Earlier today I tried wearing Jean Patou Sublime for about the fifth time. There are so many fantastic fragrances from Patou that I find it curious I don’t enjoy Sublime. From Sublime’s list of notes it seems like a perfume I would cherish (listed notes are orange, Mandarin from Sicily, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, vetiver, sandalwood, oak moss and vanilla). Plus, Sublime is a floral oriental which is my favorite fragrance category. But today, I tried Sublime for the final time, and I just don’t like it.
This got me thinking about other fragrances it seems I should love, but don’t. Take for instance the entire Ormonde Jayne line. I completely understand why many of you hold up the Ormonde Jayne line as being one of the best. Most of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances pair interesting and unusual combinations. They seem unique, special and well-crafted. The ingredients seem high quality and the bottles are lovely. But, every single OJ fragrance ends up smelling virtually the same to me once dried down. I’ve read that this might mean I’m hyper sensitive to Iso E Super, which is an aroma chemical, said to be used freely by Ormonde Jayne (and virtually all perfume houses, not just the OJ brand). Iso E Super is supposed to be a wonderful “connector,” adding a smooth, robust quality to fragrances and smelling like velvety woods and/or amber [You can find a helpful article about Iso E Super over at PerfumeShrine]. For me, almost every fragrance (except Tiare and Frangipani) ends up smelling like murky synthetic, artificial woods. I want to enjoy some of the fragrances from Ormonde Jayne, but sadly, I can’t.
Aside from some trepidation about wearing patchouli in public, I do love the smell of patchouli. I enjoy many fragrances with a hefty patchouli base, some of which are the original Prada and Angel. I also value and appreciate potent fragrances with excellent longevity. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle can be described as a sweet patchouli number that’s both potent and lasts forever. But the sum of its parts just doesn’t add up to something I can wear. It seems like I ought to like Coco Mademoiselle but it makes me run, not walk, in the other direction.
I also love ambery orientals. Teo Cabanel Alahine is my #1 BFF and I’d classify it as an ambery oriental or perhaps as a floral oriental. I hold perfumer Maurice Roucel high regard as he’s created a whole list of wonderful perfumes I appreciate and wear. But somehow, even though Guerlain L’Instant was created by Roucel and its an ambery oriental it is perhaps my most dreaded fragrance of all time. Guerlain’s L’Instant is the olfactory equivalent of ‘nails down a chalkboard’ for me. It’s been a very long time since I even tried to wear it and I don’t think I attempted wearing it more than twice. When people say Thierry Mugler Angel is tooth-achingly sweet I often think they should be describing L’Instant not Angel. L’Instant is a sharp juxtaposition of citrus and sweeeet that makes my skin crawl. When I read the list of notes it seems like L’Instant should be beautiful, but the reality for me, is that it’s a fearsome monster. I enjoy plenty of sweet fragrances (Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum eau Poudree is one) but for the most part I’m finding I like orientals to be dry (such as Alahine and Canturi) instead of sweet. Or perhaps it’s simply that Guerlain L’Instant is my nemesis.
A few other notes I typically enjoy are mimosa and almond. And as I’ve outlined above I always appreciate long wear and potency. Yves Saint Laurent Cinema is a potent, long wearing fragrance with prominent almond and mimosa notes. In theory, I should like Cinema, but in practice, I don’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, YSL Cinema is not my nemesis and it doesn’t make me run away. In fact, I’ve smelled Cinema on others and find it pleasant. But on me it’s a boredom issue, it just doesn’t do anything, anything at all, for me. I’ve tried wearing it a couple times and within an hour always have the strong urge to remove it and apply something I really enjoy.
Last but not least is a cheery little number which features a pretty spring bouquet and most notably a strong linden note. I love fresh, innocent, natural smelling florals, which is why I adore just about the entire Annick Gotual line and I especially enjoy the scent of linden. La Chasse aux Papillons is one of L’Artisan’s bestsellers, and it even has reasonable longevity AND has just about the prettiest fragrance name ever (La Chasse aux Papillons roughly translates to Chasing Butterflies in English). Nevertheless, I still can’t find anything to like about this fragrance. I blame the pink pepper note which is quite strong in the Extreme version, but it’s also noticeable in the regular edt. This pink pepper note seems jarring and throws off the easy-going florals for me. Aside from this peppery quality, I just can’t get excited about La Chasse. Sure, I could wear it without hating it, but it doesn’t make my heart sing; it’s as if I was wearing SJP Lovely or D&G Light Blue.
Do you have fragrances which seem tailor made for you, but somehow, they fall disappointingly short and you don’t like them?