Never Say Never

Good things seem to come to me in a slower pace than to the others. Or, I come to appreciate good things in a later age than the others. : )

First time falling in love, 23
First time appreciate the happiness through that foggy sensation of being drunk, 24
First time understood my passion for wintry mountains, 25
First time found out I actually enjoyed museums of fine arts, 26
First time that classical music stopped putting me to sleep and started to intrigue me, 28
First time discovered the beauty of the outdoors, and started enjoy climbing, hiking, and camping, 29

And now the fantastic labyrinthine of fragrance finally started revealing its miracles one scent at a time¡­

I have never been a girlie girl. My childhood was coincided with the later half of culture revolution. When everyone around me was wearing uni-sex navy blue and black colored clothing, deprived of all sense of fashion and style, I naturally gravitated toward wooden guns and remained indifference to dolls and dresses. Nowadays, cosmetic counters in department stores intimidated me. The names, the packaging, the over-enthusiastic attendants and the suffocating scent hovered around me like a strange trap. In my book, perfume was synonymous to glamorous, made-to-believe, and vanity.

My limited experience with sniffing perfumes left me feeling sick and nausea.

Once a boyfriend persuaded me to wear the perfume of his dreams–Estee Lauder¡¯s Beautiful, I complied. When we broke up, I left the bottle with him. All I remembered of the perfume was its potent sweetness.

Once feeling miserable, I wondered in Macy¡¯s and voluntarily bought my first bottle. It was Clinique Happy. I went for its name. I want to be happy. The scent was overpowering. I left it in my closet and forgot about it.

Once stranded in Paris Roissy airport, I took my time sampled the limited numbers of perfumes at the duty-free shop and settled on a bottle I liked. Lancome¡¯s Oui!.

Then I read Patrick Suskind¡¯s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. I fell in love with the lavish and intricate words used to describe all the vivid scent. But that is fiction, I thought. In reality, my random encounters with perfume didn¡¯t match any of them written in the novel.

Until now. : ) After being guided so patiently by Fang Zhou, I finally begin to understand how wonderful Perfume used to be, can be, and should be. The scent¡¯s complexity, the subtlety of its graduate changes through the hours, the history and the people each perfume represents, the various reasons that had evolved to today¡¯s modern perfume, and its future possibilities all start to make sense.

Best of all, after diligently wading through counter by counter, brand name by brand name, searching for each perfume on Fang Zhou¡¯s list, I am no longer afraid of the large cosmetic section of department stores. The scents floating above each counter ceased to be a scary maze, and started to become a group of familiar friends who have their own temper and logic.

A good perfume is like a little piece of music. Various notes are like various instruments, whether they will play a classical tone or a modern one is up to the perfume artist; but it should play a harmonic melody. The powerful ¡°Hello¡± is the top note, the expensive and elaborate narrative to follow is the body note, then there is the lovely ¡°good bye¡± lingers for hours, sometimes still visible after a day; and that, is the base note. Fang Zhou told me that base note is the one that kept body note stay. Like the thread that kept a kite in your hand. Most modern perfumes are done away with the base note. They strive to create the most amazing and extravagant top note, because the MTV crowd¡¯s attention span is too short to pay attention to the rest. The sad fact is that without the base note, there is not much of a body note either, thus no more changes from top note to the body note. What you ¡°see¡± at the first glance is all you¡¯ve got.

So that is what we are, a simple and plastic today?

Enough of that, let’s talk perfume! 🙂 Here is Fang Zhou’s List and my comments:

– favorite
1. D’ ete (Kenzo)
Kenzo puts summer into a perfume

Fresh and tender notes
Scent of sap
Green leaves
“Secret flower”


China moss
So this is meant to be an olfactory representation of a day in a Japanese garden.

2. Flower (Kenzo) sweeter and more potent than D’ete. It reminds me of the fragrance of Night Blooming Cereus.
3. Fragile (Jean Paul Gaultier), I like Eau de Toilette more than parfums. Reminds me of hard fruity candy.
4. Envy (Gucci) Sweet!
5. Tender Touch (Burberry) Softer than Kenzo’s Flower, similar notes.

– Another type of favorite
6.Amarige & Amarige D’amour (Givenchy), I like Amarige D’amour even more. Both has a strong Chinese medicine like top note. They are slightly naughty, unlike those more proper banquet scent represented by the group above.
7.Kors (Michael Kors), top note is a bit too strong. Also in the Chinese Medicine like style. But inside its body note, I could taste a small but persistent scent of lightness.
8.Shi (Alfred Sung), this one is a little similar to Oui!. On the quiet side. I really liked its bottle! A drop of water, perfectly crystal, simple and beautiful.(This one was not on Fang Zhou’s list).

– So-so
9.Red Door, top note is similar to Kors, but doesn’t have as many layers as Kors.
10. CK be£¬ Good. Lack surprises or layers, though.
11¡£ Murmure (Van Cleaf & Arpels), top note is good, a hint of sweetness. But underneath the body note, I could smell the scent of “water”. An artificial feeling.

– Don’t like
12. L’Air de Temps Its body note is rich banquet, it lingers beautifully. However, I could also smell the scent of “water” underneath. It is like wearing a silk shirt with a polyester lining. Looks good but makes the wearer (me) uncomfortable.
13. L’eau D’Issey I understand why it is called Water. I like the top note. But the smell of “polyester” is so much stronger than L’Air de Temps. It is no longer a silk shirt with a polyester lining. It is just a polyster shirt. Too artifical for me.

14. Chanel No. 5. Its top note was extremely disappointing. It reminded me of root beer, or coka cola, or any refreshment with compressed bubbles. Later the body note was really beautiful and soft banquet. The underlining “bubble” made it light. It is an amazing scent. I still don’t like it because of the “bubble” (seriously, evertime i smelled it i felt like i need to burp!). But I think I have some idea why it is so famouse. 🙂