Friday, January 24, 2014

Indole or not indole?

I have perhaps a dozen full bottles of fragrance. Samples? I have no idea. Over a hundred. Over two hundred? I don't know. I fear the entire collection looks like something happened to it. It has been moved too many times. Something spilled, perhaps. I have one large box of samples and a few small ones, and they all have a smell that makes me recoil. It is not inspiring to look upon these "collections." They look worn and unloved and I certainly do not love them. Now I think I know why that is true. Indole.

I bought a bottle of Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (a flanker to Black Orchid, now discontinued) for ten or fifteen dollars some years back. Y'know, the price of an expensive sample - what's to lose? I do not like white florals and hoped this was some sort of dark impression of flowers (if that makes any sense). 

This is one of those times I wish I'd work at developing my vocabulary for scent, but alas, I digress. . .

When I'm trying a perfume in a spray bottle, I put the nozzle right up against my wrist and press it ever so gently. I know I don't like being fully sprayed with anything, even if it's my favorite scent. If there's a hint of florals within, I am as cautious as can be. Big heady white florals have varying amounts of indole, which many folks find unpleasant in varying degrees, from a bit much for one's taste to revolting, cloying, sickening, suffocating, and even literally headache inducing. 1980's scents to me were mostly all of these things. I didn't know about indole (silly me) until I read this very interesting (and bad) review of Voile de Fleurs at Kafaesque. For more, Perfume Shrine has this excellent article about indole.

Indole indeed. I put a dab of Voile de Fleurs on sometime this morning, as I am all of the following: In a unsettled mood, want to smell something new, want to be intoxicated by scent, and am, obviously, some sort of masochist. No, really, I don't know why I did it. Truth is, there's something in this mess of a smell that I like, but I think anything more than a few molecules will suffocate me. It reminds me of White Shoulders (from memory) times a million. I used to wear White Shoulders when I was in my mid-twenties and making an attempt to be feminine. I should go to a drugstore and buy a little bottle just to see what it's like.

Anyway, twenty minutes after putting this oh so small amount of horrible juice on my wrist, I was scrubbing with everything I had, and thought I'd removed the offending odor. Then I put on one of my favorite scents. I'm still feeling as if I'm choking. Oh, indole! I seriously hate you, and now I know I'm not alone.

Then again, it could just simply be bad perfume. Nothing more and nothing less.

Many hours later, I am moving into the disgust phase. I imagine the indole molecules combined with the perfume I am wearing to produce this fetid smell that I am horrified by, and dearly hoping that nobody but me can detect. My cat is kneading me wildly, purring with abandon. She clearly is not perturbed.

Image note:  Indole, of course.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bvlgari Black, revisited

Preface: It's been one day short of a year since I last blogged. I miss writing and I miss writing about scent. I doubt anyone's reading this any longer, but what the heck. . .back into the fray with a revisit:

It warmed up into the 40’s one day last week and my nose yearned for a scent more appropriate for Spring. Bvlgari Black. There’s nothing “black” about this scent (to my nose or mind). Yes, there’s that rubber note. Rubber equals tires equals black (I suppose). When I first sniffed the stuff I thought “latex and talcum powder!” and that might’ve been The Black Thing as in dungeons and fetish gear, but while those two smells remind me of the days when I would deign to go out in latex, still. . .nope. Bvlgari Black is altogether too bright a scent for the word “black.”

I forgot how much I love the stuff. Frankly, I can’t figure out what about it intoxicates me so. The day I was wearing it, I kept bringing my wrist up to my nose. I love the opening notes. When they quieted down, I applied more, which is something that is so not my usual modus operandi. I just could not get enough.

The next day, I could smell it on my turtleneck and thought, “mmm,” but isn’t a scent I want to wear two days in a row, and I haven’t been in a scent monogamous mood these days, but still, I am thinking it’s time for a new bottle. What if I run out??!!

What if indeed. Are there no new scents on the market?!

None that have intoxicated me as much as this. When all is said and done, I think it may be my favorite scent. I’m a bit shocked.

I still don’t understand Bvlgari Black. I can’t “read” it besides the citrusy black rubber and what I imagine of talc (for I’ve not seen anyone else write about the powder note - or have I?) I’m no nose. I have a good memory for scents that have emotional resonance, but I’ve not memorized much. I can say, “Oh yes, basil. . .” or any number of scents that are things one cooks with, but perfume? I have read that Black is supposed to smell of lapsang souchong tea, but I just don’t get that.* That makes some sense, because before I tasted pu-erh tea, I’d thought lapsang souchong was the one tea I did not like (and oh boy - now I have two!)**

I googled “Why do I love Bvlgari Black so very much?” when I was feeling particularly intoxicated (with the smell, not with drink). This scent has many admirers. Others dont’ get it. Some suggest a woman shouldn’t wear it, and I think, “Oh. Is it really offensive?” Then I remember what most folks wear for perfume and stop my thought nonsense.

*Afternoon update: Oh, what an idiot I've been. Why have I not stuck my nose in some lapsang souchong tea when I'm not drinking it? There was a large glass jar of some in my presence (or was I in its presence) about an hour ago, and I did just that. Heavenly. Transporting. I wanted to keep my nose in their. Al said, "Burning transformers, especially transformers in model trains." Doesn't sound good, but he liked it. I find it implausible when something that smells so good doesn't suit my taste buds. Now, I just sprayed some Black on me wrists and I'm finding it altogether too sweet. Don't get me wrong - I still love it - but I want something as dark and smoky as that tea. Is there such a thing? I shall look into it. Fresh pepper, lapsang souchong tea, and something light and ethereal. That's what I want to smell. . .

**New favorite tea: A teaspoon of Tippy Assam with a tiny pinch of cinnamon, two cardamon pods, a small bit of fresh pepper, steeped for six minutes and finished off with a half teaspoon of local honey and a splash of half & half. Yum!

Image note: Bvlgari Black (obviously). I don't really care what a perfume bottle looks like since I keep them inside the boxes and then within boxes or cupboards as well, but this one is lovely. I love the industrial elegance of it.