Quite a while back I wrote about my adventures, and misadventures, with perfume. I’m on the hunt again, as it turns out. The store where I found my last, great fragrance is now out of business; and it’s not available anywhere else in Toronto. Woe is me.
This being the season when men buy perfume for women (and vice versa), yesterday’s Toronto Globe & Mail had a special section on fragrance. Perfect timing for me. Before I get too far along in this story, I’ll just mention I’ve written about fragrance in my careers as both a copywriter and publicist. But never, ever, have I written, or read, a description like the one I’m about to share.
The fragrance is “Black Saffron”. It has been created by Byredo Parfums, a Stockholm-based fragrance house, founded in 2006. What you’re about to read is verbatim. It is exactly what was said in the newspaper. I mean it:
“Always expect the unexpected from this Sweden-based niche label with Canadian DNA (founder Ben Gorham grew up in Oakville, Ont.). Black Saffron gives off spice and leather and if you inhale deep enough, you might even smell rubber tires. Finishing with a delicate veil of violet. It proposes a striking variation on sexy.”
Rubber tires? A striking variation on sexy? No kidding. Yours, by the way, for a mere $235 for 100 ml (3.381 US fluid ounces). For the record, I went and gave it a sniff yesterday. It smelled exactly like tires. Insane. Gross.
Forget the price for a minute. What woman wants to smell like a BF Goodrich all-season radial? And what man wants his woman smelling like one? But what do I know? One of my ex’s loved cars so much, he’d sit in the garage, admiring them. I’m serious. He put ‘pin-ups’ of Ferrari’s and Maserati’s and Lamborghini’s on the wall. He had a bar fridge and a stereo in there. A couple of comfortable chairs. Magazines. And he and his buddies would hang out and listen to the engines purr.
Maybe if I’d stopped dabbing Opium behind my ears, and smelled more like burning rubber, premium gasoline or his preferred motor oil we’d still be together? You know, Eau de Body Shop. No, I won’t be calling and asking.
Makes me wonder, though. Does this mean that a chef might get really turned on if his girlfriend smelled like a slab of medium-rare prime rib? What would they do if they wanted to spice things up? Slather Dijon or horseradish sauce all over each other and lick it off? Being gently nibbled on the side of your neck is one thing. Having your fella tuck a napkin under his chin and bring out the cutlery, is another.
Reminds me of those Grey Poupon commercials. Have you ever seen them? There’s one where a couple of Rolls (or other, equally expensive cars) pull up beside each other. One driver lowers his window and asks the other: “Pardon me. Would you have any Grey Poupon?” Guess in my scenario, as soon as things were getting nice and amorous, a waiter would pop into the bedroom and ask: “Pardon me, would you care for some Grey Poupon?”
Used to be, wearing perfume was about declaring something about yourself. Your personality. Your ‘mood’. It was about romance. And seduction. It’s supposed to be exotic. And erotic. Mysterious. Subtle. Enticing. Flirtatious. Innocent. Playful. Heady. Sexy. Not reminiscent of a tune-up.
Jo Malone is another fragrance designer best known for her ‘unexpected’ scents: Pear, Grapefruit, Basil, Pomegranate, Wild Fig, Rhubarb.
In romantic novels they always write that a woman’s scent lingers long after she’s left the room. I think that’s a lovely thought, don’t you? Let’s be sure of one thing, though. When I walk through the door, I don’t want everyone to think they’re in the produce section at the grocery store.
Sorry, maybe I’m old fashioned. Give me jasmine, or patchouli, bergamot, or musk, even gardenia, verbena, or vanilla any day. I have no desire to smell like wet wool.