An ancient Parfumista’s wisdom teaches us:
“Do not buy a perfume unsniffed.”
I haven’t. It still hasn’t helped.
What can be better than spending time with friends you haven’t seen for a long while? To spend it tasting great wines in the magnificent wine country. And to make it even better add a perfume testing (at the end of the day, of course, not to ruin the appreciation of wines).
I don’t know if it was the perfume itself, the wine we tasted earlier this day or the dinner at a somewhat pretentious Michelin starred restaurant, but it was a love at first sniff. I opened the vial, put a couple of drops to my wrist, inhaled the aroma and started planning when and where I will buy it. The label on my vial stated Frederic Malle Carnal Flower.
I’d read many reviews for Carnal Flower long before I smelled it for the first time. They all sounded completely different from what I was experiencing but why would I care? I loved it, I wanted to own it.
The next day I could hardly wait until I got back to the hotel. I rushed into my room, got the precious vial, applied the perfume thriftily, brought the wrist up to my nose, inhaled… and couldn’t believe myself: I didn’t smell a thing! I could still see a wet spot on my skin – but that was it. Not a single note. Not the faintest trace of the beautiful aroma with which I fell in love the night before. Frantically I turned to my friends gracelessly invading their noses’ space with my hand: “Can you smell anything? Can you”? – “Sure, not too strong but nice…” I couldn’t and I was in despair.
In the days that followed I kept trying. For a second or two I seemed to be able to smell it and then it disappeared again. And then one day it was back. And I still thought it was amazing.
The next step was obvious and rather simple: to buy it. Ebay complaisantly offered a 10 ml (unreasonably expensive per ml) travel size bottle which I purchased happily.
The first suspicion arose when I sniffed the box in which the perfume arrived. But I still hoped it was transferred from some other perfume stored nearby.
I sprayed a couple of squirts – on my neck, on my wrists… A complete disaster: it didn’t smell AT ALL like the perfume that I loved. It wasn’t “not as pleasant” from a spray as I remembered it from a dab vial (that happens sometimes). It wasn’t slightly different, stronger or more subtle. It was a completely different scent.
I brought both the bottle and my scarily diminishing sample vial to work. I applied both perfumes to my co-workers wrists (both mine were already taken y the imposter so I couldn’t do a parallel testing myself). I smelled her wrists, I asked couple more co-workers to do the same. The verdict was unanimous: those two were definitely two different perfumes.
Of course, at this point I remembered all the reviews describing Carnal Flower as a big white floral – which I could never smell but disregarded since I thought it was my personal strange reaction. My coincidental recent testing of the L’Artisan Tubéreuse only confirmed my certainty that the bottle I’ve bought indeed was a genuine bottle of Carnal Flower (an unmistakable tuberose that I really disliked) and that I didn’t have a slightest idea of which fragrance I tried and fell in love with.
A double elusive perfume!
Without too much hope but rather as a desperate attempt to at least try to save the situation I wrote to Aedes de Venustas site ) from which I bought the sample. I told my sad story and pleaded for help. I didn’t need the “right” sample since I already had 10 ml bottle of that right but completely wrong perfume. I wanted to find my new love. Five minutes later when I saw a response from them arriving to my inbox I was sure it would say that there was nothing they could do for me. But I was wrong. A guy named Robert suggested that I sent my vial back to them and they would try to figure it out. Which I did (reluctantly and after getting the assurance that they would send it back to me – no matter how little would be left – in case if they cannot identify the perfume).
I still cannot believe that but they were able to find my elusive darling: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. After reading reviews all over the diapason from one to five stars, I know that I wasn’t imagining things, and the perfume’s elusiveness is a phenomenon encountered by many others.
The important decision I have to make now: do I need a full size bottle or will a travel size bottle suffice? That is the question.
Images: originals from Aedes’s site, processed by me.