Dark Twin Scents

It is my theory that every good smell has a secret grossness to it. You get a whiff of something, and you just want to smell it more and more intensely, but there's always a dark side of the smell that increases in proportion to the good side of the smell. When you hate something, sometimes you're really hating its dark twin; when you like something, it's because you have a tolerance for the dark twin, or even a fascination. Dark twins make ordinary smells more interesting.

I am learning to tell the flowers in Songes apart based on their various indolic dark twin smells. When I douse myself in Songes (nightly!), I get a burst of ylang-ylang first, which reeks in a banana-y way. Next comes the big, heavy-hitting jasmine, accompanied by a rubber balloon smell that I unaccountably loooooooove. (Ligustrum smells similar, but disgusting - more like the stale air exhaled from a used birthday party balloon. My parents' back yard is full of ligustrum bushes.) Last of all, before the drydown, the frangipani takes over. Its dark twin is bubblegum.

After sampling Estee Lauder's Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia a while back, I think I have identified the dark twin of tuberose. I've sniffed around some gardenia frags, and even though I'm not sure what gardenia smells like, I'm pretty sure it doesn't make me gag. So I think it's the tuberose that has a dark twin of stale, warm 7up, like someone is breathing on you after drinking stale 7up. I wanted to like PCTG, I really did; it was pretty and elegant and whatnot; but smelling it felt like swimming through a patch of suspiciously warm water in the local pool: "Oh, that's nice - hey wait a minute, gross!" (Grimaces in disgust.)

1 comment:

la niebla said...

this post is brilliant.
that's all i have to say about it.