Last year I bought perfume for the first time in 30 years. In an Alice-in-Wonderland sort of experience, I spent inordinate sums of money on a perfume named Rose Oudh. It was the only scent I found that was a) non-synthetic b) complex enough to enjoy.
Were you not terribly kind people, I would say, “Rejoice in LPC’s floundering!” Why? I have made a discovery and returned to report.
But first, an important question. Have you ever read about “layering” perfumes and then recoiled in horror, assuming that such an act would lead you right down a rabbit hole of overwhelm? Alternatively, have you tried to layer scent at a perfume counter, and woken from a faint, scented, surrounded by whispering gawkers? High WASPs in particular are prone to sensory overwhelm and the occasional swoon.
You may recall that on a trip to Washington, my best friend impulsively bought me a stick of Lush Cosmetic’s Lust. It was only $8.95/.4oz. What you will not recall, since I never told the story, was that after I bought the Rose Oudh Lauren counseled me to try CB⎮I Hate Perfume. I impulsively bought a small vial of Lavender Tea. $12.00/2ml.
“Lust” turned out too sweet. (And if that isn’t the line in someone’s novel, I’ll spend the day wearing a perfume by Britney Spears.) “Lavender Tea,” too acrid.
Rose Oudh, however, I love.
In a moment of insight, I realized that Rose Oudh is a) a floral with acrid undertones b) made of essential oils, lacking chemicals. Duh. Et voilà. “Lusting For Lavender Tea” was born.
The strategy for creating one’s own perfume is as follows. Do not layer blindly, starting from the unknown and moving towards the incomprehensible.
- Use expensive perfume counters to figure out which one-two punch appeals to you. Most of us don’t care all that much about 3 layers of scent, and dry downs, and all those incantations of perfume salespeople. What do you like? Floral/acrid? Floral/musk? Citrus/Sweet? Or even, Sweet/Sour? Sweet/Rough? Sugar and vanilla are everywhere these days.
- Replicate with low-cost, high quality scents, in small quantities. You can even try several different combinations, for the elusive feeling of abundance.
- Rinse and repeat.
All you lack is the cut glass bottle, black velvet bag, and lacquered, locked wooden box. However, $400 in your pocket and the clear red of Lush’s solid perfume more than compensate. No fainting required.
Those of you wiser than I, what scent combinations had you already discovered?
Compensation: No one