Match me to the Y chromosome!”

So I dithered for another year. I mean, I can’t wear a cologne! I’d smell like a man!

Eventually, my friend (a bona fide fashionista, chemistry major, and aforementioned perfume connoisseur) convinced me that yes, it’s unusual, but it does happen, and anyway perfumes react differently to everyone, and no, I don’t actually smell like a man. I smell like Jean + Terre d’Hermes = Something Else.  I haven’t had the scent for very long, but so far, I do really like it.

What scent do you wear?

– Jean AAR

27 thoughts on “Sniffing out the perfect scent.

  1. DabneyAAR

    I wear more than one depending on my mood. When I met my husband, back in 1985, I wore Obsession. He loved it on me. Then, after I had our first child, my body chemistry must have changed because now, on me, Obsession smelled awful. I’ve never been able to wear it again.

  2. Lynda X

    I used to be able to wear lots of perfumes, usually with some kind of jasmine base, but when perfumes changed from organic bases (skunk oil, ambergris or other natural chemicals), they usually smelled great on me for about a minute, then changed to something awful. While I approve of this change in theory, I am disappointed. So, I rarely wear perfume, except when I use my 20 year old Arpege. By the way, if you want to remove perfume or any smell from your body, rub toothpaste on it, wait 30 seconds and wash it off. Works wonders!

  3. Ann

    I used to wear Obsession. I can’t wear any perfumes now. My nose gets stuffed up, my skin is irritated and a rash develops. I wish I could wear a scent, but not anymore. I don’t even go pass the cosmetics counter anymore.

  4. LeeB.

    I don’t wear perfume at all and judging by the scent strips in magazines, some of the newer scents are just too pungent.

  5. Jean Wan

    I’ve heard some people saw that in lieu of perfume, they just get nicely scented soaps (like from Lush, Body Shop, or Crabtree & Evelyn), and that does them for the day.

    @LeeB – I don’t really wear perfume a lot either, but I was looking for one for semi-special occasions, and I have to say, after wearing Terre d’Hermes for a whole day, I really like it. And I absolutely agree: The ones in the magazines are revolting.

    @LyndaX – That’s a great tip! And I’m sure it will come in handy some time. Right now I have to figure out how to apply a light – ultra light – mist of my chosen perfume, rather than coming out like I just bathed in a vat of TDH.

  6. Jo-Ann W.

    Here’s where I admit I’m a Philosophy girl. I love so much of their product line, and my go-to scent is Falling in Love (their best seller is Amazing Grace, but I prefer FIL). My backup is Unconditional Love. They are both very light and just make me feel good. I rub a little of their Wild Blackberry Blossom lotion on and I’m good to go – yum!

  7. Donna Lea Simpson

    I’m a perfumaholic… watch out for me once I’ve been to the cosmetics department!! I leave a drifting aura of scent behind me. Troublesome to some, so I try not to do it often, only when I’m shopping for a new scent.

    So many places are ‘scent free’ now, so I don’t always wear perfume, but I have a lot I like.

    My old faithfuls are Chloe and Wind Song; the latter I can’t get in Canada, so I have to order it from Does anyone like the older perfumes? Have you ever ordered them online?

    Other than that, I like to experiment… I have a bottle of Christian LaCroix that I like. It’s what I think of as an evening scent, though, kinda strong, to be used in moderation.

  8. Judith

    Jean, if you want an ultra-light application, spray your cologne in the air in front of you, and then walk through it. Naked, otherwise the scent is on your clothes rather than on your skin, as it should be. Judith

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