Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A perfume mini-memoir from the fabulous Julie Joyce

Julie Joyce is one of my favorite people in the SEO industry. She has good taste in music and appreciates my stupid Twitter jokes (the latter quality I find especially endearing). But it wasn't until recently that I found out she is also a perfume lover! I thought my perfume-loving readers would enjoy the below, Julie's personal perfume history. You'll recognize from your own perfume lives the scent that started it all, the arrogant SA, the fear of overactive sillage. For more Julie, follow her on Twitter or check out her websites, Link Fish Media (a link building company) and SEO Chicks.

I first encountered the venerable English fragrance company Penhaligons several years back whilst staying in a very, very posh hotel in Bloomsbury, and happily enough, it was one that I wasn't having to pay for. The guest toiletries were Blenheim Bouquet, a somewhat manly, yet still femininely-accessible fragrance that, even today, makes me think of lovely London life, especially on someone else's dime. It's lemon, lime, lavender, pine, musk, and black pepper. It's heaven. After happily wandering into the Penhaligon's shop near Picadilly Circus and being completely overloaded with all of their lush scents, I chose Malabah lotion, the least expensive thing I could find, since no one was offering to foot the bill for me to smell nice. I've parcelled it out over the past 3 years, terrified of running out, but unwilling to buy more, since I'm cheap as dirt. Malabah is the most heavenly scent on Earth...lemon, Earl Grey tea, cilantro, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, rose, orris, sweet amber, sandalwood, and musk. You want to drink it.

Rush ahead to my deciding that I'd bite the bullet and buy the proper perfume when I was in New York at a store which shall remain nameless, except when I asked to sample the Malabah, the perfume lady said, quite nastily, "Don't you mean Malaga?" As I did not, but I'm a good Southern girl, I just smiled and pretended that it was my error. I'll pretend your error is my own, but I sure as heck won't pay for it, so I smelled the good stuff and headed off to buy a hat, being petty that way.

So here we are, a year after that, and I decide to price Malabah online. Well it's freaking pricey, let me tell you, as it damn well should be, but since (remember from above) I am quite "thrifty" I decided to investigate similar (i.e. cheaper) scents and buy one of those. I came upon the lovely Samsara, by Guerlain, and I purchased it online after reading loads of reviews that made me feel like my wearing Samsara would lead all women to hate me, and all men to love me. I may have indeed caused a stir when I wore it the first time, but that could be because I might have been a tiny bit heavy-handed, so maybe the annoyed glances were the results of headaches, not envy. Still, I pressed on!!

And then, yes then again, my sweet, sweet husband ordered the best early Valentine's present ever; a gift set of Malabah. I can soak in a tub full of it, then I can drench myself in it. I can pretend that I have dark eyes and jet hair and am dating a man who wears flowy linen and doesn't look stupid in it. I'm in East India eating raita and samosas.

This is what I love most about a fragrance...it's the most amazingly evocative thing in the world to me, more so than a sound or a photograph. I can remember where I was when I first smelled something in the same way that I can remember which album I bought at what record store when I was 11. Some scents smell fantastic yet have names or associations (like celebrity endorsements) that would put me off enough that I'd never test them, and more is the pity there but it is what it is. For example, there's nothing in the world that could convince me to smell anything that is associated with Celine Dion or Britney Spears. I don't want to smell like bad pop music. I want to dress like it, but there it ends.

Poison, Opium, Samsara, and Malabah, however, invite you in through their names alone. They are exotic and dangerous, two things that I am not, and for that, I love them all.

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