This morning I dabbed some Guerlain Mitsuoko (eau de parfum) on my wrists before going to work. I had tried it once before and was so turned off I scrubbed myself with soap almost immediately, but I determined to try again. The first whiff of the stuff on my wrists made me feel sorry for any co-workers who might get too close today. I continued to sniff it as I biked to work, as I sat working at my computer, and as I walked around the lake this afternoon. The scent did change somewhat over the course of the day, but it only improved marginally. And I have to say I was disappointed in myself - Mitsuoko is one of the great fragrances, and I was bummed I couldn't see what all the fuss is about. It's like admitting to not being a big fan of Citizen Kane or The White Album. This perfume is supposed to be radiantly, transcendently wonderful - it's even brought some people to tears. And all I could smell was cloves and pee.
But then something happened this evening: the fierce, almost nasty edge to the perfume drifted away, and I was left with this softened, friendly yet complicated thing. It seemed as though there was something that should have been in the top notes - either lemon or apple - mixing with the ghost of the other stuff, in the base. The sharp edge from before was still there - a hint of aldehydes, maybe? - but subdued, and the scent had assumed an entirely new personality - sad, but sweet, kind of like that friend whose company you enjoy more than anyone's but who always seems to be in trouble. I splashed some of Laura Ashley's L'Eau - a simple, clean floral I really like - on the back of my hands this evening for comparison, and I was struck for the first time with the thought that the L'Eau was shallow, almost naive - at least, compared to the thing on my wrist. And now the L'Eau is disappearing, but I'm still enveloped in this cloud of Mitsuoko. I hope some of it got on my coat today. I wouldn't mind at all if this one sticks around for a while.