Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Scent of A (Giddy) Woman

I'm bored. Of my perfume, that is. I decided to make a change after more than a decade wearing the same scent.

I'm essentially a creature of habit driven by unadulterated laziness. Since the day a boyfriend came bearing gifts and I opened up my first bottle of Dune, I have worn that almost exclusively.

The smoky, heady musk of this perfume has trailed me everywhere despite my propensity for subtle potency and low sillage. At one point even my body lotions and shower gels were Dune. It is perhaps ironic that my signature scent would be named after the place from which my ancestors sprung, swords in hands and psychosis firmly in place.

I get comments and enquiries about my scent all the time. But the strange thing about perfume is that it has unique reactions to individual body chemistry. Apparently mine and Dune make a pretty arresting combination. People always ask about it, go forth to purchase it only to find that the scent is different on them.

My asthma makes me incredibly sensitive to fragrances. There are a few that literally make me ill and I cannot abide atomic clouds of noxious perfume. A light hand is much appreciated lest I spend the entire day wheezing, tearing up and basically hating on the spray-happy moron.

Paris Rive Gauche. Parfum non grata. Quite a few men's cologne mean no chance in hell of getting a date from me ... hard to date when you're dying from asthma.

I occasionally wear some other scent just for a change but that is rare and I always return to Dune. So much so that everyone knows to buy that for me as an easy gift. 

I think scents are an integral part of personality. Your choices tell a lot about you. Youthful and exuberant. Full-bodied and sensual. Sharp and aggressive. Delicate and floral. Don't you think your scent defines you? Care to share?

A couple of years ago while wiling away my time at yet another mall, I spied a slinky bottle shaped like a svelte Erte model, languidly curved while maintaining a rigidly upright demeanour. The top was a sinuous spiral that was echoed in the fine, subtle tendrils cradled within the glass bottle. Peeking from between the curls on the top was a crystal ball. 

Intrigued, I sprayed a little onto a tester card. Wafting it vigorously to oxidise it, I sniffed cautiously. It smelt like spun candy with hints of floral dark chocolate, caramel, exotic musk, patchouli or is that ylang ylang?, a hint of citrus and spices. Being a foodie, I loved it.

I sprayed some on and walked around for a while to see how the perfume would react to my body. The redolent fragrance could only be described as yummy. It made you want to lick and bite. In a good way. 

I'd fallen in lust with a perfume. Before I got on the plane, I bought a bottle. 

Roberto Cavalli for Women and Just Cavalli for Women vied with Dune to anoint my bare skin for the next few years. Then, for some reason, it became rather hard to find in the shops. Or it was always out of stock wherever I was. So after a while, I reverted back to my old faithful, Dune.

So I went perfume shopping today for a breathe of fresh scent. As I walked past a glittering, glistening shelf of cut glass and limpid colours, I smelt spun sugar with musky undertones. I followed my nose.

No, it was not Cavalli but a new incarnation of yet another favourite designer, Thierry Mugler. I do not like his Angel series of perfumes but Angel Violet reminded me of Roberto Cavalli for Women. Was it also a coincidence that it is named after one of my favourite colour palettes? I am such a girl sometimes ...

Spun sugar, chocolate, vanilla, patchouli, citrus, something floral, probably violet. It was a potent seduction. I sprayed some on my wrist. The reaction was intoxicating. My natural scent coupled with Angel Violet was heady enough that the woman next to me asked to sniff me. 

The headlong rush of lust for this musk was immediate. I was licentiously giddy with olfactory yearning. I had to have it.

Unfortunately I had to catch a plane and the queue at the cashier was a plane long. Delayed gratification is perhaps good for the soul but my nose demands wham, bam, thank you glam. 

There better be a shop selling Thierry Mugler Angel Violet tomorrow. I am not above stamping my feet in pique.