Fragrance Gives a Hint of the Other Side

Article excerpt

TODAY I SMELL like a man. This makes me happy - and I am trying to figure out why.

A new fragrance recently arrived on my desk. Its packaging is understated, graceful and functional. But I am leery about such items because I have been the unwitting victim of many a nasty-smelling potion that has landed on my desk.

Once, when I was young and innocent, a precious little glass vial arrived on my desk. I opened it and took a whiff. Egad, I thought. Who had figured out how to bottle eau de saccharine sweet?

I immediately capped the offending bottle and pushed it as far away from my delicate nose as possible. Then a curious colleague happened by and opened the bottle, and before I could squeal out a warning . . . whoosh! The sickeningly sweet scent had made its way out of the bottle, into the atmosphere and, along the way, caused a pounding headache.

So I open this recently arrived bottle with trepidation. It's a Jil Sander fragrance, Woman III, and available only in Europe.

Sander is a minimalist. She designs unfussy yet feminine suits and dresses. Sander believes in the strength of women, their tenacity and their nerve.

I open the bottle and take a sniff. …