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Fragrances and me: a history.

I can virtually never leave well enough alone when it comes to fragrances. I'm always sure there's a better one out there, even when I have ones I like. As a result I tend to accumulate them a little bit. But once in a while I discover something really delicious and decide that it's The One for me, for always and forever. Sure, I may get disillusioned someday, but the first thrill is always a delight.

Yesterday's discovery, which hovers about my wrists right now: Fendi Theorema EDP (eau de parfum, for those who don't commonly throw around fragrance terminology). I don't normally like Orientals. I don't normally like vanilla scents. I wouldn't normally wear something that reminded me a little of a men's cologne. But this is just yummy, despite being all three of those things. [That is, it's a women's scent, but it reminds me of a men's scent.]

Official description:
TOP NOTES: California tangelo, Thai shamouti, jasmine
HEART NOTES: osmanthus, Afghan spices, cinnamon, pink pepper
BASE NOTES: cream, amber, macassar, Mysore sandalwood, gaiac wood, musk

It reminds me a little of church incense (myrrh, perhaps), and a little of the fragrant juniper smoke in the deserts of northern Arizona, and a little of Crabtree & Evelyn's Sienna (aftershave for men). It's also elegant in a way that reminded me, initially, of Chanel's Coco, which made me think, "Oh, I'll like this, but Steve won't," since Steve doesn't care for Coco. However, there isn't that old-fashioned rose-scent that Coco carries - instead, there's a touch of orange. Steve sniffed at it, and said that it was interesting and non-perfumey enough to be acceptable. It doesn't cloy at all - in fact, it starts quite subtly, and after a couple hours has faded to a general natural honey-like sweetness. No "threatening innocent bystanders with giant perfume tendrils," like someone put it on a MakeupAlley review. And hey, it doesn't even have the cost-per-ounce of platinum, like some scents. So I've ordered a normal-size bottle, to supplement my sample bottle, and the world is good.

Now. How about I reminisce about past fragrances I've loved, and what went wrong?

Age 13: White Shoulders. My first "real" perfume. It had a classy, intriguing grape scent in the sample vial, which turned out more violet-powdery in the real thing. Still wore it for a few years - my b/f at the time liked it and would buy me more. Think I decided it was too sweet eventually; wanted something fresher.

Age 15: ChillOut. This was a light, grassy, green scent in body-spray form, that was cheap and only available at the Bi-Mart in town. Haven't seen it since. Rather liked it, though...

Age 16: Tribe. Somewhat heavy on the fruits-and-florals. Could easily overpower, so I tired of it soon.

Age 17: Victoria's Secret's Tranquil Breezes. The best cucumber/melon/fresh scent ever made. Got dozens of compliments. Boys loved it. Wore it for years...till the idiots at VS discontinued it. Oh, sure, they keep the nasty raspberry and pear scents, but not the one everyone LIKES. Ugh.

Age 21: Estee Lauder's Pleasures. Rose and grass, basically. Nice when fresh, but got "perfumey" too fast. Didn't last long with that one.

Age 23: Davidoff's Cool Water (for women). Marine, sharp oceanic scent, fresh, touch of blackcurrant and flowers. Unusual. Got compliments from women, especially when worn with coconut-scented lotion. But it had a bit of an air-freshener quality that got tedious after a while, so, tried to move on to something more elegant...

Age 25: Christian Dior's J'Adore. Feminine; violet and rose mostly. Felt elegant for a while; then decided it was too powdery and cloying. Went back to Cool Water for a little while.

Age 27: Sarah Michaels' Jasmine and Waterlily. Body spray found cheap at Fred Meyer. Smells like a day at the beach; quite gentle and lovely and classy. Problem? Can't find it anymore! Ugh again.

Age 28: Shiseido's Relaxing. I raved about this on LJ, back in autumn/winter when I discovered it. Has some of the cucumber notes I missed from Tranquil Breezes, and when first sprayed on smells wonderfully "green," like you've just broken open a jade leaf. However, can get ordinary-floral-perfumey after a while, and when I had my little sister smell it last weekend, she said "Smells like Tribe." Hmm. Went out looking for something cozier, richer, muskier, sexier, chocolatey-er...and found Theorema!


Wonder how long this one'll last. :)



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2004 12:37 pm (UTC)
I love perfume. I'm not like a lot of women, though - no one signature scent. At the mo I only have 2 that I wear, but that's more due to cost than anything. These are Paul Smith woman and Very Valentino. I have a great fondness for Armani She - quite sexy but still fresh. I liked Paris a lot when I was little - a pretty, girly scent.

I like quite light but feminine perfumes. Not so into the fruity or grassy scents, although I did quite like Clinique Happy - a nice, lemonadey smell.

I know that fragrances are normally divided into 4 categories - floral, Oriental, chypre, and citrus. Or so I thought, but I had a google, and came up with millions of categories! You might like http://www.perfumeworld.net/ehomeframe.htm where you can search by olfactive family to find the exact type of scent you like. Interesting...
May. 14th, 2004 11:49 am (UTC)
Cool site! Glad I accurately classed Theorema as similar to Coco - they're in the same category there. :) Yeah, it seems like they haven't really settled on how many actual fragrance categories there are. More of a spectrum than a taxonomy, perhaps.

Oh yes, Happy has been very popular in the States lately. That's a nice one. Has some flower or fruit scent that's very familiar but that I can't put my finger on...

I'd like a signature scent, but I keep being fickle about it. Maybe this one will work out for a few years at least.
May. 13th, 2004 04:07 pm (UTC)
I purchased Fendi Theorema for my mom recently. Yummy scent.

At age 14 or so, I was very into Tribe. 15-17: Chanel Coco, Chanel #5, Chanel #19, CK Obsession and Armani Signature
18-25: Todd Oldman (since discontinued or it would still be my signature scent... I recent ran out of my last stockpiled EDP) and various "male" colonges that caught my fancy (such as Versace and Escada Per Homme)
26: Kenneth Cole (the closest thing I could find reminscent of my beloved Todd) - BARYSHNIKOV by Baryshnikov for a lavendar scent.
27: Back to Coco

I am not a fan of wholesome greens (aside from Aramani and Chanel #19) and fruity scents, but if I want to add a bit of spring to my step, Esacda never fails to offer something up. All that aside, I feel like a little girl when I wear fruity and overwhelming greens. I like heavier "masculine" scents. They comfort me and make me feel like a regal and mature person.
May. 14th, 2004 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, in the fruity-girly fragrances there's often something too reminiscent of scented Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I *don't* prefer greens/florals/aquatics in the fragrance world. I supposed I did, based on the fact that I love the smell of rain, the ocean, forests, of several flowers. However, considering I also love the smells of chocolate, coffee, wood smoke, honeycombs, pipe tobacco (unsmoked), and most spices, why not try branching out? Glad I did. Quite enamored of the Theorema.

I remembered you'd mentioned Escada before, as something along the same lines. I should probably look for some of their scents next time I'm in Sephora, and have a sniff. The gals on MakeupAlley seem to love Collection.
May. 13th, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm a guy, I don't wear perfume and most of this is waaaayyyy over my head.

However, I must say... Escape has always thrown me into a tailspin whenever a woman walks by wearing it. Complete and total distraction I tell you! That and anything vanilla, I'm a goner. :D
May. 14th, 2004 12:02 pm (UTC)
Hmm, well, the "drydown" on this fragrance is definitely vanillic (apparently that's a word), so it just might do it for ya... :)
May. 15th, 2004 05:18 am (UTC)
Vanilla is meant to be an aphrodisiac in terms of smell...
May. 13th, 2004 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not a very perfume person, so when I do like one, it usually sticks around (although i rarely use it)..
but the 3 [one of which is a guy's perfume] that I like, I like because they have a nostalgic quality to it and conjure memories and past atmospheres...
but yes.. that's my fragrance story. ~_~
May. 14th, 2004 12:04 pm (UTC)
Scent is very closely tied to memory, so there are some scents that would be nearly impossible for me to enjoy, just because they reminded me of someone-or-other.
May. 13th, 2004 11:55 pm (UTC)
Loved reading this post, M. :-) Thoroughly enjoyed all your delightful commentary!

The new perfume sounds like it smells so good. I'll have to look for it. :-)
May. 14th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, give it a sniff if you can find it! You'd probably like it, since I know you like Coco, and they do strike me as rather similar...
May. 14th, 2004 04:19 am (UTC)
This is slightly unrelated, but the mens cologne that has always driven me wild is Drakar(sp?) Noir. Mmmmm.
May. 15th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )