“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” – Christian Dior
I collect a few things: lobster kitsch, vintage clothing, but when I travel, the one thing I do is wherever I go (especially if I’ve never been there before), is buy a new perfume. Scent is a particularly strong way of triggering memories, and having a particular perfume reminds me of my travel. I always buy it right away when I get somewhere and wear it religiously during my time where I am.
I’ll be upfront: I am not anywhere as well versed on perfumes versus eau de toilettes and eau de parfums as some others may be. I vaguely know the difference. My tastes are not particularly sophisticated (or at least, I don’t think so), but much like art: I know what I like. When I do buy perfume for a trip, I only require two things: 1. that it represents where I was as best as possible, 2. it also has to be flattering on me.
These are the scents that I have in my current collection and what they mean to me.
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray
- Price: $69/1 oz
- Scent Profile: Coffee Accord, Orange Blossom, Cedarwood Essence, Patchouli Essence.
- Where it Represents: Manhattan, NY. (Visited in September 2015.)
- Memories: New love, city living, sharp, sophisticated.
When I visited New York City, it was the first trip I’ve ever done alone and I loved it. I loved being in New York, being in one of the biggest cities in the world, and doing exactly what I wanted. At the same time, this was when I had first started talking to my now significant other and when he admitted he had feelings for me, and when I recognized I was starting to have feelings for him.
I purchased this because it encapsulated a lot at the right time: I don’t get the coffee notes, but I definitely get the orange blossom and cedarwood. Citrus notes are particularly strong on me due to my skin chemistry and I think this does a great job of pointing out the tinge of sharpness in my personality–while also being reflective of how everything in New York has its own brand of twang that you can’t find anywhere else.
When I wear this, I feel sophisticated, but at the same time, the memory of falling for someone and it’s something I wear when I want to feel romantic or when I’m on a date.
The scent is not particularly strong or long-wearing; after an hour, it has definitely died down. But it does linger on my skin for hours afterwards, just in a much lighter fashion. This was my second repurchase (after having gone through a smaller sized spray bottle), so I would repurchase this.
NEST Black Tulip Rollerball
- Price: $27/0.27 oz ($100 per oz; the 1.7 oz bottle is a much better value at $72)
- Scent Profile: Black Amber Plum, Pink Pepper, Japanese Violet
- Where it Represents: Chicago, IL. (Visited February 2017.)
- Memories: Performance, stand-out, evening.
Earlier this year, I went to Chicago to see my favorite musical, Hamilton. For those of you who may be unaware, I actually lived in Chicago for a year and a half before moving to Louisville, so it was a little bit of a homecoming for me too. We visited a lot of the old places I would go to on the weekends, including where we went on one of our first dates in the city.
This particular scent was evocative of Chicago; although when we went it was unseasonably warm (and the first February in years with no snow!), the scent is also warm–exactly what you want when a dry and cold Chiberia winter rolls around. Smelling it from the rollerball, the initial scent I smell is actually more of a tart raspberry scent than the Japanese Violet, pepper, or plum undertones, but on my skin, the pepper definitely comes out very strong, almost overwhelming the other scents but there’s a hint of the plum that makes this a very masculine with a touch of femininity kind of scent.
As such, when I have to give a presentation or have to impress people, you can bet this is the scent I wear.
The scent, much like YSL Black Opium, is not particularly long-wearing. It remains very light after about 45 minutes of wear and if I put my wrist to my nose, I can smell it, but it isn’t particularly strong. I don’t mind that with this scent because it is on the stronger and warmer end of the spectrum and I think something with the kind of profile it has on me (the peppery notes with a touch of the plum), would be too overwhelming if it was stronger.
When I run out, I’d definitely have no problem repurchasing this one.
Atelier Cologne Clementine California
- Price: $28/0.34 oz ($82.35 per oz; the 1.0 oz spray is available for $72, making it a better value)
- Scent Profile: Clementine, Mandarin, Juniper Berries, Star Anise, Sichuan Pepper, Basilica, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Cypress.
- Where it Represents: New Orleans, LA. (Visited September 2017.)
- Memories: Laid-back summertime, humidity, jazz.
I know the name on this indicates it should be something for California, but this struck me as a particular New Orleans kind of feel. Going in early September, it was still fairly humid and warm. I had gone into the Sephora on the French Quarter and when I asked the rep what she thought best represented her city, she stated without hesitation: “citrus.”
It’s something that pairs beautifully with the beignets and seafood, and it gets the sharp note across that you’d easily hear from a trombone playing in the French Quarter. The juniper representing the loudness coming from the clickety-clack of the streetcar going down St. Charles Ave, passing by Tulane and the Audubon Park.
On me, the citrus notes are particularly strong and I actually don’t notice a lot of the Sichuan pepper. I do get a hint of the juniper berries and star anise, but it is after the initial and strong citrus fades away.
Much like the others (and like fruity scents in general), the scent on this one is not terribly strong or long-lived. I can smell faint whispers throughout the day, but after an hour, it becomes more faint as the day goes on.
I’d have no problem repurchasing this one when I run out.
Although my collection is fairly small for now, I plan on having it grow with more experiences and memories to come with it.
Yours ’til Niagara Falls,