When political prisoner Ingrid Betancourt was released after six years of captivity, she was asked how the experience had changed her. Her complicated response included a commitment to “always have flowers in my room and wear perfume.” The experience of being brutally treated, and, she emphasizes, isolated from most of the human cultural forms she […]Read More Perfume as luxury, art, and consumer compulsion
Created in 2015 by Francois Demachy, and fronted by the emotionally absent (or pissed off) face of Johnny Depp, Dior Sauvage has become an institutionalized expression of contemporary Western masculinity. The product invites scrutiny, then, not just from the perfume community, but from anyone interested in the politics and aesthetics of 21st century masculinity. Even […]Read More Synthetic masculinity: Coming to terms with Dior Sauvage
We may claim to be uninfluenced by a beautiful face or elaborate packaging, but, as far as I know, that’s a big lie. Whether we like it or not, our judgments are, more or less, necessarily influenced by “external factors” such as color, shape, apparent age, and on and on. This, it seems, is simply […]Read More Do you judge a perfume by its bottle? Are you sure about that?
There can be little doubt that, for the most part, mainstream perfume consumerism succeeds mainly because of its capacity to fan the flames of our desires to be other than we are. Whether we want to be sexier, more confident, successful, or mysterious, the designer perfume houses know how to push our buttons. For me, […]Read More QUICK SNIFF: The adult practice of playing perfume dress-up
“What do you think of this?” I ask hopefully, as I place my perfume-scented wrist near my friend’s face. When her nose wrinkles and she pulls away, I hear a scale descending into a minor chord. I am disappointed. “What IS that?” she asks, and, as all hope that she will share my pleasure is […]Read More Respecting the perfume tastes of others: Is tolerance really the best we can do?
Though Fancy Nights is a darling of the fragcom, I don’t just dislike it, I find it deeply distasteful. Since there’s nothing in particular about the relationship of notes that should make me react so negatively, it has occurred to me that part of my negativity may be rooted in snobbish bias. I mean, not […]Read More QUICK SNIFF: A bias against cheapies?
As a doorway into the complex nature of beauty and attraction, you couldn’t do much better than experience complex perfumes. Though many of them are merely pretty, or even achingly pretty, those that lodge in our consciousness, that call us back for another sniff (and then another and another) often aren’t “pretty” at all. In […]Read More Beyond the binary: The ugly-beautiful dance of complex perfumes