This isn't an earth-shattering revelation, but memories manipulate the way we perceive fragrance. I used to wear Poême, the 1995 release from Lancôme, ten and eleven years ago, when I first started teaching. I didn't think my favorites, Tiffany and Panthere de Cartier, were fifth grade friendly, and my other staples, Eternity, Lauren and White Linen had more to do in my mind with my business school days (yes, I made a few career changes over the years). With that in mind, I looked for a good perfume for a young math teacher, and my choice fell on Poême, which felt very appropriate and put-together.
Those years were hard. I hated the school, loathed the principal and wasn't a fan of the system and the way it treated both students and teachers. Seriously, not memories I enjoy revisiting, and Poême was part of that. I haven't worn it in more than eight years and gave away my last bottle of the EdP. However, prompted by a recent discussion on the Perfume of Life forums, I dug out a bottle of the parfum extrait and tried it on several occasions.
Apparently, time can erase a wound or two. Poême is no longer a reminder of angst. It might be my nose or maybe a much-changed frame of mind (physical distance also helps). Poême is a happy scent with a very sunny disposition. It's definitely not a schoolmarm scent (come to think of that, what is?). The opening is supposed to be all fruit (Black Currant, Peach, Mandarin, Bergamot), but I don't get much of that in the parfum version, and don't recall the EdP to be fruity either. It's sweet, but not syrupy and I never felt I was wearing the juices from the bottom of a fruit cup.
The heart is all sunny flowers. Orange Blossom, freesia, jasmine and tuberose could have easily gone the heady route, like many other white florals. But Poême is very balanced and somehow toned down. The freesia seems to hold its own among the other, more diva-like notes, and the result is more feminine and gentle than the femme fatale you'd expect. The vanilla-amber base keeps the flowery heart grounded, making it warm and inviting (though it's not a very subtle or elegant base.It feels too heavy-handed at times). The yellow box is supposed to bring up the image of yellow flowers, and it does. There's something very golden and vibrant, open and simple, yet restrained. The exuberance is well-mannered, which is probably what attracted me to this scent all those years ago.
I think I've made my peace with Poême. I can appreciate its charm, but it's definitely not me. I don't own many floral perfumes, and the ones I do, all have something extra: an olfactory tangent, a woody base, oakmoss or vetiver. I'm no longer the young teacher who wore Poême , and I'm perfectly fine with that.