Thursday, May 6, 2010
This led me to think about the subject of well-behaved perfumes. By "well behaved" I mean perfumes suitable for business meetings, or job interviews (if you dare wear scent at all), or meeting one's boyfriend's mother - at least, when these situations are expected to be more or less pleasant. When they're not, there's an entirely different category of "don't mess with me" perfumes. But that's not today's subject.
To me, a well behaved perfume needs to avoid being a number of things. Not a bombshell, not a little girl, not too ladylike. Little to no aggression, but without that "don't worry; I'm helpless" vibe. Not stupid, not... well, OK, I don't put an upper limit on how smart it can be.
Some candidates are those with a careful balance of wood and gentle, dry spices. Today's Fire and Cream is a fine example, and so are the saffron-filled drydown of Washington Tremlett Black Tie and the medicinal hit of l'Artisan Fou d'Absinthe.
The unsweet tea fragrances, like Parfumerie Generale L'Eau Rare Matale (tea and charred wood) and Harmatan Noir (tea, mint, sunshine, and dust) also fill this role, though some, like Comme des Garcons Tea, may be just a little too weird. And the syrupy and delicious ones, like l'Artisan's Tea for Two, don't qualify at all. I can't put my finger on why, but smelling edible doesn't seem to qualify for the very highest level of well-behavedness.
Irises seem to be inherently well-behaved - Iris Taizo's calm dry powder, for example, and the cool standoffishness of Iris Silver Mist. I'm not sure about Cuir d'Iris - that delightfully "off" leather note seems to take it out of the running. And Chanel Cuir de Russie definitely has leanings in both the bombshell and "don't mess with me" directions. It has far too much glamor to be well-behaved. But it also couldn't care less, in a way that may transcend the entire category.
Review Roundup: Is here.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.