Friday 20 February 2009
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
There are a select group of perfumes that I try and try again because I love their names but the juice of the scents never lives up to the promise of the words on the bottle. I don’t suggest that means they don’t smell of what they are named to others, or indeed that that means they aren’t interesting fragrances to others- but to me they don’t smell as their beautiful names suggest and I definitely wouldn’t even consider them if it weren’t for their names.
I have been trying not to say which scents I’m thinking of but it all seems a bit too cryptic! So the scents I am particularly thinking of are Jo Malone Red Roses and Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais, although I’m certain there are others.
Recently a re purchase of Apres L’Ondee, a perfume which smells so exactly of what it suggests to me and seeing the posters of Red Roses everywhere for Valentines day has meant I have been thinking a lot about this.
What are we really buying when we choose a scent?
I always tell myself that as true perfume lover I buy fragrances based on what they smell of, not on the marketing hype, not on the bottle and not on the name- although I freely admit to myself if all of those are interesting in addition to the lovely liquid being so it’s all for the better.
I am now re- assessing this.
I am someone for whom words are a constant companion and comfort in life. I am constantly jotting down lovely phrases as I’m reading or watching films and keep a notebook of them. I always take note of strange, unusual words that have a wonderful meaning. I don’t mean to say that I have the widest vocabulary but words of interest to me and I find English particularly endlessly fascinating, it’s strange quirks, the lovely little words only Stephen Fry knows the meaning of and is able to use in conversation without sounding utterly pretentious- so it makes sense that a fragrance with a beautiful name will appeal to me.
I think if I’m honest I woudn’t love L’heure Bleu say, or even a new scent like Un Jardin Sue le Nil if I didn’t like the names so much. No I probably wouldn’t.
I do own a scent with a name I don’t like at all and I rarely wear it, which is a shame really. It’s Dolce and Gabbana’s The One and I bought it when I was outward bound in duty free. I cannot resist duty fee and the scent was newly out, I was looking for a light but interesting holiday scent. Actually who am I kidding I had decided I was going to buy some perfume and it was the best of what was on offer that I didn’t already have. Anyway I did and do like the apricot/ peach and vanilla notes although my inner perfume snob says CSP’s Vanille Abricot does the whole thing better it The One is a lot less intense. I have to say I had a lovely holiday and I was repeatedly asked by men and woman what I was wearing and told I smelled delicious, not my sole reason for wearing fragrance but it’s always nice to hear!
However the inevitable question comes:
Friend/ boy/ random Austrian chemist:.... you smell great... what are you wearing?
Me: .. thanks... er... well it’s new.... I picked up in duty free in London actually... er
Others: well it’s lovely, who is it buy?
Me: Dolce and Gabbana... it’s a new fragrance
Others: what’s it called...
Me: Er... The One... it’s a silly name isn’t it but I liked it... so yeah... um... yeah
Them: slight subdued yes it is a bit of a strange name- but it’s very nice
Both: slightly awkward transition to new topic
So in short I am not sure that a rose by another name would smell as sweet to me after all.
Picture courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk