Success doesn’t have to smell sweet
Have you ever had days when you think, actually, I won’t take the shortcut through the perfume department of Grace Brothers (replace with your local appropriate department store) because I simply don’t have the strength to dodge the gagging stench of all those professional perfume squirters? So you take the long way round and go outside, getting soaked in the rain instead.
This is no way to live and if we all trained our noses more diligently, we wouldn’t have to. I’m being tactful. We all know it’s other people who have regrettable taste in scent.
They’re the ones who bought Joan
Collins’s I am Woman,
Kate Moss’s Truly Adorable or Katie Price’s Besotted and are responsible for the world’s beauty halls smelling more like cupcake factories than crucibles of a once ancient art of seduction and carnal psychology.
One problem is that just as it is an accepted pillar of the literary world that there are only seven plots, so there are only about three distinctive “notes” in Duty Free. This is a mystery given that in theory, there’s an infinite number of wondrous aromas to be concocted. It’s also rather sad. Even great classics get “re-formulated” (PR speak for adding gallons of saccharine chemicals to sweeten things up).
Enough. It’s time to reclaim individuality and celebrate the genius of the maverick Nose, as opposed to the ruthless marketing momentum of the giants.
The following top four list is highly subjective – ie Stuff I Like, some about to launch. Some more classic. Nothing blah about any of them.
1Roland Mouret’s first scent hits stores in November and debuts on his models in his show on tomorrow. They’ve been instructed to dab it on their thighs, so that as they swish down the catwalks (not that their thighs will touch), they will release the aroma. So far so Roland. As is the warning that not everyone will like it. The only rationale for that claim is that it’s very good.
Mouret could have gone with one of the big perfume churners, but instead chose to collaborate with Etat Libre d’orange, a small French House.
They’re calling it dirty – “a blend of roses, pink pepper, neroli, cardamom, patchouli…”
Suffice to say it’s soft, slightly spicy and definitely sophisticated.
2Bella Freud’s Psychoanalysis, also contains neroli, with leathery and tobacco-y undertones.
It’s probably more subtle than Mouret’s but likely to linger, both on your skin and in your mind. Terrific bottle and puffer too. £165. (libertylondon.com)
3People may be acquainted with The Organic Pharmacy’s excellent skin care but less familiar with their tightly edited collection of gently original scents.
Orange Blossom has genuinely uplifting notes of tangerine (perfect for summer) while my favourite, Limited Edition Jasmine, is a remarkably convincing simulacrum of the real thing.
Gorgeous and not a bum chemical chord between them. From £139, (theorganicpharmacy.com)
4Le Labo: Rose 31. Founded in New York, Le Labo is the intersection of grunge and glamour. This, in MHO, is the best rose over, sneaky, surprising, seductive. One man came up to me and told me he wanted to crawl all over me. I don’t normally endorse this kind of behaviour, but he meant it as a compliment. £120. (libertylondon.com)