Eau de common cold

This week has mostly been taken over by a cold, which at first I thought was an exacerbation of pollen allergies. Most likely I caught the virus from a hotpot buffet late last week, where everyone was touching the same tongs and spoons. After a few days of misery and nasal congestion, I noticed my senses of smell and taste had diminished. As I discovered when I got covid last year, this translated to being less able to perceive larger musk molecules, such that Hedione smelled more like jasmine and Iso E Super more like dry wood, without their usual gooey backgrounds that tend to stand out to my nose.

On the days I took off work, I wish I could say I was a good girl and rested properly, but being confined to my immediate environment, my racing mind started insisting that I declutter the space… now, this might seem reasonable if you didn’t know that all the so-called clutter is already well hidden neatly inside opaque containers so it makes no visual difference whether it’s there or not. It makes only a mental difference because I know it’s there. This is a battle that my OCD always wins: a decent amount of stuff was donated or recycled this week.

What perfumes work while suffering through a cold?

Not Le Labo Santal 33… I wore that on 2 non-consecutive days and found that the nuances were wasted on my blocked nose, but the heavier woods, leather, and something pungent hung in the air, in a cloud of what I perceived as musky.

Hermès Terre d’Hermès Eau Givrée was a refreshing, frosted grapefruit—an olfactory burst of vitamin C, perhaps. This kind of sharpness was quite welcome, with the bright juniper and Timur pepper notes conspiring (somewhat anonymously) to clear the nostrils.

I also finished my mini of Frédéric Malle L’Eau d’Hiver, a light, powdery floral with listed notes of heliotrope, iris, musk, and angelica, among others. I must have been won over by the gentleness and subtlety of it to have bought it years ago, intrigued by the concept of the scent of snow. However, it soon showed up as reminiscent of wet wipes on my skin, probably thanks to the heliotrope, which is known to smell like baby powder. With a cold, though, this effect was much less prominent and the more beautiful almond-milk aspect came forward, bringing a dose of cuddly comfort that was just the ticket for 2 consecutive days.

Do you wear perfume when you can’t smell well, or do you prefer to go “commando”? Are there specific kinds of perfume you reach for in those times?

8 thoughts on “Eau de common cold

  1. It depends on how bad I feel and how much energy I have, but usually I wear something simple that I’m not afraid to spoil by the bad association (hasn’t happened yet though).

    Are you back to normal? Does everything smell as expected?

    (Iso E-Super has always smelled to me like wood – when I can smell it, which isn’t always the case).


    1. That makes sense. The cold is gone now, but the pollen allergies are bad… luckily things smell as expected. Interesting that you can only sometimes smell Iso E Super.


  2. When I’m off colour I go commando. Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome mean I have limited energy & have to make choices how that energy is spent (spoons theory). If I get a bug personal fragrance is the first thing to go. Beautiful fragrances in a hot bath are a must though.


    1. I think if my bug were not respiratory, I wouldn’t want fragrance to complicate things either. I have 2 scented bath bombs that have been sitting around forever and told myself I should take a hot bath again soon… haven’t in years that I can recall!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I had COVID after Christmas last year I wore Scorpio Rising from Eris Parfums. I guess I was hoping the sharpness of the spices, synthetic base and the leather accord would awaken my nose. I’m not sure it worked, but I had pretty much recovered my sense of smell after a couple of days.


    1. Hope you are feeling better!! When I am under the weather I gravitate towards essential oils or scented body lotion


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s