Choose a perfume based on how it smells, not on the beauty of its bottle… and certainly not on the hyperbole of its description! The story alone isn’t enough to sell the scent (with a few exceptions, perhaps).
But a scent without a story is missing something, isn’t it? One way or another, it’s going to have one. We could make up our own as we wear it, using our imaginations. Or we could retrofit what we feel as we smell it into the scenes conjured by the creative directors, hoping they deliver on their promises.
So that we can live the story through the scent that was supposedly inspired by the story. Bottling up a zeitgeist is one way to transcend time and sell it back to people.
In this way, the scent could be a vehicle to transport us to another place in our minds—or a vehicle to bring that other place to us. Which means the same perfume could carry any number of different stories, depending on who got paid to write it.
My sample of Ten Fifteen by Room 1015 channels “a trashed hotel room, an outlet for opiated passion,” with colorful players including mandarin, sandalwood, saffron, violets, iris powder, and papyrus. I could not detect most of these ingredients over the potent, “dry” sandalwood that makes it smell exactly like my memory of my sample of Santal Carmin by Atelier Cologne. Granted, the latter also has saffron… and sets its tone with more aspirational abstractions: “a sharp intuition and limitless curiosity […] The moment had come to fight for his dreams and bring his ideas to the world. Possibly a new era would begin.”
Now we know. Perfume is a choose-your-own-adventure story… and you can choose what your adventure smells like, too.