Out of the perfumed closet


I think that it is time for me to come out of the closet (the one where I stash my baccarat flacons) and admit that I have become addicted to fragrance. As recently as two months ago, I was a nice normal lady(-ish) whose idea of a pleasant fragrance was whatever someone had most recently given me for Christmas. The only warning sign of potential for olfactory gluttony was that two years ago a friend told me that he wanted to buy me a gift and I asked him to give me the amazing fragrance that he was wearing himself. That fragrance turned out to be Dior Homme, one of the top ten male fragrances currently available and perhaps of all time.

These days, I never wear less than two fragrances a day,  usually three. When I first get up, I wear a new fragrance, something acquired recently that needs to be tested in the limited time between arising from my bed and taking my shower (somewhere in the range of 75mn). After my shower, it is time for the daytime fragrance. On a work day, this might be something strange but discrete or modern and harmless. In the evening, I treat myself to a  Grand Old Lady, something big and shameless that does not smell even remotely like White Linen (read “clean”).

This story of olfactory addiction started early this spring when we were shopping at Sprout’s. Outside the store were bins of jasmine plants of a type that grew outside my kitchen door when I lived on Red Deer street. For some reason, this particular jasmine is somewhat rare. I grabbed a couple of pots and zoomed home, overcome by the fragrance that filled the car.

It took a few days for me to realize that the jasmine was reminding me not of the house on Red Deer but of a bottle of perfume that was once given to me by a grateful patient (I can scarcely believe it myself) when I worked at the prestigious American Hospital of Paris. The idea that I might relive that visceral delight through the simple act of sneaking onto Amazon and purchasing a bottle of Joy by Jean Patou was a revelation. When the bottle arrived, the perfume (or juice as we perfumistas call it) really did smell just like my lovely jasmine plants. It seemed a little ungracious to think that it was perhaps not quite as wonderful as that long-ago bottle and I toyed with the idea that those carefree days made everything more intense. After all, what could possibly have changed?