Sunday, April 25, 2010

Perfume: texture

Perfume texture. I'm not sure how to talk about this, but to me, texture is a huge part of why or how a perfume is successful (or not). Instead of trying to explain how perfume can have texture (because I have no idea how to do that), I'll just write up some textural impressions I've had while wearing certain scents.

Wazamba: By all accounts, Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire should work for me. I should love the resiny-sweetness of the apple/frankincense mix. But there's something off about this perfume, something that makes it less successful than it should be.

The texture of Wazamba is chewy, caramelly but not in smell, in feel. And it's like when you heat up sugar for candy. Its texture is similar to the feel of heated sugar coating the back of a spoon. It's an odd texture, because in my experience, incense in real life is dry or only slightly resiny, smoking and/or burning. Giving an incense scent a chewy quality creates a cognitive dissonance. They don't completely go together. The way it feels affects my enjoyment of the smell. It seems too cloying, too chewy.

Le Baiser du Dragon: by Cartier is very feline. It wears like a sleek, living fur coat. It's totally smothering to me sometimes, and other times it's gorgeous.

Shaal Nur: I gravitate towards Etro perfumes, but I wonder if it's an aesthetic thing (do I like their perfumes?) or a generational thing (does the house just speak to my age group?). I don't wear Shaal Nur often, but I think what Shaal Nur does with vetiver is genuinely unique and refreshing. Vetiver can be dark, medicinal, sour, minerally, dirty. Shaal Nur's vetiver is light, airy. It's like vetiver that's been aerated into bright, sunny light. I don't think anyone would ever have described vetiver as sunny before Shaal Nur.

Le Temps d'une Fete: by Parfums de Nicolai. I love so many from this house. It took me a day to really get Le Temps. Probably because I'm not a galbanum fan (unless it's paired hand-in-hand with labdanum). Galbanum's sappy, bitter quality isn't my favorite thing ever. But balanced with a round, warming narcissus and drying down to a milky sandalwood, Le Temps reminds me of dandelion milk. Dandelion milk is sticky-viscous like green sap but still milky. This is exactly how Le Temps feels on my skin, in my nose.

What are some of your impressions of perfume texture?


  1. Absolutely. I just spent some time blathering on about "raspy" perfumes, and I didn't mean in voice, but in feel.

    I'm kinda with you on the Temps d'Une Fete...though I'd add a little texture of the leaf to the viscous sappy milk. :)

  2. Scentscelf. Yes! I think I know what you mean, by raspy perfumes. When the buttery gardenia dies down in modern Fracas and the tuberose really starts to shine, I get this raspy, metallic record-scratch kind of texture out of it. I love the vintage parfum because it's very smooth compared.

    Oooh, Temps d'Une Fete! I think I'll wear it today. It does have that green leaf cutting through.