Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lost in Mist and Spray; How Easy Is It to Find the Ideal Perfume? Our Writer Braves the Beauty Counters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lost in Mist and Spray; How Easy Is It to Find the Ideal Perfume? Our Writer Braves the Beauty Counters

Article excerpt

Byline: BELLA BLISSETT

WHILE I'm perfectly happy to spend my (bank's) money on shoes, clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery, makeup and, well, shoes - I've just never seen the point of expensive "scent". I don't even like the word.

It's Chanel, of course, that's to blame for all this "top note of Ylang-Ylang with a hint of heavenly jasmine" nonsense with the launch of the dratted Chanel No 5 in 1922. Even now, a bottle is rumoured to be sold every 30 seconds. Every 30 seconds? I can't even find my wallet in the bottomless pit of my maxi bag in that time.

Recently I've taken to dousing myself in amaretto essence ([pounds sterling]8 for 30ml, The Body Shop: bargain) - which I'm regularly informed makes me smell like a freshly baked batch of fairy cakes.

Shorthand, I think, for "revoltingly sweet". So when my little saccharine bottle had squirted its last, I recklessly embarked on the hunt for a new scent.

Deciding to run the perfume gauntlet in Selfridges, I was atomised by several white-jacketed spill wavers and had to reel out. I was not only drunk on perfume, but had reached the kind of intoxication achieved after several champagne cocktails and a hefty slug (or three) of Tia Maria.

Two days later I retreated to the sanctuary of my local Boots and approached a woman at a counter whose face was so well powdered I feared she'd disappear in a puff of Clinique Beige if I so much as exhaled.

Getting into the spirit of things, I asked for something exotic but not floral (too lav freshener), and something that "encapsulated my essence". She took me to the Paris Hilton counter.

Just Paris was much like I imagine her to be: cheap and vaguely irritating.

I fared no better with Jean Paul Gaultier Fragile ([pounds sterling]47 per 50ml) when after 10 minutes spent trying to work out how to make the damned thing spray (on account of it being disguised as a snow globe), I ended up jabbing at it frantically and blasting it into my eyes.

My flailing cries of "help" were met with a stony silence from my guide and, I imagine, a heavily pencilled raised eyebrow (being blind I couldn't actually see). …

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