Scrolling down through Fragrantica these days, past all the adverts (so many adverts!), zigzagging charts and graphs and trend flows and intros and statistical mania – to get to the perfume you want to read about – is like reading War and Peace. Exhausting. Looking for a review on Vetiver Pamplemousse – which I had just bought in a shopping mall from Zara on my way to work in North Yokohama – I felt that approximately ten years of my life had passed before I eventually found what I was looking for (on a computer you can whizz down: on a phone it is much more orthopedic).
Scrolling back up again, feeling my hair turn grey as I waited impatiently to get back up to the top, I understood the reason for my exasperation: on the Fragrantica data base there are 641 registered perfumes from Zara (who knew? I am not sure if I have even smelled one of theirs before : perhaps just non-interestedly picked up a ‘Zara Man Night’ or something of the type: like fast fashion, Fast Perfume also steals all the ideas for the Designers or even Niche competitors – and flogs it unmemorably for a much more reasonable price) – but I did remember someone recently here recommending a scent from the brand – was it this, or Bohemian Bluebells? They also had that one, but no tester; ; only the main range had sample bottles – less attractive – and I almost had another L’Eau D’Issey MK II experience in my workwear when a curiously bedraggled individual, who looked a bit like a bandaged up sparrow, all masked up and pigeon toed and sociophobic came decisively towards the fragrance shelf and gave herself at least six full squirts (I think it was actually more like eight but I am wary of exaggerating any further), of the sweetest, most nauseating candy-numb generic gourmand floral that I worried had got all over my suit (Mr Chapman does not do knock offs of Flowerbomb). I fortunately managed to get out of the way just in time: a young couple prior to that, like me, had been hanging around by the Jo MaZara Emotions, but not being able to try them, had eventually gone for an eenie meanie money mo selection process picking one of them randomly, and walking off hand in hand giggling into the sunset.
With a bit of time to spare, my eyes swept past the Fleurs de Patchouli and the Sunset Amalfi, alighting on the Vetiver Grapefruit, and I thought to myself: : : : shall I? Summer is coming. It might be nice. Then again, it might be something I dislike and won’t be able to stand wearing, such as Terre D’Hermès or Pamplemousse Rose (the Ellena grapefruit is sour and chemical unpleasant for me; I don’t like any of that type, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil etc; the full endocrinic citrus) – but looking at the side of the sensibly sized 10ml rollerball and seeing that it was only ¥1,100, or eleven dollars, I thought what’s not to like?
Retiring to a disabled toilet within the ABC Mart shoe shop to take off my mask and tidy up my windswept embarrassment of a hairstyle – I haven’t been to a barber for over a year and don’t want to either – I thought I would have a special maskless preview of the fragrance: just a stroke before heading to the office. The great thing with a roll-on like this is that you can manoeuvre the miniature metal ball just the tiniest fraction on the back of the hand to test the waters (some sprays, as you know, are more like garden sprinklers – they like to give you a full hose down, the only problem being of course if you absolutely hate the thing).
This, I like. Very much. What fantastic value! Neither essential oil – vetiver or grapefruit, is particularly expensive, but if you were to try and make this yourself with undiluted oils, you would have a sulphurous unwearable oil slick that would take days to smell decent. You need a perfumer: dilution; proportion, fixers, maceration, and Jo Malone’s watery, uncluttered style to get a nice balance, and this does the job extremely well ; a very natural vetiver, just how I like it, but destrengthened a little to make it less intense for those around you, and a grapefruit that actually smells like the fresh fruit. Light. Cheering. Perfect for the work space, it is not long lasting nor complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. A great buy.