Friday, September 25, 2009
Fall has arrived. Though it crept up slowly, it feels as if it's all so sudden. This morning is gray and there is a blanket of leaves upon the ground. Last night, as with all the nights in the last week, I was keenly aware of how early it became dark out, and the reality that soon it will be nearly dark at 3:30 in the afternoon is starting to set in.
When the weather changes, my taste in fragrance usually changes along with it. This season something else has changed. I've pulled out some of my favorites and their charms eluded me. My love of frankincense seems to have left me. In spite of that, Serge Lutens' new Fille en Aiguilles tempts with it's promise of a sweeter version of L'Artisan Passage D'Enfer.
Thankfully, I can't afford such a splurge, nor would I jump at a unsniffed purchase of a scent composed of notes I may have lost my taste for. I do wonder why some fragrances that had transported me fairly recently have lost their spell-binding allure, or simply their comforting familiarity. I'm not one given to fickleness. I suspect something larger is going on. Hormones?
We know so little about the sense of smell. I know that smell has a profound effect on me. It always has, from a whiff of something bringing back forgotten memories and images, to my first experience of falling in love, and remembering the revelation of burying my face in my 16-year-old boyfriend's neck and feeling literally weak in the knees. The word "swoon", bandied around in romantic writing, is certainly real. There are those who've never swooned, and I feel a bit sorry for them. It is delightful, and a bit frightening in the way the experience reminds the conscious mind that it's not entirely in control.
I nearly swooned the first time I smelled Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant, and now it's leaving me cold. I quickly posited "hormones?" and left us all hanging. Yes, I suspect it might be hormones. I'm going through the big change, the unmentionable mid-life menopausal thang (and there, I've mentioned it). It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this could cause immense changes in taste in one's sense of smell. It is times like this I wish I was a researcher. I feel quite sure of my thesis, and I'd love to prove it.
In lieu of that, I've only myself to test my hypothesis out on, and my few readers. Anyone else experience sudden changes in taste and smell? I suspect any large life changes can trigger them, and certainly changes in weather and season seem to always do so.
Image note: Frankincense (Boswelia). I knew Frankincense was a resin, but of what I was ignorant. Go here to read about its processing and history in detail.