Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smelliness I Actually Enjoy!

My brother-in-law is one classy guy. He's a fancy-shmancy magazine editor, and travels all over the world on a constant basis, and loves my sister very much and takes care of her every need and wish and desire. And when he found out that I was going to be alone on Christmas, he insisted that I come spend the day with them, even though (a) his very-high-maintenance mother was visiting for a week and (b) I would be arriving at 2 a.m.

He and my sister then proceeded to shower me with more books than I could carry (they're both editors -- they get sent ten advance copies of things every day, and will never actually read all that stuff), plus she gave me some yarn and he gave me a gorgeous bottle of Jo Malone perfume.

Now, I am an unscented gal, for the most part. You probably know this about me. And I never buy perfume for myself because I have never been one to have money lying around for those little luxuries (when I do, I try to pay a little extra on my student loans). I've found precisely two perfumes in my entire life that I could tolerate. One was Cover Girl's Navy, and I was about ten years old, and I held my little sample vial of Navy very dear because my mother forbid me to wear perfume at such a young age (I recently found the vial while I was cleaning out my bathroom drawer in my parents' house last month -- it was fully evaporated, and I was sad). The other perfume I have ever really liked is Bare Escentuals' now-discontinued-in-spray-form Perfect Black Dress, which my sister gave me a few years ago and I rarely wear, but I did bond with another woman who eventually introduced me to my husband, because we both love Perfect Black Dress. I occasionally try Givenchy's Very Irresistible (also a gift from my sister) because I really do like the scent, but it always ends up being overpowering -- I get overwhelmed in the car driving to whatever event we're attending, and my husband hates it and gets angry that I smell different, so I just don't wear it very much.

Back to Christmas... I unwrapped this present from my brother-in-law, saw that it was a very generously-sized bottle of expensive perfume -- and perfume is such a personal gift, you really have to know your recipient's tastes like you know your own -- and was both overwhelmed with his thoughtfulness and a little bit apprehensive about having to wear a scent I might not like. I sprayed a little on my wrist right there under the Christmas tree... and to my surprise and delight, I love love love this scent. And through the whole day, I continued to love it. (Even better, my husband likes it too: he mostly doesn't notice it, which is just as good considering that he doesn't like anything that makes me smell not-like-me, but when I asked him directly, he said that yes, he doesn't hate it.)

The scent is Jo Malone's White Jasmine and Mint, which the website claims is a "light green floral" fragrance. I've always tried to steer away from florals because they tend to be too cloying to my nose. Not that I wear much perfume, like I said, but I think of myself as a person who likes the spicy spectrum of scents (and maybe a bit of citrus in the morning, but not if it's going to last later into the day). The White Jasmine and Mint has floral notes, obviously, but has woody and spicy notes as well (coriander and cardamom on top, cedar wood and vetiver underneath). And the mint is so subtle as to be almost unrecognizable at first sniff. I looked at the label after I spritzed it on and thought "really? there's mint in here?" But it becomes apparent -- in a really good, not overpowering way -- after a few seconds. And be sure to Discover the Story of this fragrance, because this is one "sensorial journey" definitely worth discovering!

This stuff is expensive. I would never buy it for myself, but I do so love having such a beautiful bottle sitting on my shelf, and I love wearing it. (Last Friday I wore it to a work dinner and I kept trying to smell my wrists -- through my gloves -- while driving. Not safe! But Mmmm! I smelled good! And it's great for daytime wear, too; I felt so grown-up and professional wearing it to work this week.) And if I ever come across another free sample vial, I will hoard it like the ten-year-old I used to be, in preparation for the day that I use up the giant bottle sitting in my bathroom cabinet.

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