Smelling clean: an olfactory façade

window lolly

Sure, being clean correlates to smelling clean, and vice versa. Being dirty likely correlates to smelling dirty.

No wonder the fragrance industry spends a considerable sum developing lemony, lineny, breezy fresh products for washing, wiping, flushing, spraying, diffusing, desiccating, etc.

Can you believe everything you smell, though?


Yesterday, I tried out Le Labo’s Vetiver 46. After the rooty top note—reminiscent of ginseng—faded, I was quickly left smelling like a sweaty person coming out of the gym wearing too much big-brand men’s deodorant gel. Like someone with sticky skin who needed a shower. (I later went to the gym and sweated a little just to do it some justice.)

Today, the opposite experience with Fleur d’Oranger 27. Besides the obvious sunburst of bergamot, the petitgrain lent it a mildly aseptic, bitter tone. For the better half of the day, I smelled consistently cleaner-than-thou, as though I’d just come out of a hotel shower with fancy amenities.


Cleanliness, to me, is akin to preparing a blank canvas for nobler uses. (That is, besides the basic hygiene aspect.) Preparing fresh sheets for a good night’s sleep. Washing before getting dressed. Polishing the table so it’s ready to set down a meal.


Let the soaps do their cleaning. I want my perfumes to be something extra, a form of ethereal art on the renewed canvas.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s