Nose about town

Rarely do I smell perfume on other people in my daily life. I don’t know if it’s because people aren’t wearing it, or because they’re wearing small amounts that stick close to the skin, or whatever they’re wearing has worn off by the time they cross my path. I love smelling perfume on people, even if it’s totally banal stuff. It just cheers me—I guess because fragrance brings me so much joy, I assume that they’re enjoying it too.

Occasionally I’ll smell a note I recognize, like the tuberose in Kim Kardashian that a young woman wore into my store a while back—but rarely do I smell and identify a whole perfume in the wild.

Yesterday, as I was leaving the bank, I smelled Angel. Angel in the wild! It was such a delight—I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, the sillage filled the bank—but it was such a thrill to smell and recognize a perfume on someone else (one that I don’t hate—as I do seem to locate more than my fair share of Amarige in the wild).

Do you often find and identify perfume “in the wild”? Or is it a rare occurrence, like in my little world?

35 thoughts on “Nose about town

  1. First: thank you for that image, we love the Wild Things in our house. 🙂

    I also rarely smell a perfume on others. Mostly when I do encounter a perfume in the wild it is one that is overapplied and generally awful.
    I wish I would get the chance to play “Guess the perfume” on the subway, but it is always more like “guess the amount of garlic I had for dinner last night”. 😉

    1. “guess the amount of garlic I had for dinner last night” is hilarious! Although, like you, I think I’d prefer to play “Guess the perfume”!


  2. Yep, I’m just like you. I rarely notice perfume on people, and when I do, I have trouble identifying it, which is embarrassing, since friends who know about my hobby think it’s clever to ask me “What am I wearing?”

    The most common reaction I get when I tell someone I collect perfume is complaints about how they hate it when someone in the office/elevator/subway is wearing too much perfume. You know what? I’ve never really minded that. At least it’s a nice smell. Not like BO, or cigarette smoke.

    1. Your friends sure put you in a spot! I find that smelling something in the wild (my new favorite thing to say, btw 🙂 ) is a lot different from smelling it on yourself, for a number of reasons!

      Isn’t it interesting how people respond to the very idea of perfume? I wonder if it’s still backlash from the 80’s, or if at this point it’s just an automatic cultural response?

  3. Dee, how nice you are to be cheered by people wearing perfume, even if it’s ones you don’t care for it. You are such a positive and enthusiastic person.

    I often get wafts of the very strong, sweet perfumes that the young girls seem to favour but I have no idea what they are. I rarely identify ‘fumes in the wild, though I did spot Kenzo’s Parfum d’ete the other day. I think it was because I wore it a lot in my early 20s and it is weirdly powerful for a fresh/green scent.

    1. Yes, I often get wafts of generic young girl perfume. Of course if you pass several young girls in a group they might all be wearing same-only-different sweet scents, so there is no chance to identify what anyone is wearing.

      1. I have the same experience with young girls – heavy trails of fruity, sweet something-or-other.

        I rarely smell perfume on women my age (mid 40s) or older with my next door office neighbor as an exception. She often wears Aromatics Elixir and that’s no blushing violet! I used to wear it from time to time but no more – I don’t want an Aromatics version of High Noon: “This place of work ain’t big enough for the both of us”!

    2. I’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, that’s for sure! 🙂

      It’s a rare day when I’m around any young females (teenagers scare me), so i suppose that’s at least part of the reason I’m not familiar with this experience… but how cool that you “spotted” a Kenzo!

  4. Lovely post dee. I recognised Mitsouko on a colleague once. That was great, She told me it makes her feel strong. (Yep, so it would!). Someone else wears Chanel No 5 EVERY day, it seems.

    Bot once, on a train in Melbourne, I saw a rather butch-looking young woman, very short hair, multiple piercings, kitted out in cargo-style gear and baseball cap, extract a bottle of Angel from her bag, and calmly spray THREE gigantic spritzes into her cap. Which she then put back on while she continued talking to her friend. What Chutzpah! It was unbelievable.

    That has to beat all for perfume encounters in the wild. Needless to say the scent filled the train carriage from end to end!

    1. That is so cool that you recognized Mitsouko! Your colleague must have been impressed (I am!) 🙂

      WOW, that train-riding gal had some serious B*LLS! Your story wins the trophy for wildest encounter! LOL!

  5. Do you know, it’s getting harder to identify scents in the wild simply because in my part of the world, they’re all so…similar, generic, fugly fruity-floral-headache blends of …awful. Ergh. Every morning, a gaggle of teenage girls get on the bus, and it’s an unholy alliance of Eau Mega, J’Adore, some Chanel Chance flanker, kate Moss whatevuh and…every single rip-off discount version thereof. The good news is…I can stop traffic, simply for trailing sillage unlike anyone else within a few hundred miles..;) I wish I could say it didn’t make me feel smug, but help me someone, it does! 🙂

    1. Oh, dear T., how I would love to encounter your sillage in the wild—a perfumistas dream come true! haha! I would bee-line straight for you, and invite you over for tea!


  6. I “spot” Angel in a crowd fairly often, since it’s so distinctive and so large. I also smell J’Adore or Coco Mademoiselle now and then. But like you, most of the people I cross paths with seem not to be wearing anything. When someone is it’s fun to try to identify it. I was in a car with someone this weekend who smelled rather like glazed donuts — turned out to be Dior Addict!

    1. Mmmm, glazed donuts? I think I need to hunt down a sample of Dior Addict!

      Like I said, even the banal stuff cheers me, because at least its *something,* you know what I mean? It offers enrichment.

      I feel like one of those big cats in the zoo, how the zookeepers spray perfumes for their “enrichment”. I want someone to donate fragrance to my town, and I want public officials to run around spraying it in various spots to improve my quality of life 😉

      1. Beware when applying Addict! I once chose (unwisely) to try out my sample of Addict just before a 3 hour meeting with 10 other people in a fairly small room. Big mistake. Huge. I gassed them out! Less is more.

        1. I can totally relate Marie; I had to speak to what I thought was going to be auditorium full of people—and applied DK Gold accordingly—but turned out to be addressing a group in a small boardroom. How embarrassing!

          1. Yes, isn’t it just awful?! – You feel like apologizing, but won’t that be just adding insult to injury, and who wants to bring attention to one’s own bad judgment? etc. etc. I sometimes ask one of my trusted co-workers to evaluate the strength of my perfume – I don’t want to be known as “she who wears to much perfume”, but I don’t want my perfume to travel completely incognito as well.

            What is DK Gold like? A drugstore near me often has it on the shelves at an affordable price, but no testers.

          2. I haven’t had the pleasure/horror of trying Carnal Flower, but the name alone sounds scary, so maybe not, is what I’m currently thinking. Your experience sounds as bad as they come in this category. I wonder what you thought you were spraying on?

          3. (somberly) I thought it was a different perfume… Not to promote my own blog but if you’re interested there is a story (from January this year) where I complain in details about how that confusion had happened.

            As to the perfume itself, it’s great – for those who likes big tuberose. But even the most hardcore fan of this beautiful creation of Dominique Ropion will agree that it’s probably one of last candidates for use in close quarters.

          4. I’ll definitely check out that story.
            Personally, I’m somewhat afraid of tuberose. A big tuberose sounds very scary.

  7. I work on a university campus, so I smell a lot of fragrances, mostly of the marshmallow candy floss variety.

    On a few guys, I smell what I think is Cannabis Santal and today I swear an smelled oud! I was impressed!

    I always recognize CK One and Body Shop White Musk. I think I would recognize Gucci Rush if I smelled in “in the wild” again. Also, YSL Paris.

    1. JE, we’re both college-campus girls? How cool is that!
      I run the college bookstore, but my students on the whole are older… and you can go ahead and insert all the community-college stereotypes here too… so rarely to I get any ‘fumes off of them!

      I remember a time in the past (late 90’s?) when I would smell CK scents with some regularity. I was in Providence at the time, so maybe that’s just what the kids were all wearing at the time!

  8. Great picture! I can’t stop smiling. Also, your phrase “Angel in the wild” was a treat.

    Many women in my office wear perfumes (I take partial responsibility for that 😉 ), I enjoy that and recognize some of them (but it’s not a fair game since I know what each of my co-worker owns, so I have limited choices).

    “In the wild” I come across people wearing perfumes from time to time and if something smells familiar I always try to guess. Angel is an easy one, I can recognize it with my eyes (strike that) nose (!) closed. But there are some others that I know well. When I recently recognized Petite Cherie on a SA she was really impressed.

    D&G Light Blue is very recognizable. Estee Lauder Tuscany per Donna. Dior Miss Dior Cherie. CK Euphoria. Estee Lauder Beautiful Sheer. Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia and Nectarine Blossom and Honey. These are scents that I recognized before on other people.

    1. It’s a little easier when you’re the supplier, but I have to confess, a co-worker that I frequently load down with samples came into work about a month ago smelling great, and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was… it was a decant of Stella that I made for her! How embarrassing!

      I don’t think I’ve ever spotted niche in the wild—nice going on the Petite Cherie spotting! 🙂

    2. Golly, you have quite a nose. I’d have a hard time distinguishing all of those, except that Miss Dior Cherie is something I can’t stand, so I guess I could pick it out. I know MDC is considered a fine achievement in its genre, but, well, it’s not for me. Octavian on 1000 Fragrances thinks it’s changed recently …

      1. I’ve read about that upcoming change somewhere else before Octavian wrote about it. Where I read it, it was stated as a fact that the formulation WILL change since it’ll be a new nose behind it now. After reading that I was considering buying a current bottle, went to re-try the sample I have and put my checkbook back: nah, I will not miss it.

  9. I smelled Shalimar “in the wild” today — on the bus — and immediately thought of your post. 🙂 I kept looking around trying to figure out who was wearing it, but no luck!

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