emmadelosnardos replied to your post “I’m going to die. Lestrade in Drakkar Noir? Ugh, so perfect. I mean, I would love to smell him in the really good stuff, but he would seriously rock the cheap-but-manly stuff as well.”

How do you know so much about perfumes, PA?

Actually it’s because of wine!

I learned about wine because I have a few friends who are into wine, and talking to them about it is always interesting, and it’s useful to know because it makes such a nice Christmas gift.  And even though I’m not a big wine-drinker myself, I became enchanted by the complexity of its flavors and the way there’s a whole language surrounding wine that focuses on taste and scent—things we don’t really have words for in everyday language.

(Much like opera has words for qualities of sound and voice that most of us don’t have access to.)

And I’ve generally always had this fascination with scent.  It’s such a powerful cue to us, and I’ve always been so aware of it.  The way the air smells different depending on the wind and weather, temperature and season, the individual scents of buildings and places and plants and animals and people I know.  We move in and out and through clouds of scent all the time, every day, it’s this huge part of the tapestry of our lives, but we don’t even know how to describe it or put it into words.

So then one day, I read an interview with a woman who’s a renowned perfume artist, which was also super-cool and interesting, and it occurred to me that perfume also has this deeply nuanced vocabulary of scent surrounding it.

So, partly out of academic interest and partly from a desire to sort of empower myself on the subject, I read up a bit on perfumery, and since then periodically I’ll go play with perfumes at Macy’s or Sephora or whatever, and really I’ve just picked it up through messing around.

I am always kind of grumpy that I have a very challenging personal skin chemistry.  Most things don’t really smell right on me, unless they’re very bold scents that are hard to adulterate or the formulation is fairly heavy.  It makes it harder than I’d like to really get a good idea of the scents when I try them on myself.

(There is a fine perfume shop at an upscale mall near where I live, and I keep toying with the idea of one day going in there and telling the sales people that I’m a writer looking to do some research on scents for my characters, just to see what happens.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *