It’s less about the scent,
And more about the real story behind it.
As with any good read, it’s the journey, and not the destination, which makes us turn the pages, one by one by one, to the very end. So too in the instance of fragrances, I feel. In the grand scale of things, it isn’t so much the mastery in creating a harmonious accord that which intrigues me, as it is discovering (and walking down) the path leading to its inception.
Of course, at its heart, the simplest answer to why I love perfumes is that perfume, like most beautiful things, make me happy. The more convoluted response, however, is such a complex topic that some have gone on to establish reputations and careers based on the seemingly basic subject of scents. Yes, perfume is a labyrinthine subject, one requiring years of study. It isn’t just about the commercial beauty of a product or the innovative design of its host decanter. There’s that all potent intermingling of chemistry with fashion, and culture, and trends.
Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita, probably described it best in saying that when it comes to great literature, ideas are beside the point; it is the story that matters. Personally, the stories fragrances tell enchant me more than their technical perfection.
Far and away more.
Besides its own inherent history, a perfume can be a ticket to creating your own fantasy.
If I wish it, I can, via a scant spritz or two, live out a film noir fantasy (think Iris and dark leather notes). Or travel to Morocco (orange blossoms, cedarwood, and a roguish prince, anyone?). Head back into my childhood (camellias and fresh rain). A delicate pump of the decanter, and I’m instantly transported where no airplane could ever take me. Or, in the case of the Gilded Fox, drop it like a bombshell.
As a working woman with children (read: harried, frenzied female whose hair leans frequently towards the greasy rather than the coiffed), my typical day is more about routine than glamour, but perfume is one of the methods I deploy to pretend otherwise. To loose myself, albeit for a little while, in a make-believe world of whatever I have the inclination for, at any given moment.
When my nose first met Gilded Fox, I was overwhelmed, yes, I readily admit it. Overwhelmed by a smouldering potion reminiscent of a smoky jazz bar and femme fatales. And a hint of Crème Brûlée.
O V E R W H E L M E D
Overwhelmed because I’m the last person in the world to ever place myself even within the vicinity of the bombshell category. Or siren. Or anything remotely sultry. I’ve always believed myself to be a little manly. A little rock n roll. A lot sassy. A lot feisty. Not very feminine, certainly not sexy. Unapologetic. Introverted. Sometimes shy. Oftentimes
rude blunt honest.
Certainly nothing that would fit the bill of a bombshell. Or femme fatale.
And yet, there was something about Gilded Fox which made me not dismiss it after that virgin whiff. Afterall, if experts are to be believed, one cannot formulate an opinion on something quite so emotive as a perfume based only upon the first encounter. It’s like proclaiming a passionate loathing for Bach after listening to a mere five seconds of one of his Fugues.
Any perfume, however simple or complex, requires more than a single encounter. For instance, professional tasters subscribe to the belief that it can take up to ten tries, to determine if you dislike a flavor, and that this same theory applies to scents. Since a fragrant blend will change its character (and style) over time, it’s especially important to be patient. Why, even the mood in which you smell can play a crucial role in shaping your judgement.
But should we continue with something we don’t like? There are camps which proclaim that our first whiff is the most honest, and telling. Also, aren’t there enough scents out there with which we immediately feel a connection? There’s a very fine balance between forcing oneself to like something, and keeping an open mind to new sensory thrills. In my books, the biggest satisfaction (and the most exhilarating pleasure) of perfume is in discovery. We all naturally gravitate to certain types of aromas, but when you push the boundary just a smidge, you might just stumble upon the most unexpected of treasures.
I took my time in experiencing the Gilded Fox. Savouring it, even. Over a period of time. A month, to be precise. Of course, it was tempting to (a) shove it aside after that first time; or (b) forging ahead in the completely different direction, spritz myself all over with it (I’ve never believed in doing things in moderation). But then I remembered that when it comes to perfumes, the enjoyment lies often in the anticipation of pleasure. Especially when it comes to scents which don’t immediately appeal to me. I challenge myself by wearing them, repeatedly, and, on occasion, I stumble upon.
And that, my friends, is how I’d describe my relationship with the Gilded Fox. It is heady. Bold. Quite memorable. With a hint of vulnerability and sweetness. It is the perfect embodiment of a woman who uses perfume to embellish her moods. Who believes in seducing herself, first and foremost, which makes for such a refreshing twist in this day and age when the vast majority of perfume commercials suggest naught but making the opposite sex swoon.
Gilded Fox is for a bombshell, afterall. A bombshell believes in her own fantasies. Who behaves as if all of life is a movie and she is the star. And that perfumes are part of her wardrobe and her emotional set design.
I can work with that.
p/s my photos by Sofia Touassa
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