P O N G ………. when you really get it wrong

imageI was rootling about in a Tokyo bargain bin the other day and came across a little box of Indian perfume oils. Why not, I thought, they say they are ‘essential’ and maybe they are: I saw ‘Bali Flower’, and ‘Champaca’, and ‘Night Queen’, and couldn’t quite resist.

Prising off the lids this morning ( sealed with stoppers and a waxy covering) I discovered they were quite nice. Obviously nature based as well, which came as a surprise. Bali Flower is an unctuous plumeria, and Night Queen a rather lovely jasmine. Indian, clearly, but with an iridescent, soapy aldehydic aspect that smelled quite lovely on me ( at least when ensconced in the perfume room).

It is snowing. I envisaged a post titled ‘Jasmine on the snow’ . But as I sat on the bus on my way to the station I began to feel pangs of regret. Oh God, why have I chosen to smell like a Mumbai streetwalker on the first day of the new classes?

What was fresh; clean; almost glassy, at home is now lurid and tentacled. I smell like a large Indian lady in a pink nylon sari, smoking on a joss stick and doling out kufti.

In another context, this exact scented aura could probably smell quite nice ( a drag queen contest? a midnight orgy in Goa?), but now, in my work suit, when I was hoping to smell fresh and gentlemanly for the earnest-eyed second graders, I just smell pouffy at the seams; degenerate.

Have you yourself ever also got it horribly wrong and made a chronic lapse in scented judgement?

13 Comments

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13 responses to “P O N G ………. when you really get it wrong

  1. cookie queen

    An unknown Indian oil? Oh dear. That would beat any mistake I have ever made. 😉

  2. Once I put on Opium And got all the wrong buttons pushed. Since then I’m wary with Orientals. I felt like a messenger with a wrong carte blanche. And since it was THE smell of that period, I felt rather out of it.

    • I think I was born to wear Orientals, but if you are not meant for them they can smell horribly wrong. I think my worst mistake just in terms of feeling utterly out of character was Creed Green Irish Tweed (see my ‘Babe Magnets’ piece). I literally felt like another person, like a total impostor in it.

  3. Laurels

    Oh, it is an awful feeling. I wore Lalique Le Parfum to a charity do, and realized too late that what was normally cozy and a bit sexy was in that context downright tawdry. One of the advantages of having only one or two perfumes was that I used to just smell like me.

    • I think I have smelled tawdry on many occasions, quite shockingly so. When I first joined my company I was wearing things like Kouros, L’Elephant, patchouli oil and vanilla, all kinds of things that I wouldn’t do in a million years now. I didn’t’ realize how much they hate such smells.

      Do you think that anyone reacted oddly to your Lalique?

  4. David

    My partner always says I get it wrong when I wear “old lady” perfumes, especially Jean Desprez Sheherazade. I just love it. I also like me some leathers , which some people say don’t suit the weather here in Brazil. But the other day I mixed Hard Leather by LM Parfums with Habinita on a hot day and I was turning myself on so much. That in itself suits Brazil.

    • Brielle has mentioned Sheherazade and I have never smelled it: must be something quite unique. I have smelled Hard Leather and should review it (though those very unrelenting, ‘fixed’ perfumes can get irritating for me sometimes). I LOVE HAbanita and can imagine it working beautifully with it.

      As for Old Lady, Duncan can’t stand floral aldehydics along the line of Arpege and so on so they are for private use only. Somehow with Vol De Nuit it goes quite vanillic/animalic on me and smells kind of sexy so that one seems more acceptable.

      All those fresh and fruity scents in Brazil, which I like, must still get a bit dull after a while though. I would imagine you just feel you have to rebel and wear something fuller and dirtier.

  5. Georgayne

    The only time that I remember, and that because it was horribly embarrassing, was attending a business meeting in a very small room, where three of the attendees were fragrance antagonistic. I was asked to stand in the doorway or wash and come back. I think I was wearing something light and airy and I was shocked that it bothered anyone at all.

  6. tonkabeany

    bellodgia on a cool(ish) night out in London, silly, granny pants result that I should have seen coming!

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