Imaginary defenses against imaginary adversaries—but the perfume is real

Psychology is playing tricks on me again, especially first thing in the morning (while opting for the snooze button) and late at night (while trying to sleep). A few nights ago, I woke up suddenly in the wee hours, paranoid that what I had written in a perfectly reasonable email might have rubbed the recipient the wrong way—my own carefully considered words reflected back at me in a funfair mirror of distortion. A delayed reply later confirmed that it had been perfectly reasonable after all. Against such imagined affronts, one might as well employ the kind of defense as shown in this picture:

Screenshot from episode The Delayed Arrival

In this scene from Jeeves and Wooster, the latter hears the door opening while he is getting dressed and, not expecting the former back from holiday early, grabs the larger of two fragrance bottles on his dresser and holds it like a weapon for self defense. My other half, whom I once accidentally sprayed in the eye with Azzaro Wanted, purports that it would have worked.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t watched Jeeves and Wooster sooner—it has been such a double treat for me: a very British comedy filmed in the manner of very British murder mysteries! Set between London and New York in the Prohibition era, the plots generally revolve around the alternately highly intuitive and hopelessly dim-witted Bertie Wooster getting engaged or re-engaged to different women through no volition of his own and relying on his valet Jeeves’ superior intelligence to extricate him from such arrangements. Hats are a matter of utmost seriousness, as is keeping up appearances no matter the cost in pretense and silliness. The witty conversation makes it all worthwhile. If I may be afforded a complaint, it would be that I struggled to keep up with some of the secondary characters because they keep changing the actors for so many of them (and some actors reappear in later episodes as other, previously introduced characters).

Most dressers, belonging to both men and women, are frequently shown displaying multiple bottles of perfume, but not once did they get acknowledged—what a missed opportunity! Now, if I were the producer…

The perfumes I’ve been testing recently haven’t been so “dapper” per se, although Essential Parfums Mon Vetiver comes close. It’s been a bit of a changeling in my impression between tests, starting with the rooty, almost sweet (like licorice root) facet that I love in vetiver, morphing into the astringent, medicinal facet that I dislike (sorry, Guerlain), and turning back again. The gin accord in the opening is attractive. Mon Vetiver seems so well suited to being a base for enhancing other perfumes that it might become my gateway into layering.

All of the fragrances in the Essential Parfums discovery set that I bought seem to share a sparkling airiness like a signature, even though they were made by different perfumers with creative freedom. Rose Magnetic is another favorite, and it, too, was Janus faced—my first impression was that it reminded me of the rich, dark Turkish rose in Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme, but a subsequent wearing swore that it was the twin of Liquides Imaginaires Dom Rosa with its fruity champagne top note leading into a lighter-bodied rose (think Merlot versus Cabernet Sauvignon… I may or may not be sipping on a glass of red while writing this).

Essential Parfums put their perfumers at the forefront and give the percentage of natural ingredients in each fragrance—their no-frills approach is one I can get behind.

3 thoughts on “Imaginary defenses against imaginary adversaries—but the perfume is real

  1. Love Hugh Laurie and really like Stephen Fry! I should watch Jeeves and Wooster again – great show!

    Haven’t tried any of Essential Parfums’ offerings, and I was almost convinced to do so… but I don’t like their math. Let’s see. For example, Divine Vanille. It’s EdP at 16% (just 1% above the absolute minimum to be called eau de parfum), which means that it consists of 84% of alcohol, which is natural (“made of Beetroot”), which, in its turn, mean that out of 16% that is pure perfume essence, only 5% is actually natural and 11%… Not that I care that much for all-natural perfumes anyway, but with that merest amount of natural ingredients, I wouldn’t be boasting about it.


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