|Ye olde Manchester pub - Source: Wikimedia Commons|
"We spent a long and joyous afternoon waffling about scent and swopping samples and decants (gaining the curiosity of drinkers in the packed pub who caught thick wafts of the rare and the quirky)."
Not only that, but in my absence Sarah had seized the moment and was moderating a veritable mini-focus group, quizzing these ladies about their own perfume preferences. The conversation went much as follows:
Sarah: "So what do you like to wear?"
Lady 1: "Chanel."
Sarah: "Okay....but which particular ones by Chanel?"
For after all, for all we knew, Lady 1 may have been a Chanel loyalist, with a scent wardrobe running the full gamut from No 5 to No 19 Poudré to Chance Eau Tendre.
Lady 1: "Coco."
And you just know what is coming next -"Coco" turned out to be shorthand for the ubiquitous, but nonetheless agreeable "Coco Mademoiselle".
Sarah, turning to a younger member of their party: "And so what about you, then?"
Lady 2: "I like Givenchy."
Sarah (patient to a fault): "Right...so what exactly by Givenchy?"
Lady 2: "Irresistible."
When we were on our own again, we mulled over this curious phenomenon whereby 'normal' members of the public (ie non-perfumistas) often choose to denote their chosen perfume in brand rather than in specific product terms. Like saying you drive a Ford, rather than a Fiesta or a Focus, though the two cars are not remotely alike, or saying you had 'carbohydrate' for breakfast rather than porridge or toast.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve...when I was round at my friend Gillie's for her traditional pre-Christmas get together, and got chatting to a friend of hers I often see at such events. His mother is a well known figure in the local community, and for some reason he volunteered the fact out of the blue that he didn't care for some of her perfumes.
"They are really - you know - big", he explained. "Knock you out they would."
"Oh," I replied, my interest piqued: "I'd love to know what ones you mean".
"No problem - I'll find out for you and tell you the next time I see you."
Well, that could well have been next Christmas, but as luck would have it we ran into each other at a party just a few days later, and so this same chap bounced up to me with the news that he had now asked his mother what she wore.
"Oh good", I said, instantly anticipating a reply that might feature some combination of Aromatics Elixir / Giorgio Beverly Hills / Opium / Youth Dew and/or other heavy hitters of that ilk and maternal era.
So you may imagine my surprise when the bald answer came:
|Scary sillage monsters? Source: ebay.co.uk|
Nooooo, I thought. Here we go again... Too little information! So I have despatched him again to find out which Jo Malone scents in particular he takes objection to. He was astonished to learn there are in fact knocking on 30 perfumes in the range...;-)
"Really??? I thought there was just the one called 'Jo Malone'."
So while we wait, have you come across this phenomenon of people referring to 'the whole for the part' when it comes to naming perfumes? (A kind of fragrant synecdoche, if you will.)
And can you think of a Jo Malone that could possibly be construed as an 'elevator clearer' or anything approaching it? I would have thought that was a contradiction in terms, but perhaps there are powerhouse florals in the line that have managed to pass me by. Is 'English Pear & Freesia' a stealth Flowerbomb? Or is Blue Agave & Cacao complete choco-overload? I have smelt both - albeit a while ago now - and wouldn't go that far. Then Orange Blossom is a bit of an in-your-face tangfest, and Plum Blossom teeters on the brink of shampoo-dom - or doom, even - but still.
Yes, for as long as it takes till I bump into this bloke again, I am agog.