by jennine on June 18, 2008

lancome mystique
Personally, I’ve never had a good relationship with my sense of smell. It’ all boils down to poor communication. I’ve always loved reading about perfumers, Patrick Suskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses. Our olfactory memories are but the most precise, yet our language has few words to describe the experience of smell.

The perfume world is interesting, to say the least. They have to be, articulating that which normally goes nameless, then packaging and selling it to the world. Magnifique, the new Lancôme perfume designed by master perfumer, Olivier Cresp, presents this spicy-woody-floral perfume as an indicator that wood scents for women are going to be a massive trend in perfume.

olivier cresp The smelling process felt a bit like a wine tasting, blindfolded to heighten the sense of smell, we were walked through the scents of Nagota, Bulgarian Rose, and Saffron. Olivier Cresp(left) talks about his perfume.


In all honesty I feel like a back country, high school drop-out trying to figure out the Turner Prize. What does a daring woman smell like? What quantifies daring?

I was interested to see the process of developing and marketing a perfume. For an outsider, hearing words like “Red, it’s a strong color, the color of roses, passion” creating a scent for the “daring, outgoing woman with a strong personality” It’s all very abstract, and subjective. Anne Hathaway (Devil Wears Prada) is going to be the face of the new perfume. In all honesty I feel like a back country, high school drop-out trying to figure out the Turner Prize. What does a daring woman smell like? What quantifies daring?

I’ve always envied the women who always smell nice. The ones who never sweat or need to brush their hair. They seem somehow ethereal, un-human, mystical even. On a personal level, I’ve always felt wild-haired, oily and painfully human. Floral scents always betrayed me, delivering a nasty headache and a series of itchy sneezes. So it’s nice to know that trends in perfume are taking a new turn. Magnifique doesn’t give me a headache, make my skin itch, nor does it make me sneeze, so perhaps there’s hope in that I’ll smell nice… now about that wild hair…

Above: The Magnifique bottle, and Fenke shows us how to wear perfume.. hehe

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlotte June 18, 2008 at 8:07 am

I love perfumes! And I think I am pretty good with my sense of smell. It is great when you can recognize someone by his/her smell.


Tina Topaz June 18, 2008 at 8:14 am

Congratulations on finding a scent you feel comfortable with. Don’t you just love the feeling?


Poochie June 18, 2008 at 9:28 am

I always think of perfumes in terms of color associations. When I’m feeling red or pink or purple. I’m really picky about perfumes too and overly heavy or floral doesn’t work for me. To some degree… For example, I love gardinias but most perfumes with that as a major component I tend to find very fake and hate them.

Right now I’m wearing Tabac Blonde by Caron and am loving spice related (not spicy like Opium) perfumes. Caron’s Poive (black pepper) is awesome on me. I also like “green” perfumes like Hermes Jardin Sur Nile.

I’m notsure if I see Anne Hathaway being all daring, in my opinion.


Kezia June 18, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I like clean, subtle fragrances that don’t announced my arrival. J- being wild-haired women are always infinitely more fun and fascinating that those non-sweating/perfectly coiffed stepford wives..


jennine June 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm

hahah poochie! that’s awesome, i love it when people can see sounds and smell colors.

i’ve always loved the smell of roses, the real ones in summer air, but in a bottle, my stomach turns. why is that?

ah kez, thanks, i guess us wild haired women gotta stick together.


Fenke June 19, 2008 at 12:19 am

oh my, great picture of me;-)
i know exactly what you say about those always-perfect-women. i have the same hair “problem” aswell. my make-up doesn’t look perfet all day either. still, when i met the less perfect women, i always feel more intruiged by them.


market publique June 19, 2008 at 9:23 am

I have a conflicted relationship with my sense of smell also. It’s very sensitive, which to me is a curse because I can smell literally everything while walking down the street during New York City Summers. Not pretty. I also recognize perfumes and associate them with people, so I buy perfumes that tend to be strange, so that a lot of people don’t have them. Otherwise I feel like I am someone else (whomever wears that scent). My favorites are Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur (inspired by the circus with cotton candy, leather and “lion sweat” notes) and Black Vetiver Cafe from Modern Atelier on Etsy, which is actually listed in the Men’s fragrances…


rebeccak June 19, 2008 at 11:55 am

there’s a great section on perfume production in deluxe: how luxury lost its luster.


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