30 Days of Scent – Day Nineteen – A Pause, for Christmas   Leave a comment

Last Friday was Christmas, and rather than telling you which scent I wore I wanted to write about the scents I was given for Christmas, and also muse on the giving of fragrance to others.

I have a wishlist on Amazon, as many people do, and I tend to spell out which scents I like in case a friend or family member is inspired to gift me something because giving fragrances to other people is fraught with peril.  What smells good to one person may not to another, and even if it smells good in the bottle, or on a tester strip, an amazing perfume can go south quickly on someone’s skin if their skin chemistry isn’t exactly right for all of the chemicals involved.  Because, let’s face it: even if the scent we dab in all the right places is made of entirely natural ingredients, we’re still applying foreign substances to ourselves and hoping it will come out smelling lovely.  And we get it wrong so often – sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes because we want so badly for something to work when it doesn’t, and sometimes because we gave something to someone without consulting them.

Consider, if you will, White Linen, by Estée Lauder.  This was my mother’s signature scent when I was growing up, and it smelled amazing on her – floral and woody, green and powdery, with just a touch of aldehydes.  It was everything I wanted for myself in a perfume, and it was the one scent of hers she wouldn’t let me try on.  I would ask her, and she would divert me with another scent, one that was not as special to her, and I finally stopped asking but vowed that, when I got old enough, I would wear it myself.

And then, one day, my parents took my brothers on vacation and left me home for a week because I had to work, and I took the chance to spray myself with the fragrance I’d been coveting since I was too young to wear any scent but Ivory soap.  And it was horrible – the combination of notes that worked so well on my mother went terribly wrong on me; White Linen was too sharp, and the aldehydes were super strong when mixed with my skin chemistry, and all the things I loved about it on my mother were things I hated on myself.  But, a few months later, I tried it again with the same result.

And again a year later.  And again two years after that.  And again, and again, and again because I so wanted it to work.  In fact, the last time I tried it was just two years ago, with the same result…and a friend of mine asked me when I was going to stop torturing myself my wearing something that I know I can’t wear.

I stopped my longing for White Linen, and its many derivatives that I also tried, that day, and went back to enjoying what works on me and leaving what doesn’t behind.  For the most part.  Recent reviews not included.

I don’t think my mother knew what she was doing when she wouldn’t let me try it out as a child, but I do think she (subconsciously) realized that something might go oddly with our relationship if we ended up wearing the same fragrance.  Or, hell, maybe she just didn’t want to share.  Either way, I should have taken the hint, regardless of the reasoning behind it: White Linen is not for me.  And, with all of the other lovely Estée Lauder scents that do work on me, I’m okay with that.  Now, anyway.

So, I’m specific about what scents I want to own, and rarely include anything on my list that I don’t already know goes well with my skin chemistry; I default to try before I buy, and it hasn’t failed me.  Which brings me to the fact that I did end up with two new scents as Christmas gifts, along with one I specifically requested.

From my husband, who reads my wishlist, La Chasse Aux Papillions by L’Artisan Parfumeur.  I reviewed it back in March of 2015.

From my son, Wild Madagascar Vanilla by Bath & Body Works, which was new to me.  The jasmine it purports to have excites me, but the sandalwood worries me a bit.

From my mother, Waterlily Sun by Estée Lauder which I’ve wanted but not tried because of my wariness of musk.  Fortunately, it’s in a rollerball.

I will be wearing, and reviewing, all of these in the next few days.  And, potentially, some others, too – because my in-laws decided to encourage me to shop for my own gift this year, and there are some decants over at The Perfumed Court that are calling my name.

So, to all who read my meandering musings over here at Eating Monsters, here’s to a wonderfully scented Holiday Season, and if you’re planning to give the gift of scent, take note from the words of J.B. Smoove:

“Perfume works with the chemistry of your lady and your lady alone. They go together. You don’t want to embarrass your lady. You bring the wrong perfume home, you put it on her, and it smells like garbage truck juice.”

Much love,



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