I've been thinking about Jo Malone colognes ever since that fateful day in September when my friend and I wandered into the shop and bought something for a friend. Since then I've been having a merry time checking out scents, but nothing got me as much as the Vintage Gardenia scent I remembered from my first visit to Jo Malone. It has simplicity without being too one note, and there was something very sensual about it, even though it's a clean, white floral scent.

I've been indifferent to perfume all my life and I still like the smell of clean skin best, but this one just stayed in my head and opened a door to a private world. It's a sensory thing that clothes can't provide.

So I thought it was worth considering buying a bottle, not for everyday use, but when the mood seems right. I made a second visit last month, and had a lovely time mixing the scent with others (especially lovely with French Lime Blossom) and sniffing coffee beans to clear the nose between scents. But it came back to the Vintage Gardenia on its own again. Definitely something very special.

But was I buying something because I was bored and looking for something to buy other than another item of clothing? Was I being overindulgent? Should I buy this when I have something to celebrate, just to make it a special occasion? Do I really want perfume? Is this my "gateway drug", the first dark step towards turning into some kind of perfume and beauty junkie?

Naturally, such thoughts took another month to process (because after all, in the meantime, I had a life to lead).

Meanwhile, when I discussed this with friends and family, several of them intoned sagely: "Finding the right perfume is a rite of passage."

Is it? I thought had gone through all the typical ones: got very drunk as soon as I was legal, backpacked around Southeast Asia after junior college (high school) graduation, got my heart broken, learnt how to scuba dive, backpacked around Europe after university, landed my first real job, travelled alone, bought myself a first grown-up, expensive bag with my first decent paycheck. I thought the one rite of passage I missed was getting my driver's licence, but apparently, this was the crucial one.

Anyway, I returned to Jo Malone last week for a final whiff, but pretty certain I would buy it. Then I got into a mental tangle in the shop weighing the pros and cons of buying the larger or smaller bottle (larger = more worth it on a ml/cent basis; smaller = less wasteful since I don't plan to use it every day or even often).

Then my thoughts drifted towards something wonderful tugging at my attention. I realised I was smelling the Vintage Gardenia I had dabbed on my wrist. It was wonderful.

It's very simple really. It's beautiful, I love it, I want a little of it, I don't need a lot of it. I will buy the small bottle and be happy.

And so I am.

P.S. - Thanks to anon, whoever you are, for recommending these links some months back, they are excellent reads.


Ammu said…
Congratulations! Annick Goutal's Gardenia is wonderful too. I used to wear a tuberose scent by Dominique Ropion, but I used it so much that the smell just disappeared on me after a few years! Am on the lookout for my next signature scent. In the meantime, am trying out new ones, perfumed oils, and traditional Indian ittars (made from the buds of different plants - I have a jasmine one, and another that smells like earth after a rainy morning)
If Jane said…
oh i love your writing!!! such a pleasure to read!!
merry christmas!
Good choice. I never "got" the whole perfume thing until the day I smelled Eau Noire. And I'm very sentimental about the memories from that day. It took me 2 years before I bought it.
I also agree with if jane, I enjoy reading your posts.
lin said…
Ammu: Those indian tittars sound beautiful - I love smells that you can't really define.

If Jane: Thanks! I hope you had a good Christmas as well.

Pret a Porter P: Two years! No doubt you made a very considered decision. I love the thrill of using something so anticipated.
Ammu said…
They are lovely - when you visit, we will go get some in the bylanes of old Delhi - one of the coolest window-shopping experiences to be had!
hehe it had less to do with me considering than I'd rather wait until the next time I was @ Dior Homme shop so I'd have a reason to dare go in!

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