Scent Semantics #11: MISANTHROPE

I am so behind with this collaboration: I started and have not finished at least a couple of previous topics. I still might publish some of those, but I decided to try to do it this month. I think it was my turn to come up with a word for this month’s joint project with six five bloggers: Portia (A Bottled Rose), Elena (The Plum Girl), Daisy (eau là là !), Old Herbaceous (Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities) and Undina (Undina’s Looking Glass). Unfortunately, Sheila (Alembicated Genie), our sixth member, decided to call it a day (or rather a decade). I was late even with that, so Portia came up with the word. Scent Semantics Project Banner

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This month’s word is: MISANTHROPE

Misanthropy is a general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings.

I’m curious how this word was chosen for the project. I thought about it for a while, and it just didn’t connect to perfumes in my head. In general, for me, perfumes have mostly positive associations. So, I was almost ready to give up and skip this month as well, and then it just happened.

I felt an acute pang of misanthropy towards large companies that buy niche brands. I’m rather sad that in the modern world selling your brand/business is the most common way of achieving success instead of growing it organically. But I understand niche brands owners who choose this route. What I do not understand is when big companies buy those tiny but great brands only to make them almost as miserable as the rest of their offerings. Why? It can’t be that much money in those niche brands (otherwise those niche brands would have grown organically and wouldn’t have sold their IPs, right?).

These thoughts were triggered by my testing of the modern version of Le Labo‘s Rose 31.

I’ve always liked Rose 31. But I figured out that 10 ml of it would be more than enough for me, so about 10 years ago I bought a relatively inexpensive decant from one of the FB groups (if you weren’t here 8 years ago, see my Know-how [not to]: Freshen up a linen closet post about the story of that decant). But now when my decant is coming to an end, I started thinking about replenishing it. So, with a purchase from one of the sites I got an official Rose 31 sample.

First, when I applied perfume from that sample I thought that I was experiencing a loss of smell due to Covid-19 that I’m getting over now: I could barely smell anything, and I didn’t recognize what I smelled. I hurried to the cabinet where I store my old decant and applied a little to the second wrist – and two thoughts hit me immediately: first, there was nothing wrong with my sense of smell, and second, Estee Lauder has completely butchered my favorite perfume. Rose 31 was one of those perfumes with a very original and distinct scent profile that, in my opinion, was very unique and recognizable. Not anymore. Instead of a crisp and well pronounced though perfectly blended rose-cumin-spices accord of the original Rose 31, I smell some muted and muddled concoction that bears a vague resemblance to perfume that I liked and valued for years.

And it makes me angry: why buy rights to produce perfumes that were good and change them beyond recognition?! They’ve “milked” already everything they could from the purchase of Le Labo. Why not discontinue older scents that they are too cheap to produce (or do a good reformulation in case it’s IFRA to blame for the change) and just keep churning out new perfumes that have nothing to be compared to? Rose 31, as much as I liked it, isn’t Chanel No 5 in popularity. And it’s not like people who used to like it will not notice the difference and keep using a new version just because they liked the old one. And new consumers will not read old raving reviews (nobody reads old reviews!) and be fooled into buying a new cheaper version. So why?!!

“Hatred” is probably too strong of an emotion for such an occasion, but I do feel strong dislike, distrust and contempt for these behemoths’ behavior. Today I feel a little bit like a misanthrope.


Image: my own


A Month of Roses: Week 3

Have you heard that it takes 21 days (3 weeks) to form a new habit? I wonder if I should start packing away my all other, not rose-heavy perfumes…

Did you wear any rose perfumes recently? Please share even if you are not interested in artisan chocolate, an entry into the draw for which each comment will secure for you. You have four more days – until the end of the month – to get four more entries for each comment about rose perfume you’re wearing. I’ll announce the winner in the Week 4 report post.

Chocolate Fountain

February 15: Le Labo Rose 31

I completely recovered from my olfactory fatigue with this perfume and now enjoy wearing it. I still think Le Labo’s bottles are ugly so when I’m done with my current decant I’ll go for the next one.

February 16: Tom Ford Café Rose

After wearing it one more time, I can confirm that it was as big of a disappointment as a rose scent as it was when I tested it for my In the Search for the Perfect Coffee post: it’s not unpleasant, it behaves well on my skin but it’s so not interesting… I don’t understand how this one stays in production while much more interesting perfumes from the line get discontinued.

February 17: Keiko Mecheri Mogador

Originally Amouage Lyric was scheduled for that day. But when earlier I ran out of PHI and decided to move Lyric to the first week, I got an empty spot, which I decided to fill in with Mogador – perfume, about which I completely forgot while arranging my calendar and about which I was reminded by rickyrebarco’s comment on the Lucas’ Month of Roses post. What can I say? I like it a lot. I will probably write more once my full bottle arrives.

Red Rose

February 18: Papillon Artisan Perfumes Tobacco Rose

This is one of perfumes that I wanted to love: these are “my” notes (rose, oakmoss, ambergris, beeswax and peru balsam); it’s a good brand, and Tara (A Bottled Rose) who generously sent me a sample of it loves it. But the heart… I mean, the nose wants what it wants, and while I appreciate Tobacco Rose, I don’t want to wear it.

February 19: Tauer Perfumes Rose Flash

I didn’t like the idea of the new line: I do not believe in “more affordable” versions of something that is good: usually it results in cheap knock-offs sold at half the price of something that was good but expensive. Besides, I disliked the previous experiment – Pentachords line. Thanks to hajusuuri, I got to try Rose Flash and I liked it. But I already have Rose Vermeille, which, in my opinion, is a better version of the same idea.

February 20: Dior Ambre Nuit

Ambre Nuit decant fulfilled its destiny: I wore the last of it for this project. I love this perfume – despite it being a misnomer: it is not amber perfume. But it is such a beautiful rose! Why do they have to produce it in those huge bottles?!! Who needs 125 ml of any single perfume?!  But if it weren’t for that small detail (there should be some pun in there), I would be buying a bottle at this point.

Amber Rose

February 21: Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert

I wasn’t thinking straight when I slotted this perfume for a work day: it is too strong for workplace. But since I didn’t want to change the plan (not that anybody would have noticed, I know), I applied just a tiny spritz from my small decant. I understand why many people like Rose Nacrée du Désert but for me it’s still only number two from The Déserts d’Orient line: unlike Songe d’un Bois d’Eté that just doesn’t work for me, I could wear this one if I didn’t have any other perfumes I love more.


By the way, have you read that forming a habit in 21 days is a myth?

Images: my own

Know-how [not to]: Freshen up a linen closet

In the past I said more than once that I wouldn’t mind paying more per milliliter for a perfume released by a brand in a smaller bottle (and I prompted brands to do so every chance I got). And I haven’t changed my mind since: many brands put a lot of efforts into each small detail of their creations, and I would love to have perfumes I want to use as a “full package” – with an original bottle and even a box. What I didn’t take into the consideration was a situation when I actually do not like the “big” bottle itself.

When I thought of getting Le Labo‘s Rose 31 perfume, I immediately decided against 100 ml (and even 50 ml) bottles since not only I didn’t need that amount of any perfume, I didn’t like Le Labo’s bottles at all. Their apothecary style with scientific labels just doesn’t appeal to me. 15 ml bottle would be a perfect size regardless of how the bottle looks (it’s not worse than a plain decanting atomizer, right?) – but with the price of a ml of Rose 31 from a small bottle being almost three times higher than the price of the same ml from the biggest bottle and two times higher if you calculate it based on the 100 ml bottle, I decided to go for a decant.

It was the second split in which I’d ever participated, and my collection was much smaller then, so I waited for it very anxiously. It arrived crashed – and so would have been my enthusiasm for splits if it weren’t for the very nice person who hosted the split: she offered to replace it and even absorbed the cost.

Rose31 Leaked Decant

It all happened so fast – my excitement from getting the package, disappointment from seeing its content gone, and the relief after the great communication with the host of the split – that I felt a little exhausted and, without thinking straight, just sealed the remains of the decant bottle in the same envelope it came in and took it home. Later I realized I didn’t need it but a thick envelop soaked with 10 ml of potent Rose 31 smelled so good that instead of throwing it away I decided to put it into my linen closet.

Envelope with Rose 31 Leaked Decant

My replacement decant arrived soon after that and joined the growing collection of perfumes. I wore Rose 31 once in a while and enjoyed it. Meanwhile the improvised freshener in my linen closet kept its smell for over a year – and I kept being amazed by that every time I would open the door… And then I noticed that choosing what to wear I would pass this perfume over thinking “I don’t feel like it today” and realized that it was happening because coming from the linen closet the scent became so mundane and unvarying that I didn’t envisage it as a personal perfume any longer.

Recently I came across an advice on making your linen closet smell fresh:

All you have to do is spray or dip cotton balls in your favorite scent and place them on the shelves of your storage space or linen closet.

This is a nifty little way to make sure your soft goods stay fresh. Plus, you’ll never have to place expensive air fresheners in the closet.

I chuckled at that “economical” advice calculating how many “expensive air fresheners” I could have bought for the price of Rose 31 decant – or any of “my favorite scents” to that matter. And that is not even counting punitive damages in the form of me not wearing that perfume.

SF Rose Garden

Now, two years later, I enjoy Rose 31 again. I’m amazed that I liked it in the first place since both cumin and agarwood are the notes that rarely play nicely on my skin but somehow the combination of all the components in this perfume was just right. And the staying power of Rose 31 is amazing not only in the closed space of a linen closet.  But something tells me I shouldn’t try Le Labo’s Laundry Detergent they offer in this scent.

Lorraine (Dear Scent Diary) has described Le Labo Rose 31 really close to how I smell it so if you haven’t tried it yet read her review.

Images: my own