Thursday, March 20, 2008


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.

1 comment:

becky said...

That's a really cool narrative; I loved the part about the friend you like to spend time with, who's always in trouble! It's cool how perfumes move through time, sorta like music. It's like, as parts of it wear off, other parts come to the forefront. That's so cool! I'm learning a lot from your cool perfume blog!