Sunday, May 25, 2008


Working on my latest article got me thinking about perfume and scents. I like all the smelly things – even while washing hands I prefer “Grapefruit and Bergamot” to any other no smelling substances. Scents are such powerful tools – in seconds they can transport you back in time, generate interest in other person or create an intense feeling of dislike.

Aroma of freshly grounded coffee reminds me of home – that was/is my mom’s way of starting the day; cinnamon associated with my grandmother and holidays because she often used it in baking. I loved the smell of Moscow metro and specific smell of dusty streets after the rain; the aromas of burning candles always manage to calm me down.

Early on I figured out that scents can create a certain mood – for example, rose oil helped me to concentrate. Dubbed on the wrists, it carried me through numerous nights of late studying. Interestingly, I never used it under other circumstances.

My very first perfume was Diorissimo by Christian Dior. It was a present for my 16th birthday. I cannot even say if I liked it or not, but since I didn’t have anything else, I used it, of course.

In college I found “Nefertiti.” It was quite a strong scent for a young person but it made me feel confident, more experience than I was in reality. Then, again as a present, I got Anue, French perfume. It was love from first sniff. It had undeniably masculine quality, nothing floral or fruity about it, but ,gosh, it was wonderful. The testament of its superior quality was that my boyfriend of that time couldn’t resist using it now and then, and this man had an extremely good taste. Unfortunately, I never was able to find this perfume again.

I had a major fiasco with fragrance in the States. Marylin Monroe and her famous love for Chanel # 5 convinced me to put it on my wish list. I got it for Christmas – open it, expecting some magic, and...hated it. It smelled like my grandmother’s perfume to me. Nice as a memory but totally unwearable; had to give it to a friend.

In 2001 in DC I discovered Adrienne Vittadini by Adrienne Vittadini. It was the first and last time so far when I met a sales person who not only loved but knew about perfumes. She listened to my feeble attempts to describe what I am looking for – not overly sweet, a bit spicy, not transparent but also not in your face - and showed me several bottles. Adrienne Vittadini captured me – it felt refreshing but spicy at the same time, very different from anything I smelled before; it also blurred the border of masculine/feminine divisions of perfume, which I always like.

Lanvin Eclat D'Arpege was discovered in Zagreb in 2003 and still is one of my favourite spring scents. I find myself returning to it every spring for about four years. It is fruity, but sophisticated, very feminine and bright. For me it is joy captured in the bottle.

Summer of 2004 went under the sign of Calvin Klein “Be”. It felt so subtle, so clean, so easy to wear – perfect travel companion. Now though I find it lacking in character.

Channel # 19, discovered in Beijing, became my one and only choice for more than a year. Its understated elegance stopped me from experimenting with other perfumes. It is so harmonious, there is nothing to add or subtract – it fitted all moods perfectly. For a while I thought I found my signature scent.

But then we came to Iceland - long winter, dark days and lousy weather shattered my confidence and enforced my need for comfort. I craved for something that can wrap me into its layers and carry me through the day – “Cashmere Mist” by Donna Karan had this ability.

Spring brought the desire for new discoveries and as a result – L’Air du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer found its way to my heart. It is slightly dry, spicy and has a certain bite into it.

My four favourites at the moment are:

  • L’Air du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer
  • Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan
  • Eclat D'Arpege by Lanvin
  • Chanel # 19


Anonymous said...

" boyfriend of that time couldn’t resist using it from time to time, and this man had an extremely good taste"

Yeah, this is exactly what a husband likes to hear about from his wife. Don't you know you are supposed to have completely forgotten such things. Hmm, are you suggesting I don't have good taste?!

C&C said...

Well,darling, you certainly have a good taste - you married me, didn't you :)