Monday, August 27, 2007

It's not you, it's me: L'Artisan Mure et Musc, Grès Cabaret

Before I've learned about anosmia, I thought either my skin was making certain perfumes evaporate upon contact, or the fragrance makers were playing the Emperor's New Clothes trick on me. Only, it wasn't the emperor who was naked. It's my nose, which has a completely blind spot when it comes to certain musks. Not all of them, mind you. I get a musky drydown in many popular scents (Valentino V Absolu, several of the Bonds and others), and have no problem smelling and enjoying Serge Lutens Clair de Musc, a beautiful, coy gem of a fragrance that I never expected to enjoy as much as I do.

L'Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc, both the regular and the extreme versions, are the best examples for my anosmia. The EdT starts sharp, soapy and mildly unpleasant. Even the blackberry isn't recognizable to my nose. I can't say I'm sorry to see it all gone without a trace within 10 minutes. The berries are much more prominent in the EdP (the extreme fragrance). It's sweet but still soapy. I couldn't confirm it, but my nose insists there's a touch of white flowers, possibly lilies somewhere behind the fruit, but that's about it. It's much longer lasting than the original, especially when sprayed, with an almost sickening sweetness. My bottom line is: Berries, lily of the valley and a non-existent base do not bode well for me and my nose.

Another scent which gives me a hard time is Parfums Grès Cabaret. I can't say for sure if it's my skin swallowing and destroying most of the notes or a nose thing again (the base is supposedly musky), but as far as I'm concerned, the lovely bottle holds nothing but a pale rose soap. Pleasant, harmless, very clean but far from exciting or interesting. I really wanted to love this perfume. It was supposed to be very sexy, as the corset bottle hints. The semantic field of cabaret associations and images are dark, moody, dangerous, glitzy and sexual. I know several people who swear by this fragrance, but once it meets me, other than a pale chyper-like kick at the top, it folds the notes head-to-tail, and leaves me with nothing but a floral and demure disappointment. If what I'm smelling is true, this scent can be worn by a young girl as well as by her schoolmarmish great aunt. Then again, it might just be my nose.

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