Chanel Chance was my very first perfume, but the original Prada fragrance was the first perfume I ever really loved. That Prada is an absolute patchouli boooomb, as described by the following horrified MakeupAlley review: “It smells like a chain-smoker and an alcoholic, who hasn’t showered in days, eats spicy food every day, and decided to mask it with a perfume.” (All credit to poetic user “happygirl1”.) I mention this to prove my patchouli cred. I am a hardened patchouli veteran, and I was ready for whatever version of patchouli Mistral Patchouli had to offer me. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I realized that out of all of the possible patchouli fragrances that Atelier Cologne could have made, they went with a “where’s the patchouli?” patchouli.
Mistral Patchouli’s most prominent notes are grapefruit and “fraction of patchouli”. As far as I know, this is a novel combination, and in theory I like it very much. In execution, however, Mistral Patchouli is just too damn clean. The grapefruit note lacks the vibrance of past fruity Atelier Colognes, such as Orange Sanguine. The patchouli is much too sheer and is so far removed from the natural earthiness of patchouli that the relation is barely visible. Robin at Now Smell This correctly labels Mistral Patchouli as “a patchouli for patchouli haters” in her review, and mentions that this is now her favorite fragrance of the line. I have to say that it’s my least favorite. There’s nothing wrong with Mistral Patchouli. It smells very nice. But it just doesn’t have as much character as past Atelier Colognes like Orange Sanguine, Vanille Insensee, or Rose Anonyme. I think I’ll stick with my alcoholic/chain-smoker patchoulis.
My flight home leaves tomorrow. For those of you keeping track at home, Drew will be spending the next year getting his Master’s at the London School of Economics while I finish my last year at Hopkins in Baltimore. Tomorrow I’ll probably be a total crybaby about it (although I doubt that it’s humanly possible to cry harder than I did when he said goodbye to the cat).
But today, I’m keeping it together while I plan what perfume I’ll wear when we say goodbye.
When we’re young, our scent memories are mostly chosen for us. We develop associations with brownies because they’re what our mothers baked for us; with Old Spice, because that’s what our fathers wore; with lilac bushes, because our parents drove us to somewhere that had lilac bushes. With time, we grow into the curious pleasure of creating scent memories for others. We get to control (to a certain extent) which scents our loved ones will associate with us. We get to decide what our significant moments will smell like.
None of the perfumes that I have with me here in Iowa are really suitable for goodbyes. TokyoMilk Bittersweet? The name is right, but the chocolate frosting scent is all wrong. Hermes Ambre Narguile? This is no time for a spiced apple danish. Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise? Closer, but it lacks a certain gravity.
I reserve the right to completely change my mind at the last minute, but I’m leaning towards the Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee that I gave him for his last birthday. It’s the fragrance that I most strongly associate with him, with us. And there’s something serene about Vanille Insensee, so I’m hoping that it will help soothe the hysterical crybaby that will doubtless emerge. I am seriously a Sailor Moon-grade crybaby, you guys. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sailor Moon, she is kind of a total crybaby.) And not the glamorous kind of Sailor Moon crybaby, either.