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.
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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