Smells like Eric Three Thousand!
I have been searching for years for a signature scent! So frustrating! Basically I just want to smell like grapefruit, of course, but that isn't really possible. It's much harder than it sounds. I think it's hard to make the scent of grapefruit linger or to make it in a form that can be applied to the skin. I have a body spray that smells good but the scent lasts about five minutes and I have scented oils but they are for candles and are not supposed to be applied to the skin.
I was wearing a grapefruit fragrance by Comtoir Sud Pacifique but they stopped making it. They replaced it with a pomelo scent, which smells like citrus but doesn't smell anything like grapefruit. Fun fact: apparently the grapefruit was developed in the 19th century; it's a cross between a pomelo and an orange. I liked the Comptoir Sud Pacifique because it didn't smell like perfume at all; just grapefruit. But the scent didn't last that long, either. Doesn't matter since I can't get it anymore!
I used to wear Laura Biagiatti's Roma (the woman's one) when I was in college. I loved it but I think it smelled a little perfumey. I was thinking about trying it again after all these decades but I couldn't find it at the mall. I probably stopped wearing it because it's a woman's fragrance. But much of that is just marketing and it might be fine. I did try Roma for men, which stank.
So a couple of weekends ago, after a few glasses of champagne at the Four Seasons, Eric and I were at the Beverly Center and I decided I was going to find a new signature scent, even if it killed me. I spent ages in Bloomingdale's smelling almost everything. I didn't really like anything but I decided to buy something anyway. I bought Marc Jacobs Orange.
I hated it! I was mad that I had wasted $70. I decided to try to take it back even though I had already opened it but I decided to go to a different mall because I was embarrassed. I'm such a wimp. Anyway, they took it back with no questions and the woman at this other Bloomingdale's had me try something I hadn't seen at the other store. This is my new signature scent.
Although this should remain a secret, I like you so I'll tell you what it is. It's Un Jardin sur le Nil by Hermès. It's not as grapefruity as I would like but it is fruity. Almost as fruity as I am! Yes, it's probably not any less of a woman's fragrance than Roma or the Marc Jacobs one but this is actually marketed as being unisex.
Nil is pretty new; I think it came out last year. I used to sell perfume when I was in college and I remember that I liked some of the Hermès fragrances because they were very fruity and not musky; I remember liking Amazone. Nil smells of grapefruit and green mango. It lasts a pretty long time but not as long as I'd like. Maybe I'll buy the body lotion to see if that makes it last longer.
Anyway, after buying it, I remembered that I had read a New Yorker article about the making of it. Kind of a coincidence, since the New Yorker doesn't publish that many articles about the making of a new fragrance. Here's a link to the article and a couple of little excerpts:
The Scent of the Nile
Jean-Claude Ellena creates a new perfume.
by Chandler Burr
New Yorker, March 14, 2005
Walking ashore, they began following a street that led to a Nubian village. It was during this stroll that Ellena saw, hanging low in the trees that lined the street, plump green mangoes.The fruit has a complex, authentically exotic smell: it is rich and fresh simultaneously, a rare combination. The scent is also ephemeral. The fruit exudes an odor only when it is on the tree. Once you pick it, the smell deteriorates; within sixty seconds, it is essentially gone. Ellena was beguiled by this elusive fragrance. Green mango, he suggested to his companions, could form the base of Nil.
Dubrule pressed her nose into the branches, finding a hint of apricot and grapefruit. At one point, Gautier frowned; she detected the smell of nail-polish remover. Indeed, green mango contains acetone, the solvent’s active ingredient.
“You will, above all, not put nail-polish remover in the perfume!” Dubrule later commanded Ellena.
“Above all!” Gautier concurred.
Ellena promised the women that he wouldn’t, knowing full well that he would. Acetone is often used in perfumery, he told me; it provides a lightning-like jolt. He would fold in some acetone, he explained, “but in such a manner that you won’t feel it.”
“This works perfectly for Hermès,” Gautier concluded. She did have one concern: would men be able to wear it? Both she and Ellena wanted Hermès to dispense with the archaic division between masculine and feminine scents—a mere marketing device designed to make heterosexual men comfortable with the idea of wearing fragrance. Though Gautier was, wisely, cautious of being too radical for the market, she nevertheless had decided that the Jardins collection would be unisex.
One final related shopping note. Eric wanted to look at a suit at the first Bloomingdale's and of course the section was right by the colognes. I just wanted to get away from there! He was trying on a suit that I thought looked a little too big on him. The salesman was really annoying, which also made me want to leave. He kept saying how it fit perfectly and any tighter would look bad. Then he used some other guy in the fitting room as an example of what not to wear! He kept pointing to the other guy and saying that the jacket he was trying on was way too tight and looked terrible! The other guy was obviously getting really annoyed; he was not being paid to be a model of what you don't want to look like! Seriously an awful salesman. I finally just made Eric hang the suit up and leave. Bloomingdale's: return policy good, salespeople not so much.