Monday, March 23, 2015

Smell is a word, perfume is literature.

"Smell is a word, perfume is literature".
-Hermes Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena
I need a new signature scent.

I've been using the same perfume pretty exclusively for about three years now and I can't smell it at all anymore. I can't even smell it when I put it on, never mind throughout the day. That's no fun because I wear it because I like how it smells and also that's when you start putting on too much and asphyxiating people in elevators.

As much as I don't wanna, it's clearly time to diversify my scent portfolio.

PepĂ© Le Pew - Warner Bros
My signature scent is the Tam Dao which is a woody fragrance by the French perfumer Diptique I currently wear the Eau de Toilette version. They describe the notes as Sandalwood, Rosewood, Cypress, and Ambergris and it is widely considered to be the "holy grail" scent for sandalwood lovers. 

Tam Dao works for all seasons and situations, and other people tell me I smell good on a regular enough basis that I suspect they're probably not *all* making it up for the sake of pleasantry.  I actually feel kind of weird when I don't wear it. 

Added bonus: I *never* put on perfume when I know I will be visiting my father, he has has life threatening breathing problems due to COPD/Emphysema and perfume is an asthma trigger for him. However if I happen to drop by at random Tam Dao does not so far cause him any issues. 
(Obligatory PSA: Quit smoking now folks.)

I have always been fairly sensitive to smells, so of course one of my random superpowers is MAKE PERFUME SMELL REALLY STRONG. My chemistry is pretty weird too and I cannot wear most florals or musks or anything powdery. I turn pleasant florals into walking weaponized botanical gardens, musks become Play-Doh, and even slightly powdery things turn into an olfactory sensation akin to being socked in the face with a giant bottle of baby powder. Whenever possible I spray my perfume on my torso under my clothes so that you have to be very close to me to smell it. Even perfumes I really like can overwhelm me if I apply them to the classic pulse points at the wrists and neck.

So many times, though typically by "too much" I mean "any".
On the up side I can wear patchouli and even die-hard patchouli haters say it smells nice. *shrugs*

It's pretty hard to find a feminine scent which is based on wood or herbal notes and excludes the no-no ingredients so I am not looking forward to the search to find a new one. I did go pretty heavy into the whole Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab experience for a while because they were so good about listing notes, but ultimately I found her tastes a bit too sweet and musk centered for me. 

My previous go-tos were either BPAL's Cathdral (a church incense inspired blend) or layering a very well aged patchouli and a very not-ambery amber (I'd say it was more of a spicy honey scent). On special occasions I would layer the same patchouli with BPAL's LE scent The Candy Butcher (Dark chocolate with a heavy cream undertone) and while these all smell nice and I would still wear them if the whim took me I don't think they fit me as well anymore.

I am going to start with the other non-floral scents in Diptyque's catalog and branch out from there but I'm not expecting this to be easy. It's hard enough to find one scent that is so perfectly you that you feel vaguely incomplete without it, now I'm going to try to find a second?

Do you have a signature scent? How did you find it?


  1. This is what i put on when I feel like wearing perfume:
    It doesn't really smell like paperback books, but it does smell nice. More like sandalwood baby powder, maybe.

    1. I keep meaning to pick up one of those "book" perfumes just to try it out, depending on how the powdery is done that could be really nice!