Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In search of the fragrance of peace

I started researching perfumery at the start of this year. Around Christmastime, I guess, I had learned that my favorite scent, Tova, had changed its formula. Maybe it had changed a year ago. I knew something was wrong. But then the QVC message boards confirmed it, and I was quite disappointed because I thought Tova was the scent that could bring world peace.

Let me back up. After high school, I read Tom Robbins's book Jitterbug Perfume, which, among other things, is about such a perfume. A perfume that brings about world peace.

When I first smelled Tova a few years back, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had to have it. And I gradually learned that every other wearer of Tova felt the same way. Wherever I went, people followed me to ask me what my perfume was. Total strangers. People who couldn't speak English. Everyone. And when Tova Borgnine got on TV to sell her fragrance, all the ladies called in with stories just like mine.

Then, I thought my chemistry changed. It didn't smell as good, or last as long. I found out later that it was the perfume that had changed, not me. Tova went on TV and denied it. (My research later found that it is unfortunately extremely common for a) a perfume to have its formula changed, and b) for the manufacturer to lie about it, in spite of the fact that anyone with a gas chromatograph can prove both a) and b).)

So I was quite disappointed and didn't exactly know what to do without the fragrance that could potentially bring about world peace. I decided to do research so I could find out exactly what was so magic about Tova. But then I read something on one of the message boards. Let's stop trying to re-create Tova, and go find something better.

Something better? Surely you jest.

...could there be?

So for the last 4 months or so I have read a large volume of information about where perfume comes from, how it is made, why it is expensive or not.

In my first attempt at replacing Tova I got quite lucky. I selected, from a random review, a sample of Fracas. Fracas turns out to be known in the industry as a masterpiece, and I love it, as does Mike.

But it was too easy, and I wanted to try more.

I tried Caleche (HATED it, smells like an old lady, in the worst way), all the Philosophy Graces (some are good, but don't last very long), and the whole Lili Bermuda line, which I had to import all the way from Bermuda since no one even had it on ebay. (Too flowery, by the way.)

But I'm learning quality, choosing better, and still reading everything I can about perfume.

Perfumes: The Guide was just released a few days ago. It's a review of about a zillion perfumes on the market, though interestingly, the Grace line and Lili Bermuda line are not in the book. Nor is Tova. Perhaps my focus is not mainstream enough.

But one of the authors mentioned that he added one fragrance that is no longer on the market. He thought it was such a masterpiece that it must be mentioned anyway, in the hope that the manufacturers will bring it back or so that readers will have a chance to get it secondhand. It's called Yohji Homme, and the review made me think that perhaps this is the next scent to bring world peace. I don't know. They stopped making it, so how can I take a risk and fall in love with it? But the author was so convincing in his love. I have never smelled it, but just bought an ounce on ebay for $75. My biggest perfume risk to-date. If it smells anything like Caleche, that guy has some hate mail coming his way.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails