Scent of a Woman

Anne- Laure was immaculate.  She wore underwear so delicate it could only be hand-washed and she had perfect nails and lustrous, onyx hair that she’d never tried to highlight, a trend that she considers vulgar and base. . . .

When she came to bed, she did so smelling of rosemary with her dark hair in a high bun, hair I had been besotted with back in grad school, but now no longer touched. . . . .

Anne had on her “special night” perfume, a heady mix of bergamot and neroli, along with a silk rose blouse and wide-legged, wool pants with heels.

— Courtney Maum, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You


Pelagia always smelled of rosemary.  It was a young, fresh scent, and it reminded him of festive meals at home. . . . In the darkness he held her face in his hands.  It still smelled of rosemary, and he inhaled the scent so deeply it hurt his mending ribs.  

–Louis de Bernieres, Corelli’s Mandolin

I’ll never be remotely French.  I’m quite attached, to my machine-washable, cotton, Hanes 6-packs.  Also I’ve started highlighting my hair.  Around age 30 I became less concerned about looking like I’m trying too hard and more concerned about looking like I’m not trying at all.

But I would like to smell nice.

My first real perfume was Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful.”  It was a wedding gift from my godmother.  (The advertising campaign works well, apparently.)  It’s a lovely scent, especially after an hour or so, but the “top notes” that hit my nose upon the first spray are not my favorite.  I think they are “green” or “floral” scents, but they smell harsh and chemical-y to me.

I moved on to Estee Lauder’s “Pleasures,” and I’m almost through my second bottle.  It’s warmer but still, I’ve decided, more cool and floral than I’d like.

What to try next?

I’ve fallen in love with bergamot, since using a body butter scented with bergamot oil.  Also I love the smell of cardamom.  I keep a bottle of cardamom pods in my spice cabinet.  Handed down to me when my sister moved, they’re long past the “use by” date, but I stick my nose in the bottle for instant aromatherapy.

And smelling like rosemary is a heavenly idea, isn’t it?

I don’t really know where to begin, especially as I have limited options in my town.  Pinrose has a fun program that suggests scents to you based on your style, color, and music preferences.  It is limited to its own line of a dozen or so scents, though.

Based on an internet search, I think I might like a scent called  A Bientot by Jacques Zolty (bergamot, cardamom, and rosemary!), but I’m hesitant (to put it lightly) to spend three figures on a bottle without sampling it first.

I’ve heard Sephora has an in-store perfume recommendation machine, but I haven’t had the chance to try one.  The nearest Sephora is a ways away from me.

What about you?  Do you wear perfume?  If you do, what do you wear?

As for the books: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is a cautionary tale of sorts, a story about a man who cheats on his wife then tries to win her back.  It shows the troubles that come when self-absorbed people attempt marriage.  You can read more about it here.  It has some extremely explicit sexual content, so be forewarned.

You can read my quick review of Corelli’s Mandolin here.  I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Linking up with Jessica of Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday.

*Scent of a Woman is a movie I’ve never seen.  The title comes from a blind character’s supposed ability to decipher a women’s personality, simply by her scent.  What would my scent say about me, I wonder?



23 thoughts on “Scent of a Woman

  1. I don’t have a perfume anymore…they don’t make it, and I haven’t found anything I like. When my youngest was little, he said to me one day, “you smell nice, Mom.”
    It was my deodorant. 😉

  2. I like Viva La Juicy La Fleur (eau de toilette) and Viva La Juicy Noir (perfume). So far I’m still working off small vials from my Birchbox subscription, though. Sephora definitely offers a lot in the way of perfume samples. Birchbox is another great way to try perfumes.

  3. I like Clinique’s “Aromatic Elixer”. I wore it when Rocky was born and he loves it. He always comments when I wear it. It’s not in the 3 digits. Don’t think I’d ever go that high. My deodorant smells good too.

  4. Though an introvert, my husband is in sales. He is very polite and I was shocked when he told me that he actually asked a client which perfume she was wearing because he liked it so much! I seldom wear perfume, but when I do, it is D&G Light Blue. I also like Pleasures from Estée Lauder. Maybe you would like Pleasures Intense?

    • I’ll try out Pleasures Intense. Actually, that’s one I can sample easily because a store in our town has an Estee Lauder & Clinique counter. . . . I’m curious now what the perfume the client was wearing!

      • It was Light Blue! I bought it the day he told me that. It really is lovely and not too expensive. 🙂 Maybe you could have your husband sample the perfumes, too. However, perfume bothers my asthma whether on me or someone else, so, like I said, I rarely wear it.

  5. There’s a great hand salve by Burt’s Bees that is intoxicatingly Rosemary. But that only addresses the Rosemary dilemma. And, as with most hand salves that I’ve found, it starts out rather greasy before leaving you with pleasingly moisturized, Rosemary-scented hands. Definitely still searching for a perfume I can live with…

  6. For most of my life, I have worn Calvin Klein’s “Romance”. Purchased for me by my high school boyfriend and then, completely unwittingly, by my husband. As those have been the two longest relationships in my life, I figure they must be on to something. Between them, when I tried to find my own scent, I wore Dolce & Gabbana’s “Light Blue” and, I think, something else that apparently was very forgettable. I have always liked “light and airy” scents, nothing too heavy or floral, but that’s just me. Perfumes are fun! Have fun finding yours!

  7. Chance by Channel, i’ve worn it for years now. Love it to death. Yes, it’s expensive (I get the perfume, not the cologne) but it is the only sent I use, and one bottle lasts (for me) about two years.

  8. I’m embarrassed to own up to both these things: first, that I’m currently wearing a sample of calvin klein “forbidden euphoria” and loving it; and two, that my favorite scent came from Gap and has since been discontinued–So Pink. It sounds like I’m still 15 and need my mom to come pick me up from the mall.

  9. My current favorite is a scent my mother-in-law bought me before she was my MIL. I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I do now. I just looked up what scents are in it, and it has two of your favorites: bergamot (in top note) and rosemary (in middle). I love how it smells over time and it seems to uplift my mood when I wear it. You may want to check it out! (spray on yourself and wait a few minutes for the best way to know if you’ll like it. I never can tell if it’s sprayed on a piece of paper..)

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