To each person, a perfume smells different. Anyone who smells a perfume unlocks memories that are uniquely theirs and associate what they smell with those memories. Some smells, of course, are guaranteed to unlock pleasant memories that we find attractive – flowers, rain, fresh bread, freshly cut lawn or hay, incense, chocolate, fruit, the sea, etc.
Other odors are on the edge of unpleasant, or down-right nasty – stinky things, bitter things, too strong smells that make you feel nauseous. These smells include anything overpowering or reminiscent of sickness or uncleanliness, or something non-human, like machines.
Sometimes, though, you might just be walking along somewhere when you suddenly catch a whiff of something that draws your nose to it like a cat’s to catnip.
The other day, in a supermarket queue, I smelled such a delicious smell, so warm and rich and spicy, that I could not resist approaching the wearer and asking her the name of her perfume. The answer: Chanel Allure Sensuelle. Sensual and alluring indeed! And what a pleasure it was to have such a lovely moment in a very dull and sweaty-smelling place.
The woman said that it is her signature perfume and that she has been wearing it for years. It is in fact a perfume that has been around for more than a decade. Perfumer Jacques Polge created Allure Sensuelle for Chanel in 2005. It is a more mysterious, warmer and more oriental version of the classic Chanel perfume, Allure. The top notes contain bergamot, mandarin orange and pink pepper. The middle notes, or heart, contains jasmine, rose, iris, candied fruits (that’s the sweetness you smell), and vetiver. The base notes are French vanilla, amber, patchouli (very Sixties), and frankincense.
So you can see why the woman actually smelled a lot like Christmas in a rose garden in Summer – at least to me! I had a momentary concern that she would think I am behaving like Tarzan in that 1999 Disney animation movie, and was about to sniff her, then give her a lick or two. No, I did not. Eeeeuuw! It is perfectly respectable to ask someone the name of their perfume, since the perfumes that people wear are expressions of themselves and their sense of aesthetics, which they direct to those around them.
Image by: Artem Bali. Pexels License CC0. ✓ Free for personal and commercial use; ✓ No attribution required
Image by: Lisa Fotios. Pexels License CC0 ✓ Free for personal and commercial use; ✓ No attribution required