Sunday, 17 February 2019
Serendipitous and subliminal sillage surprises, and functional fragrances punching above their product category
Now somewhere in that mix was a smattering of Airbnb guests, who were most congenial company, and two of whom are coming back soon. I have now had enough people to stay to start noticing a rather interesting phenomenon, of which more anon. The first point I wanted to explore is the smell of a house - any house. I couldn't tell you what my own house smells like - in a general, ambient kind of way, I mean - but I do know that when I step over the threshold into other people's places, such as the friends whose cats I feed, their homes have a completely different scent. I would love to do a blind test, whereby I am guided into one of these houses at random and asked to guess where I am purely by smell.
So that is definitely 'a thing'. And what I have also noticed, when I have gone into the bedroom where my Airbnb house guests have been staying, is that that room invariably also has a (new) smell of its own, most likely that of some toiletries they brought with them, with my money being on shower gel. On quite a few occasions now my nose has encountered a pleasant trail of scent, whether in their room, on the landing, or in the bathroom itself, that can last up to five days after the people have gone. Sometimes it is a sort of fruity, tangy fragrance - I spied a bottle of the Body Shop's Satsuma shower gel in the bathroom once - while other times it is more of a fresh, clean scent that I couldn't really place or describe, other than to say it is agreeable, and 'other' than how the room smelt before.
And my enjoyment of guests' (presumed) shower gel sillage reminds me of a recent post by Odiferess, in which she laments the explosion of new releases in the so-called 'niche' perfume market, dismissing many of them as cheap dross. She goes on to say that there are bodycare products that can easily hold their own with these pretentious perfume parvenus. And I couldn't agree more, indeed even before I had the experience of catching residual wafts of guests' toiletries, I had already been revelling in the scent of my own current shower gel, a bracking - bracking?...okay, bracing and cracking then - citrus and cardamom combo from Champneys. I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially at the price. The addition of cardamom is a nice counterpoint to the lemon and orange bouquet - or do I mean fruit bowl? - which could otherwise have lapsed into something blowsily generic. I am not a natural shower person, but I really could see myself turning into one with the enticement of this gorgeous product. What do you mean, I could just squirt some shower gel in the bath? I read labels, me. And for the record, I am not the sort either to defy social mores by having pancakes on Ash Wednesday.
Odiferess references the Elemis line of spa products - as Champneys is of course - which is another fine example. I have already blogged about the truly uplifting scent of my Label M hair mousse, into whose pot I could just bury my nose and inhale deeply, even if I have now reluctantly concluded that it makes my hair far too sticky to actually use. ;)
And finally, on a side note, I knitted a scarf as a Christmas present for a friend, who mentioned after wearing it for the first time that it smelt 'quite strongly' of perfume. I was taken aback to hear this, as I had smelt nothing myself, and had also knitted the entire thing on my lap, which is self-evidently unscented. Transfer of perfume from wrists to needles also seemed a bit of a stretch, so the only other 'transference occasion' had to be during the few seconds I tried the scarf on myself when it was finished, to check out its looping capabilities. For I cannot swear I wasn't wearing perfume then, albeit I would have applied it many hours earlier. The good news is that the scarf is washable(!) - and that the smell may wear off of its own accord eventually. Though I know perfume impregnating fabric can be pretty tenacious.
So there you have the conundrum...my guests may not know that their shower gel sillage lingers in the atmosphere after they leave - not that I mind at all! - while I had no idea I had 'knitted' my perfume into this scarf. Plus I have no idea what my house smells of generally, though if you have been there, you may do...!
Do you have a favourite bath or body product that is 'almost as good as perfume' - if not better in some cases...?