Are there perfumes that you just can't stop trying to love? There are several such scents in my life. Some of them I try because they are Classics, great masterpieces that I feel I simply must like or else I am not a true fragrance lover and have no taste. Others are creations of brands and perfumers whom I adore and whose fragrances I ordinarily enjoy. And then there are some that sound so very "me" that I just can't accept the fact that I don't love them. ...I am about to reveal my darkest secrets. Please share the scents you feel you must but are unable to like! Confession is good for the soul...
1. Mitsouko. I did try vintage. I did try perfume. I did try vintage perfume. I tried everything. The dark splendor that Mitsouko reveals to others is lost on me. On me it smells oily and bitter and, frankly, uninteresting.
2. Shalimar. Again, I tried it in every possible vintage and concentration. On a good day, it smells overwhelmingly sweet and smoky. On a bad day, its aroma is reminiscent of that of a nail polish remover. I think I might as well come out completely and reveal that there isn't a single Guerlain left out there that I truly love. And most of them I don't even like. Oh woe is me!
3. Chanel No 5. (All the usual disclaimers of having tried perfume, vintage , etc. apply) My mind understands the importance of the famed fragrance, it admires the classic beauty of the composition, but my heart is unable to warm up to Chanel No 5. It is a cold, unchanging, unyielding scent on me and it leaves me...cold.
4. Nuit de Noel. I keep sampling Nuit Noel simply to understand it. It is strangely elusive to me. I have worn it hundreds of times, and I feel that, if I smelled it on a passer by I would not be able to recognize it. I can't grasp it. It smells strong and forceful and yet...it is surprisingly characterless.
5. Editions de Parfums is without a doubt one of my most favorite fragrance lines. And it bothers me that there are a couple of perfumes there that I can't appreciate. One of them is En Passant. I have read about what it smells like on others. About the ethereal, true-to-life lilac and the spring in the air. En Passant breaks my heart every time I attempt to wear it, because on me it is overwhelmingly aquatic and smells scarily similar to Cool Water.
6. The other Malle I can't love or even understand is L'Eau d'Hiver. What is a point of a scent that is understated to the point of being undetectable? And yet, how can a fragrance so subtle be so strangely intrusive, enveloping me like a ghostly cloak that is annoyingly there and yet...is not?
7. Chergui. If you know a little bit about my perfume tastes you know that the list of Chergui's notes spells my name. And yet when I wear it, I am unmoved. We don't click. There is no sparkle, no chemistry. On others it is a wonder of wonders, on me it is a syrupy-sweet and smoky something with no depth and no development.
8. Fumerie Turque. Ditto.
9. Mille et Une Roses. I keep trying it, attempting to understand why it is so widely loved. So it's roses. And more roses. Gentle and pretty and inoffensive and nothing special. What, what am I missing here?!
10. Last but by no means least...the one scent that I struggled to like for the longest time, the one that I sampled literally thousands of times. You all will be my witnesses now as I say that I will never ever try POTL again. I am moving on. I accepted the fact that it will never smell good on me and that I will never solve the mystery of its undying popularity. To quote Camus, "the tragedy is over. The failure is complete. I turn my head and go away. I took my share in this fight for the impossible."