Sunday, March 23, 2008

The way I write about fragrance

Please be advised: I will not be using words like "sillage", "top notes" and other traditional terms when I write about scent. There are two reasons. The first one is that I am not an expert. I make no bones about it. There are fantastic sites where you can read very well informed reviews of perfume and learn all the jargon. When I'm not feeling lazy, I'll post some links.

The other reason is this: I may like to analyze scent (and I will), but even though I can often identify a particular "note" (uh oh - perfume term alert!) like bergamot, vanilla (etc etc). . .the important thing for me about scent is what it evokes and how it makes me feel.

For instance, right now as I'm wearing the Bulgari, which I've written about below, I'm "feeling nothing". Yes, it's evocative of a box of tea. It even made me think of a wonderful tea that I'd forgotten about and hope to find next time I'm grocery shopping.

But what really interests me is the emotional component of smell.

Fragrance, scent, smell, odor, aroma. . .all are words that are olfactory, but they conjure up such different images and associations.

If I wrote that Chanel No. 5 had an odor you would probably assume I didn't like it, wouldn't you?

Here's a dictionary definition of odor, with an example of its usage:
"A strong, pervasive quality: An odor of sadness permeated the gathering."

That is what I want to write about. And I will. Disregard the medical illustration above! It's there 'cause I wanted a graphic and I like medical illustrations but I am no Luca Turin and will not be telling you anything about the molecular structure of perfume.

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