A whiff of disappointment (The Writer)


The Writer and The Copy Writer

You know when you’ve read all about someone and you finally get to meet them in person?

A few months ago, I had come across a description of the relatively new perfume brand St Giles’ line of personas, of which The Writer had intrigued me the most. Not being able to get a hold of it right away, I had tried to copy it based on its marketing spiel, hence the creation of The Copy Writer.

A slightly pungent perfume that’s not half bad, if I say so myself.

A few weeks ago, in June, I finally had the chance to revisit London—one of my best-loved cities in the world—and head purposefully to Selfridges in search of St Giles. It took a bit of effort to find, as some staffers at the ground floor perfume counters had not heard of the brand (“We don’t have that at Selfridges,” one associate told me confidently, to which I insisted, “From what I’ve read, it’s sold exclusively at Selfridges,” after which he asked someone else and I was eventually directed to a tiny corner of a counter).

The associate at the counter seemed perplexed as to why I was particularly interested in St Giles, and soon tried to divert my attention instead to Selfridges’ bestselling perfume brand Thameen, with fragrance oils designed to last very long and including perfumes for babies and for hair. (I asked how young the babies are when parents start perfuming them—”you mean more like toddlers, right? Surely not newborns?”—and got a noncommittal “It depends.”)


I was underwhelmed by my first sniff of The Writer. It seemed a little green and cologne-ish, which was okay. By this point I had built up so much anticipation that unless it was absolutely awful, I knew I was going to buy it, so I didn’t even test it on my skin.

Fast forward to the unboxing, and spraying it generously all over myself before heading off to work. Rosemary… check. Clary sage… check. Rhubarb… maybe. Inkiness… I suppose. Obligatory woodiness… present. But most prominently, to my great chagrin, was the scent of cheap men’s gel deodorant, mixed with sweat and stale body odor—which increased as the day wore on.

Before anyone suggests it might have to do with skin chemistry, that’s not it—the stench is the same on a blotter.

I’m very disappointed.

Is it simply a matter of differing personal taste, or is there some disdain for writers suggested in the fragrance?!


On the other hand, my own The Copy Writer smells quite pleasant by contrast. It’s uplifting and fresh in a dark green way (like kale, perhaps—not that it smells like kale by any means!) So, there is an element of triumph in the totality of this experience.


It’s time for The Copy Writer to be its own thing, independent from its original inspiration.






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