Shooting from the Lip
My rip-snortin’ jaunt from ballet girl to punkette to pop singer to TV host & all the messy stuff in between
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
Witty and provocative reviews of 1,800+ perfumes
What the Nose Knows
A fun and quirky romp through everyday smells
A cultural history of smell
The Emperor of Scent
Maverick Luca Turin's entertaining tussles with perfume and science
The Perfect Scent
An insider's look at the creation of two bestselling fragrances
A Natural History of the Senses
An aphrodisiac for all five senses
The Secret of ScentLuca Turin's scientific look at perfume
Essence and AlchemyThe voluptuous history of natural perfume.
The phrase “anti-perfume”, recently employed by the folks at Serge Lutens to describe L'eau Serge Lutens, is enough to hurl my Pen Pal Dan into a full-bore crankathon. The way he figures it, “anti-perfume” is a way to pitch perfume to people who hate perfumes, and he's a person who hates people who hate perfumes.
Now, I'm the first person to admit to intolerance for the intolerant (well actually, I'm the second, after Dan). But if people who hold their own noses while wearing fragrance really do exist, there's actually a pretty respectable gaggle of nice smells for them to wear and enjoy (or not, as the case may be).
In the “enjoyable puff of nothingness” category, I'd nominate Comme des Garçons Odeur 53 and Odeur 71, two perfumes that conjure distant associations in the way of tangled dreams half-remembered the morning after. Dreams without plot or purpose, only emotion.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Cote d'Amour is another fine anti-perfume: flat florals that are oddly dry and slightly salty. Come the full furnace blast of summer, I've got my dibs on a bottle of that.
And then there's Frédéric Malle L'eau d'Hiver, which is so “anti” that it wipes my olfactory memory banks clean whenever I smell it. Consequently, it's an utter novelty with each new encounter. L'eau d'Hiver is the perfume version of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Hermès' latest, Voyage d'Hermès, is firmly part of the anti-perfume crowd. With a sigh of citrus, a whisper of musk and a sneeze of spice, I'd call it an “impression” rather than a fragrance. Jean Claude Ellena dialed the volume right down on every element here, but it still hangs together. It's a look at a brisk, fresh, clean-but-not-soapy smell through the wrong end of a telescope.
Perfume-haters and lovers alike will enjoy the trip, even if the only voyage this eau de toilette takes you on is inside your own freshly spring cleaned, pleasantly spotless mind.
Fumies, what are some of your favorite “enjoyable puff of nothingness” scents?
Voyage d'Hermès is available from Hermes.com starting at $125 for 3.3 oz