Guest Post – “Why I don’t Wear Florals” by Andrew Smells

source: doobybrain.com

The Smelly Vagabond: Today we have my first ever guest blogger and fellow fragrance friend, Andy, who recently started writing at Andrew Smells. We first met at a an Arquiste evening with founder Carlos Huber at Bloom Perfumery. After exchanging contact details, we began emailing one another, but things really took off when we met up again in Central London for a bout of sniffing. Since then, we have been regularly corresponding via Whatsapp (it’s so convenient!), comparing notes on fragrances and enabling one another to buy more perfumes.

“This isn’t another old woman floral is it?”

Was the question I asked a few times of the Vagabond on our mini “Tour de Smells” in London.
I consider myself open minded and am willing to have my tastes challenged, but there are some notes and qualities I find off-putting in a fragrance.

That means I wouldn’t wear them but also I find them painful to smell and make a face like a scared cat upon inhaling.

I remember at school there was a joke where you would be asked,

“Do you like potatoes?”
no
“Do you like chips?”
Sure.”
“Then you like potatoes ahahaha”

Clearly they aren’t the same thing, even though they share an ingredient, and so it seems my disdain of florals has a similar pattern; I don’t like potatoes, I do like chips.

It’s powdery, clear, loud and petal-y florals that I bemoan.
Petal-y is my way of describing how a fragrance smells too much like a flower and nothing else. The flower is tangible and I want to spit it out as if someone had hidden rose petals in my sandwich.

It’s soliflores and bouquets that scream:

HERE ARE THE FLOWERS YOU ORDERED

They just seem uninspired, but that’s a reflection on my personal taste and what I like a fragrance to do (complexity and development). But if you like all of these things I am cracking the whip at, then good for you. I’m glad someone likes them.

It’s probably memory and evocation too. Stuffy old women that belong in a police lineup for Madame Bucket (It’s pronounced Bouquet!) who wear too much makeup and want to smell like the roses they are pruning all day long in their retirement village.
Too bitter of me?

Floral outift to match

They are linear, dull. It’s a flower.
An hour later; it’s still a flower.
Nothing wrong with a linear scent, but of all the things to choose to smell like!

So now I’m going to demonstrate how I like floral elements so long as they make up a small percentage of the total blend and are not pronounced or distinct.

Opus 1870 by Penhaligon’s is wood and rose. Decent fragrance. The powerful wood is at the fore so this is like a single rose on a log pile ready for the fire.

Fahrenheit 32 by Dior is a simple concoction of vanilla, vetiver, and orange blossom. Here it’s the sweetness that wins out for me whilst the blossom gives a clean white quality.

My two favourite fougeres, Eau Sauvage Extreme and Rive Gauche Pour Homme, both contain lavender and are great because they have balanced composition but pass me a paper strip of Lavandula and I’ll do my goat face.

Coco Mademoiselle, which has a hefty rose backed with vanilla and fruit, or Elie Saab that’s got orange flower, jasmine, and honey.

I like feminine florals so long as they come with something sweet, a jar of honey or lashings of vanilla, anything to prevent me thinking I’m just smelling a flower.

And so it was, as I was passed two paper strips that I sniffed deeply and exclaimed delight that the Vagabond also lit up with satisfaction in having shown me that actually, maybe I do like florals – Shalimar with it’s iris, jasmine, rose and Portrait of a Lady with a distinct yet palatable rose.

What have I learnt?

To be more specific with my complaints and to relax my rules. It’s not helpful for me to have “I don’t like florals” as a belief. It can only limit my scope of experiencing new fragrances and whilst it’s good to know what you like, if you hone that spotlight too narrowly you might miss a beautiful fragrance simply because you once said –

I don’t like florals

The Smelly Vagabond: Well it seems as though our dear friend Andy has learnt a thing or two about florals! I haven’t yet given up on my quest to get him to like soliflores, bouquets and “old women florals” (which are absolutely my thing). Do pay Andy a visit on his blog and welcome him to the blogging community! 🙂

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The Problem with Parfum Prices

Recently, I’ve become rather perplexed at how the various concentrations of a perfume are priced. For many, the extrait (also known as parfum) concentrations of perfumes are often deemed to be the best of all concentrations, because they are plusher, richer and fuller etc. etc. Obviously, this varies depending on one’s personal preferences. But I’m not so much interested in discussing anyone’s preferences regarding concentrations as I am with the pricing strategies of companies with regard to the various perfume concentrations. Continue reading

Culti Smell & Guess Evening + Some thoughts on home fragrances

Source: Bloom Perfumery Website

Source: Bloom Perfumery Website

I had the good fortune of attending a Culti Smell & Guess event at Bloom Perfumery on Thursday, 17 October 2013. I had attended the very first one a few months back and had rather fond memories of it, and as such was looking forward to attending this one. I’d asked along a friend, who shall remain anonymous, but lamentably she’d come down with a bad flu the day before and so her nose was, sad to say, not in the best condition for a sniffing competition. Quel dommage! Anyway, I was raring to outsniff the rest of the competition, and was on my way to Bloom when the ‘we are being held at a red light signal’ experience happened to me as I waited somewhat frustratedly on board the evening rush hour tube.

Sweatier than this sweaty man
source: bodycapable.com

And so it was that I had to run at breakneck speed from Liverpool Street station – I arrived at Bloom 10 minutes late, perspiring more profusely than a pipe in need of a plumber. I do wish I looked even half as good as that guy in the picture. No, I was a panting mess compared to the five ladies who’d had the good sense to make their way to Bloom earlier in the evening.

Thankfully, one of my tweets whining about being stuck on the tube had caught the attention of @BloomPerfumery, and they were kind enough to wait for me to begin. Thank goodness for twitter, I’m glad I started using it! But on to the contest!

Continue reading

Perfumed Baths – a waste of money?

source: luxedb.com

Have you ever tried perfuming your bath using your own perfumes? I do so once in a while, especially when I’m feeling stressed and really need to relax. When the oils in the perfume are heated up by the warm water, the aroma fills the entire bathroom. Soaking in the perfumed water, I can’t help but be enveloped by a sense of calm. And when I leave the bath, I am coated all over with a thin layer of whatever perfume I sprayed in the bath, a shield against the stresses of the world.

Some people think that spraying perfume in baths is a waste of money. Let’s consider some reasons they might give:

  1. Perfumes are too expensive to waste on a bath, where the smell lasts for only the duration of the bath.
  2. Heat from the hot water spoils the perfume so you don’t get to enjoy the ‘real’ perfume.
  3. There are dedicated products that are meant for scenting your bath. Why not use those instead? E.g. Lush bath bombs [Oooooh I love those things, but let’s not go there for now]
  4. Baths are a waste of time and water to begin with, perfumed or not. Continue reading