That’s Another Fine Bottle You’ve Gotten Me Into

To misquote the immortal Oliver Hardy, who was generally accusing his comedy partner Stan Laurel of being the prime instigator of their continual disasters.  With me, it’s my brain.


Because my Brain thinks it’s intelligent. The Brain thinks it’s educated. And worst of all, the Brain thinks it has taste.

My Nose is never concerned with any of that.  The Nose doesn’t care whether what it smells is avant garde or not, the Nose could not care less whether a perfume is clichéd.  The Nose just knows what it likes.

By now, I should know that in all matters pertaining to smells in my household the only expert is my nose, and I should defer to it.

But do I? NO, I do not.

Because my Brain always butts into the conversation my Nose is having with my Cerebral Cortex and suggests that whatever the Nose is registering is not actually relevant.

“This” says my Brain, “is a work of genius.  I know, because several posters on a perfume site wrote about it.”

“Smells like a turdball to me,” says the Nose.  The Nose dispenses with euphemisms, you understand. If there is any part of the brain that it gets along with, that part is probably the Id.

“No, no, no!” replies the Brain. “This is an animalic, an  animalic perfume.  You like it, really.”

“Do not!” replies the Nose stoutly. “I still say it’s a turdball and I say the hell with it!”

Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that my nose would win this argument.  After all, lets be reasonable, how many people really want to wear something that smells like a turdball?

But you would be wrong, because most of the time, and for years, it was my Brain that prevailed.  That is how I ended up with so many bottles kept for short periods of time.  I tried to wear animalics, and that meant L’Air de Rien, which is a fine perfume – just not for me.

I tried to wear fruity chypres, but,  same deal.  Good thing I only ever possessed a small bottle of Rochas Femme. I tried to talk myself into the entire line of Parfums de Nicolai but could only manage the masculines and Cologne Sologne.  I could not wear Nahema no matter how much I persisted, nor could I manage aldehydic florals, though Lord knows I persevered with Arpege.  Most Orientals are a waste of effort for me, and don’t I know it?

In trusting your nose rather than your brain, you have to kiss the business of pretension goodbye.  What my Nose likes is J.R.Watkins Hand Cream in Lemon, and I probably wear that more than any other scent.  I mean, the Nose will go high end – it liked Krigler’s Lovely Patchouli 55 – but by now I realize that it’s not worth allowing the Brain to browbeat the Nose into elevated tastes.

There are lots of scents out there that I admire as scents, but I simply will never wear them.  They are in the overwhelming majority, and interesting as they are, they are not purchases.  For purchases, I trust: the Nose.

The Nose is kind of like Bob the Blob in Monsters vs Aliens; the one creature in the cosmos who doesn’t have a brain.  He’s reconciled to the fact, though.

“Turns out,” he says cheerfully, “you don’t need one!”


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12 thoughts on “That’s Another Fine Bottle You’ve Gotten Me Into

  1. Giggle. I like this a lot. Lucky for me, my Brain is also the part of me that tells me that it’s not logical to buy entire bottles of scent anyway. So it may (unusccessfully) order me to wear and love those critically acclaimed samples and decants, but it’s my Nose that commands the bottle purchases.

    • Oh ho, you were just a whole lot smarter than me. You’re right of course the thing to do is never buy an entire bottle, or never more than an oz. Have I learned that yet? Bets?

  2. Currently I’m in the negotiation with myself trying to talk myself into/out of buying a bottle of Chanel No 5 before it gets reformulated again. The problem is that I do not like Chanel No 5 and do not want to wear it. But what if I change my mind in 5 years, asks my brain? ;)

    • Yeah, that is the scary part, once you’ve developed a taste for perfume, that taste can change so much from what it was when you began. Like the people who hated oakmoss, and then turn into Chypre fans? So yes, it’s entirely possible that your brain has got you backed into a corner on this one.

    • My answer is always, there will still be Ebay in five years, and people will still be selling Aunt Mabel’s bottle of No. 5 parfum that she kept under her girdles and never wore.

      Now, a bottle of something niche will probably NOT show up on Ebay. But widely worn classics? Yep.

    • I had that same concern. A few months ago, I bought a bottle of EDT, and more recently, a bottle of the parfum. (Both the smallest I could get.) I should tell you that it was a very foolish thing and I regret it.

      Turns out that with them available, I learned to love No. 5. Oops.

        • We Americans live in the land of the legal re-sale of perfumes, and intact Shalimar will be out there forever.

          There, does that do it? Um, probably not. I have all I can do not to panic and buy up half the chypres on Ebay…

  3. Nose is smart.

    Except we have problems when Nose likes something like Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory, metallic edge and violet and incense and all (today’s Incense Exploration sample), and Brain says, “Look, you ain’t buying that. It’s $150 for 50ml. Nope. Fergit it.” Nose goes, “But I waaannnnnnt it.” Brain crosses arms and makes narrow mommishy eyes. “I said no. Now go clean up your samples.”

    • Correction – your nose is smart. My nose is another matter. He/she/it has appallingly down-market taste. At least yours picked one of the best Bonds. What does mine pick? Oriental Brulant. QED.

    • I am having a nose/brain fight today, and it’s over L’Air de Rien (wearing my sample for the first time ever) and it’s basically along the lines of:

      Nose: Oooh, this is niiiiiice…
      Brain: It smells like, like… stables.
      Nose: Sexy stables, I reeeeeally want more of this.
      Brain: Come on. Are you really brave enough to leave the house smelling like a combination of a horny stallion and Lady Chatterley?
      Nose: Noyesmaybe… I don’t care. And, oooh, salty-vanillary bits… mmmmmmm…

      Still not sure who’s going to win this one – and it’s not the price, it’s simply the flagrant sex in it that is making Brain wonder if it might be just a wee bit too challenging to wear outside the house…

      • Having had a similar battle once with L’Air, only switched (Nose did not like so much, but Brain sure did), I can only say, go with your nose.You can always do the default decant position. L’Air de Rien’s not so naughty, it can read as sexy, chic lady. Liz Taylor used to wear Bal a Versailles, which is like L’Air’s grandmommy, and she was a lady.

        Well, an actress.

        OK, she was Liz. And I guess that’s not a compelling endorsement after all.

        Still, it got her Richard Burton.

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