Sunday, November 29, 2009

SOTD: Parfumerie Generale Iris Oriental (Formerly Iris Taizo) and value through association

Last time I tried this one, I disliked the beginning, but I liked the whole package better and better as it developed.  This time, I still didn't like the top notes for themselves, but I associate them with the later stages that I do like, so I enjoyed them.

This is a phenomenon that I also experience with Serge Noire. I don't like the beginning - I find it odd and camphorous and watery and over-aggressive at the same time. But I still "like" this stage because I strongly associate it with the later stages, which I adore. I can "smell through" the unpleasant parts, and detect traces of the gorgeous dusty darkness that's coming. To a lesser extent, the same seems to be true of yesterday's Musk, and now of Iris Oriental.

I have a similar reaction to Chanel No. 19 Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette - I don't actually like those fragrances, but I love Chanel No. 19 parfum, and the other two strengths remind me of the parfum, so I like them by association. In fact, almost anything with a clearly perceptible galbanum note gets free points by riding Chanel No. 19's coattails, as far as I'm concerned.

I think that the fact that people form mental associations with scents so quickly, including associations with other scents, may make perfume a particularly subjective art form. An objectively beautiful perfume may remind you of a teacher that you hated. A dreadful one may remind you of the aunt that you adored. A rather average one may start with an accord that reminds you of the sweet peas that grew in your favorite place in the world when you were four, and that makes it magnificent for you.

So when am I going to get back to talking about Iris Oriental? Well, this wearing didn't teach me much more than last time, except that, yes, I do like it. Enough to be debating a decant or even a bottle.

Illustration: Wikimedia Commons

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