Making Scents of It All

In my typical OCD way of doing things, I have discovered the joys of collecting and trying out new scents. It’s almost as much fun as collecting beautiful yarns from new Indie dyers. Almost, but not quite. Believe it or not, there are Indie perfumers out there as well…..folks who have forged their own path of sniffiedom. Not merely content to join the ranks of Bath and Body devotees or willing to lay down the big bucks for watered down smells from big name fragrance companies, these folks have put their noses on the line (so to speak) and come out with their own fragrances, usually in the form of body oils and sometimes, soaps.

Going up on their websites and reading the descriptions of their different perfumes is infinitely entertaining. YOU try to figure out what the smell of a “newly-opened grave” smells like. I’m not sure if I want to know, quite frankly. “Freshly-baked apple pie” is more my style or “sun-warmed peaches on a summer’s day.” Those are pretty tame. But some of these talented and imaginative folks have come up with scents that mimic types of wood, leather, tobacco, smoke, breezes, laundry (both fresh and dirty), every flower imaginable, spices galore, and the list goes on.

It’s a hoot to read the descriptions of these scents. It’s even more fun to read the names that the scent designers label their scents. Here are some of the names of the scents I have purchased lately: Brain Bleach, Gingerbread Crackhouse, Eye of the Moon, Over the Rhine, Stingy Jack, etc. Those are some of the tamer ones. Some are funny, some are purely descriptive, like “Pumpkin Pie”, and some are downright wierd. But they are all names for scents that you have to smell to believe. And here’s the challenging part —- a scent will smell different on individual people because we all have different body chemistry. And there is one smell when you first apply it wet, another as it dries on you, and then a lingering smell after the initial dry-down. There is also a “throw”, which means (I think) how far folks can smell you coming when you have it on. If you’re wearing something that smells like a smoking, newly-opened grave, you might not want to “throw” too far.
Since you aren’t sure how a particular smell will smell on you, it’s wise to buy different scents in a sample size, which most of the vendors are happy to sell you. These little vials have a surprising amount of perfume oil. It doesn’t take much of it for you to figure out if the scent is going to work for you or not. Since there are so many to choose from, you need to come up with a storage system. Thanks to other bloggers and scents forums, I discovered that a handy holder is a plain old cartridge case that you can pick up at any outdoor sports shop. They are perfect for the sample sizes you order.

Once you start acquiring a fair amount of samples and actual bottles of perfume oil, then you need a way to keep track of what you have, what scents you like, and why. I made up a simple little chart where I can plug in perfumes sorted by vendor/designer. I list the scents that each perfume consists of, how much I have of it, and whether or not I liked it. Over time, I hope to see a pattern emerge that will help me identify the types of scents that I know won’t do well on me. I already know that I don’t do well with certain scents like roses, gardenias, and some exotic spices. They tend to give me a headache or a stuffy nose. But put me near certain foodie smells like apple pie, caramel, butterscotch, coffee and I’m in heaven!

Once you get hooked on discovering new scents, you will find that there are all sorts of products and collections to hold your interest. There are chapsticks, solid stick perfumes, whipped body butters, sugar scrubs, body washes, and soaps. There are limited edition collections that come out throughout the year. There are seasonal collections that appear like the wonderful autumn scents that are out right now. I can decide if I want to smell like a cappuccino, a buttercream frosted caramel cake, or a spiced apple cider. I could have smelled like a floozy but I didn’t like how that one smelled so I traded it off to someone else. If you want to discuss scents with others who are equally obsessed, there are forums at most of the “sniffie” vendors I’ve listed on this blog.

So, my friends, if you’re brave enough to try something a little out of the ordinary, click on any of the Sniffie links I’ve put on the blog over on the right and order some samples. Dare to march to the drumbeat of a different perfumer! Gotta go now and eat supper. Mystery book club meeting tonight. I’m off to wash my hands with some Krakatoa soap and then it’s time to chow down.

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