i recently had the opportunity to assist a friend in choosing a perfume. her requirements and view on the subject were similar to mine and we set off to endure the harassment of the harlots at the local cosmetic counter. needless to say i believe they are all taught to be relentless. first confusing you with the haze of the latest… have you tried? followed by a pungent spritz, which if it doesn’t blind you for life you nearly die of asphyxia. if you do recover and they notice your disdain, they promptly retaliate with… it smells different on your skin.
surviving the first wave, the trouble is that since last month’s new, there is always the newer new to choose from. my advice has always been to stick to the old and trusted. i daresay you may fool around with all sorts before you are thirty, but after that it seems too futile to still not know who you are. as with many things; fashions, designs, interiors et cetera, one has to realise what is best for your figure, lifestyle, complexion and so on. best to go searching for something as intimate as a perfume with someone who you know very well, it avoids the sales person (on commission) to make a fool of you. eventually at the guerlain counter we encountered a helpful soul with no intention of choosing for us, but merely allowing us to browse first and dispensing information about base notes and such. also keep in mind that vetiver is not actually something most people have ever smelled in its raw form.
wading through the pot-pourri of perfumes we finally get to shalimar only to be confronted with it’s newest incarnation….it’s totally different, the sales lady said while i’m thinking; why not give it a totally different name then. the notion of rebranding a product is still understandable but a new product in an old guise always leaves me flummoxed. shalimar’s new incarnation is called shalimar initial. for once the sales lady was right…it’s totally different. with the initial shalimar (the one from 1925) and the shalimar initial (the one from last year) tried and tested we skulked over to the familiar smell of chanel.
we went straight for the enigmatic no.19. quelle surprize? knowing no.19 since birth i had obviously been so content with it that i hadn’t realised they released no.19 poudre last year. again we are told how different it is and again we are dumbfounded by why it retained the name no.19 and not no.91? samples in hand we ventured out of the olfactory orgy and sat down to a civilized drink. even though we came to test two scents, we left with four samples. i have yet to realise the marketing strategy (if there is one) behind this; to me it just meddles with the confidence and loyal following that a product has built up; i believe good enough should best be left alone.