Category: Olfaction

Scentsational Museum Patrons

This weekend I had the pleasure of spending hours and hours at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. In addition to the innumerable delights consumed via my eyes, I was impressed with many of the delights provided by museum patrons par nez.

Being a scent-hound, I pay attention to perfumes I pass in public. I have to say that this particular set of museum-goers were easily the best-scented group of folks I’ve encountered in the wild in quite some time. Sure, we all usually drown ourselves in something-or-other when we go out to a club for the evening, but it’s hard to capture specific scents amongst the beer, fog machine, sweat, and whatever else might be going on (oh, what sort of clubs do you frequent?). It turns out that museums are apparently exceptional in this regard, being filled with quiet, slow-moving, interesting people. It makes sense in retrospect, but I never put two and two together previously.

Some of the juices were pedestrian, but that’s okay. At least folks were making an effort. A handful of ladies had some impressive scents. Luckily none called security on me for following them around with my nose. None of the men’s scents stretched the boundaries of style, though I was pleased by the number of men wearing scent in general, and I was pleased that there weren’t too many instances of the painfully-overused (out-used? used-up?) common male perfumes. I even caught a whiff of some Old Spice at one point!

Picayunes aside, it was a blast art-looking, people-watching, and people-smelling! I’m already looking forward to my next visit to a museum.

If you were at either museum this weekend and walked past a long-ish-haired gentleman who smelled of tuberose, that was probably me. Pleasure to make your nose’s acquaintance; I hope I did not olfactorily offend.

The Fantastic Scent of Decay

Fall is upon us here in the Northeast. Sitting outside on the deck this evening, the first wafts of herbaceous decay hit my nose. It is such a fantastic scent – even as it conjures some melancholy thoughts.

One of the scents I wear now and then is a combination of two CB I Hate Perfume accords, that together, more than casually, imply all that is good about the smell of “fall decay”:

Wild Hunt is the scent of an ancient forest in the heat of a summer afternoon. It is a blend of Torn Leaves, Crushed Twigs, Flowing Sap, Fallen Branches, Old Leaves, Green Moss, Fir, Pine and Tiny Mushrooms.


Burning Leaves is the smoke of burning maple leaves – pure & simple.

Chanel = Whiskey = Goo

Listen, let’s come down to reality. Jacque Polge’s job with Chanel No. 5 is not to make the same goo week in and week out. Because the truth of the matter is, the flowers you pick this month are going to be different than the flowers you pick next month – you can’t change that. So part of the perfumer’s job has always been to blend the old with the new to make sure there is a consistent standard. It’s no different than the Whiskey blenders that have to do the same thing. – Michael Edwards


It being “that time of year” when flowers start poking their small, colored, wonderfully-odiferous heads up out of the winter’s cold soil, I happened to be sitting next to a vase of yellow flowers in my living room this evening wondering “are those daffies or jonquils?”

It turns out that ‘daffodil’ is a common language name for the plant genus Narcissus. Linguists believe that the ‘daffodil’ sobriquet derived from the Dutch – but they’re apparently not 100% certain how it came about! The jonquil is a specific type of daffy: Narcissus jonquilla. Some folks refer to all daffies as jonquils, but that’s technically incorrect, as jonquils are just one species witin the genus Narcissus.

Additionally, it turns out that Narcissus jonquilla is one of the two species of Narcissus primarily used in perfumery – alongside Narcissus poeticus. So when you see a scent that includes daffodil or narcissus, it may contain the odor of our friendly, spring jonquil.

Ya learn sumthin’ new every day!