Columns Addicted: When Good Scents Go Bad

Addicted: When Good Scents Go Bad

01/30/17 15:07:07 (47 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

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I know many of us have had the experience where a scent that initially turned us off eventually grew on us and we learned to love it. But have you ever loved a fragrance one week only to wonder "What was I thinking?" the next? Sometimes beloved old fragrant friends can no longer be enjoyed and in this month's column I'll explore three different scenarios where good scents go bad.

 

TURNING

In English, when a fragrance or perhaps a bottle of wine or spirits no longer smells or tastes as it should we might say that it has "turned". Other expressions include "gone off", "spoiled" or "aged poorly". It's a sad moment when a scent that we used to enjoy wearing, but perhaps haven't reached for in a while, turns on us. Like the beastly potential within all animals, fragrances eventually reach a point where what was once gentle, sweet or polite suddenly becomes a malodorous, savage offense.

One of the perils of vintage fragrance collecting or the purchasing of older scents from auction sites can be the lack of knowledge of whether or not the scent has turned. We rarely know how a scent is stored, especially when it is unboxed. It may have been left on a dresser in front of a window to decompose in the sunlight, or perhaps kept in a steamy and warm bathroom to be ravaged by heat and moisture, two scenarios that can spell doom for a bottle of eau. And if we have never experienced a particular aroma before, it can be challenging to figure out if it is supposed to smell as it does or if in fact age has wreaked its wicked curse.

Sometimes it's only a matter of clearing the atomizer of stale liquid stored up inside to recover the true beauty of an older scent, but often after many years we find that top notes have disappeared and base notes have soured. It's a terrible shock to apply a turned scent without realizing that it has gone off. For me this prompts a full-shower moment; I'm never able to wash the stink off fast enough. #scrubber

"Showering won't be enough today" meme

NEGATIVE ASSOCIATIONS

Aromatic associations can be profound, often the result of a poignant experience paired with a personally iconic aroma. However, one thing I have learned as a fragrance addict is to NEVER wear a favorite scent when going to dentists, hospitals or funerals. In fact, if I know I am going to experience any kind of major traumatic event then I will avoid scent altogether.

There are few aromas that can survive the negative associations with death, surgery or a root canal. I learned this the hard way when I figured that favorite fragrances could help me relax and feel centered during my first spinal surgery. Unfortunately, within days of my hospitalization I realized that I could never wear Moschino Couture again. The scent I chose for recovery became strongly associated with pain, discomfort and nauseating painkillers.

However, some negative associations are unavoidable - e.g. illness, accidents, mishaps and nasty people. Food poisoning (bad fish!) ruined another Moschino scent for me (Uomo?) while my first major auto accident will forever be associated with the aroma of Boss Bottled. I'm not remotely interested in even trying to like these two scents again.

And how many of us have lost our love for a special scent due to heartbreak, grief or anger? The power of memory associated with aroma can be startling. For example, the original Nautica became like poison for me after an early college break-up with a cheating partner.

Nautica for Men with skull and crossbones

CHANGES IN TASTE

Typically, changes in taste mean that I become more accepting or at least more understanding of a specific aroma or genre; I may not love it but I can appreciate it. But then there is the other situation where we apply a scent only to realize that "Hey, I'm just not that into you!"

A scent that I raved about throughout 2016 and counted as perhaps backup-bottle-worthy (but I knew better) suddenly, one day, out of the blue, just didn't work for me. It hadn't turned, and there weren't any negative associations; this time it was simply a matter of not enjoying it. And it's a little bewildering when a much-loved scent suddenly seems like a stranger. Something about it just seemed "not me" anymore. I suppose it could have been my sniffer or maybe an interaction with the residue of a new shower soap or lotion, but since that day I haven't reached for it once and thinking about it kind of turns me off. To make matters worse, I received a bottle of this scent for a holiday gift and now I have two bottles I'm not remotely interested in.

Ice Men Mugler

So even though we develop and blossom as fragrance lovers, we don't necessarily become more open and accepting of all aromas. Sometimes we lose the love for a number of reasons. And sometimes, those good scents just go bad.

 

How about you? Have you had experiences where a good scent went bad? Share your story in a comment below!

 

 

Image of the author

 

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting www.MarlenHarrison.com.



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Calvini
Calvini

Yeah a bad breakup can totally ruin a scent...

Strangely, I don't associate oud with actual barnyard & blue cheese because I'm disgusted by them (more so than "fecal" for some reason)..

Yes! Apparently my tastes shift the more I experience; a lot of fragrances I used to be impressed by are now just okay (I bought 2 already) :/

Feb
03
2017
gypsy parfumista
gypsy parfumista

if you're "over" Ice*Men, I would be more than happy to take one of those bottles off your hands! {lol} serious

My mom has "wild fume swings" to the point where she loves something...6 months later, she's "over it" or has an attack of "too much too much!" and has to clear the decks. It's usually then that I wear something and she says "oooh what IS that?" to which I say "It's ___" and she says "what was I thinking when I gave that away?" OR she buys something again that she was just "over" last year; so YES some tastes do change-and often!

I have, in my decade or so of collecting and perfumin' (as my SO calls it) only had TWO scents "turn" both natyrals: YR Peche and Fraise (from Plaisirs du Nature line) and believe it is because they has extracts in them that truly soured. I keep the bulk of my collection in the dark cabinet and my abode is always between 68-72 degrees now.

I only had 1 bad association and it was PR Pour Homme (my idiot ex-brother in law used to bathe in it) but years later I got over it. Comfort scents DO help me for dentist appointments and procedures. Tea for Two and L'Egoiste helped me through my hospital stay after surgery on my spine,

Great piece though...love Addicted (and I am)

My name is Gypsy Parfumista and I am a fragrance junkie! :-)

Feb
02
2017
Futuremrspbb
Futuremrspbb

Just a note about scent memories, though this one was not negative and doesn't involve perfume. I simply found it very intriguing. Recently, my favorite brand of lip balm went out of business, and I therefore bought quite a bit of their lip balm before it was gone. Including several scents that (I thought) I had never tried before. Well, upon opening one of said scents and applying it, I was immediately taken back about six years to a sunny afternoon on a San Diego beach. Thinking back, I must have been wearing that lip balm at the time, the scent was an exact match for my memory. I realize now that it was that afternoon that my purse was stolen out of our car, taking the lip balm with it. I had no memory at all of it.
This has happened with other things, a certain sunscreen reminds me of an apartment in Paris, the smell of new plastic takes me back to a friend's sleepover as a child. But it's never been so vivid as this, and has never dredged up memories I thought I didn't have. The mind is an amazing thing.

Feb
02
2017
Mary-Jayne
Mary-Jayne

a further comment [because my original comment wasn't long enough!!! ;-)! ha]

@artemiss - that sounds like a truly horrifying situation and although I don't know you, I am exceedingly glad your friend was with you, and looked after you and kept you safe, because that story gives me chills, it's awful. I can totally understand why you'd want to skip that scent now.

@Ranchorita - You are right about hospital experiences, seems there's been a few of us on here who've had the misfortune of a serious or potentially serious illness that has turned us against certain scents. I agree with your comment also about how certain medications can alter the chemistry, and either/both alter how they interact with your body chemistry, or how you perceive them. For example some medications can leave you with a bad smell or taste in the back of your mouth which can make things smell weird, or it might be that something affects your own personal smell.
I think another thing to consider regarding hospital and perfume, as well as actual illness, medication etc, is that hospitals themselves have a very unique and distinct aroma, you all know it don't you, that hospital smell. I think that because general hospital aromas can be pretty strong, that can also affect perception of a perfume, eg it might overwhelm some notes or amplify others. Or it may just be that the hospital smell clashes with a certain perfume. But either way, that hospital smell permeates everything, your skin, hair, clothes etc. Even just visiting for a couple of hours you absorb some of the scent.
If you're an inpatient, not only do you have the hospital smell, you're also lacking in your own familiar "home" smells, eg the sheets won't be washed in the same detergent you use at home, your diet may be different to at home, you might be wearing a hospital gown instead of your own PJs etc, and I think these things could all be factors in hospital related aversions. As well as the memories evoked from experiencing the horrors of serious illness.
You also mentioned superstition, and i realised I'd had one or two encounters that had made me feel a superstitious anxiety over a certain perfume, eg I was in a nasty RTA few years ago, and was wearing Demeter - Dirt, then a few months after, when I wore Dirt again something else went wrong, and I realise I have a silly magical thinking going on that somehow correlated the coincidences and made me less keen to wear it again.

Finally, I agree with others who talk about how their menstrual cycle can affect things, I too have this experience and tend to wear and crave different scents to my usual rotation at certain times in my cycle. Also agree that seasons can have a huge impact, some things I love in summer I dislike in winter and vice versa. And of course these 2 things can also combine, meaning that I might have certain scents that I always like except if menstruating in summer, or might only like something the week before a period, in midwinter!!

Feb
01
2017
artemiss
artemiss

Turned as in stored poorly: I still cling to longer since 'turned' bottle of CK Truth. It was a first edition and the first one sold at my local mall in podunk USA. I hounded the people at the counter from the moment I smelled it in Cosmo and got a body oil spray (came in a week before the juice) to layer. Both are now pure acetone and nasty from having lived in the bathroom before I knew better. But I cn't bear to to part with them because they were the first first editions I ever owned..

Bad Associations: I was roofied/drugged at bar in FL while wearinf B&BW japanese cherry blossom spray and only made it home safely because I was with a dear friend who took care of me and got me out of there as soon as she realized things were weird.
The ensuing sickness following the blackout coupled with the realization of how much danger I was in while still smelling of that insipid stuff will always haunt me.

Feb
01
2017
DarlingNikki
DarlingNikki

This is a great article and while I have not actually fallen out of loving or liking a fragrance as such, I have gone from loving certain note combinations (or single notes) to finding they just don't do it for me anymore. One of these, regrettably for me, is the smell of roses, specifically tea and the classic red rose, in perfume form. As a child I loved Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose (the 1977 version) and was gifted it for my birthday one year. I wore it for a long time and then moved on to other scents. I have not smelled that version in years, but the smell of rose dominated perfume was something I always loved until recently. I don't know if it's simply the modern interpretation of roses in scents that's turning me off or what but now I can hardly stand rose based perfumes. The only one that comes close to being acceptable to me that I have smelled is Roses de Chloe and that's because it brings back memories of Tea Rose 1977. I'm still not inclined to actually put it on my skin, though, for some reason. I had high hopes for Dolce and Gabbana's Rosa Excelsa and I was on cloud nine at that first beautiful burst of clear, clean dewy red rose, but then that annoying used dryer sheet fell out of the sky to land smack on it and I am crushed. If only that dryer sheet note (the musk I believe is creating that affect) wasn't there I would be so in love with Rosa Excelsa, but as it is, I just can't with it.

Feb
01
2017
Littlebird33
Littlebird33

I used to love Ysatis and wore it regularly. About 10 years ago, I one day decided that I hated the way it smelled on me. I had just gotten a brand new bottle and it's been sitting full on my dressing table ever since.

Then I recently ordered a vintage decant of Joy. I hadn't smelled it since I was a child and I remembered not being crazy about it, but I figured now that I'm a mature woman, maybe I can appreciate it for the classic it is. I received the sample, took one sniff and was immediately repulsed. It smelled so strongly to me of cat urine and BO. I couldn't get the smell out of my nose all day and it was nauseating and brought back bad memories. I went home that evening and went to the bottle of Ysatis and smelled it for the first time in years. There it was again! Not as strong, but definitely the same note. I've come to realize that at this point in my life, I'm extremely sensitive to and repulsed by any amount of civet in a fragrance. I also realized that my mother used to wear very animalic scents when I was young and I always felt like they smelled as if she was wearing dirty underwear, lol. I have had a very tumultuous relationship with my mother and think part of the turn off is that I subconsciously don't want to smell like her. It may also have to do with the stage of life I'm in and could be hormone related ;) Whatever the reasons, I'm now turned off by a whole host of scents I used to love and admire. So there you go.

Feb
01
2017
arteditors
arteditors

end of may my favourite aunt and who also was the one who raised me died. i had some single note oils which i mixed (lavender, sandalwood) i knew i could not have worn any scent i own as i would end up hating them. now i want to give them away... so yes scent is greatly associated with memory. that is one factor and the other some fragrances not all age disgracefully. shalimar for instance looses the top notes but the overall experience is fine not to mention more resinous and deeper. on the other hand mitsouko does not age well, it needs to be consumed within 3-4 years...

Jan
31
2017
rue_de_la_roux
rue_de_la_roux

I'm a firm believer that hormones play a big part in this. During the week before my period, my perfumes often don't smell right. I learned this when I was new to the perfume addiction, I had a small bottle of Mitsouko parfum which I had tried previously and loved it & wore it several times. When I opened it to show it to a friend (right before my period)I took a whiff and all I smelled was a strong bitterness, it was overwhelming. Ugh, I didn't want to show it to my friend after that. But several days later I tried it again and there were my glorious peaches and spices that I loved. So I try not to test anything right before my period.

Jan
31
2017
rockegg
rockegg

I rotate which fragrances are in the front or back of the cabinet at least twice a year. Some I only like in hot weather, some only in cold. Some I suddenly hate but like again a year or two later.
I notice that when I've smelled a lot of something, such as a soap that permeates the bathroom, those particular molecules cease to be picked up by my olfactory bulbs, which radically changes what everything else smells like. In other words, if I have a citrus liquid hand soap around, the citrus notes in perfumes sort of vanish, and my experience of them changes.
There's also the 'who am I today' phenomenon. Sometimes I want to be reminded of who I used to be, sometimes I'm all about now. Sometimes I want to feel girly, sometimes I'm serious business.
There are days when I take a long time to decide what to spray on. It can get complicated!

Jan
31
2017
ranchorita
ranchorita

One thing that should be mentioned is that when you ae on medications such as I.V. Antibiotics, that also may change how your chemistry interacts with a fragrance. If you are going into the hospital, as the author stated, you may be better off to bring only unscented lotions, etc.

Jan
31
2017
ranchorita
ranchorita

Thank you for this excellent article.

I've had a scent ruined for me by an unexpected hospitalization. I was mending and about to go home when I used a white ginger shower gel that was forever ruined for me. I was baffled how it evoked the ghastly memory of a nearly fatal illness.

I've never been superstitious, but I was fired while wearing a favorite perfume, and now I only wear it on days I'm fairly certain will be middle-of-the -road with little chance of scary outcomes. I feel like I have to protect that fragrance so it doesn't get ruined for me.

Jan
31
2017
huberrobert
huberrobert

@Betsywoolbright
Thanks for commenting, at least I know I'm not alone in such a strange experience. And I ALMOST think I wouldn't have been soured to that fragrance (Cool Water men's) if it had been nearly ANY other note from a scent family that I enjoy more, such as heavy florals or more straightforward aquatics. Those I can take in large doses, but mint-oriented things are one thing I'm on the fence about; whether it's in perfumes, food/candy, cleaning products, etc. to name a few.
Mint and also coconut scents are notes I can hardly handle, unless mixed in a perfumed sort of way in the right amounts. For example, the coconut in Versace Crystal Noir is great, the synthetic sort of vanilla/mint combo in Gaultier's Le Male and the more natural vanilla/mint in Cartier Roadster come to mind.
I was already feeling blase about buying Cool Water for that mint note, but for the sake of getting 80's powerhouse type scents I wanted to add it to my small collection. I kind of believe now it was a sign or way of it just not being meant for me to enjoy beyond knowing I had it once, showing me that even when I was sort of cringing already about getting such a heavy mint cologne it came back to bite me in the end as a way of saying I didn't need it all haha.
More a stream of though comment, this one.
I'm also more adept at only buying scents with my favorite type of notes now that I've had and also sampled so many as a fragrance junkie.

Jan
31
2017
kellbell73
kellbell73

Love your writing, as always!
I have found that the aldehydes in some of my beloved vintages are just DESTROYED by time. Makes me want to cry a bit. Citrus notes sometimes too. :(

Jan
31
2017
Bretto66
Bretto66

This happened to me with "Un Jardin Sur Le Toit" by Hermes.......I absolutely flogged this fragrance to death for six months.....half way through the bottle I put in on one day and found I couldnt stand the smell of it on my skin.....Its now a year on and the same half bottle is sitting on my dresser.....What to do....sell it....or wait for another day when I love wearing the perfume again.....any suggestions fragrance lovers ?????????

Jan
31
2017
Thomaso7
Thomaso7

yeah I have a few scents which have definitely gone off. Usually they are over ten years or so, and it seems they all the sudden go off after a certain point.
The top notes weaken and go soft, there is a sourness to the perfume, and overall it is not as strong, sharp or multifaceted as they used to be, and they don't last long at all anymore.
They are the ones I got a long time ago and never really wore them much - and they weren't favorites anyways, but I still do have them.

Jan
31
2017
bibibling
bibibling

There was an 8 month time in 2015 that my bottle of Anais Anais became unrecognizable to me. The Indolic "white flower" parts had become so shrill and horrible that I couldn't believe it. Worst part is, everyone else who smelled my bottle said it smelled the same.

Well I kept the bottle and kept testing it every now and then and about 8 months later, suddenly it was the sweet 'fancy french girls frolicking in the woods while wearing white dresses' sort of fragrance that I was used to.

I still wish I had a solid scientific explanation for what happened to my nose (sense of smell) during that time though.

Jan
31
2017
EDAperfume
EDAperfume

I used to love Coco Mademoiselle dearly, but then I became pregnant with my daughter and I couldn't stand it any longer. I felt sick just seeing the bottle.. I was sure this would pass once my daughter was born but alas no! It still gives me the shivers.. very sad as it was a true love once upon a time.

Jan
31
2017
katemax
katemax

I used to have a bottle of al haramain million but wore it the day my dog died. I put it straight in the bin..

Jan
31
2017
bardo
bardo

okkk...
gone bad: LA PRAIRIE Life Threads PLATINUM..my supposed-to-be super-sexy,smoke + galbanum, night fragrance, discontinoued 2 years ago,my only backup full-bottle,close box in dark,dry closet,100 euro paid... has TURNED!scented shiiit!no sex anymore...
bad memories-association: 1. I NEVER can wear a friend's or an accuintance's fragrance.I HATE it too, when they do- i feel insaulted.I don't tell because they don't think like parfumistas...2. I hate tuberose and my wedding's scent:GAULTIER "Fragile ,eau de toilette"...nothing to wonder about: my makeup artist of YSL was promoting it, i'm now divorced from my anosmic husband, 3.when younger, i used to own only one parfume... i always changed it, when i changed my boyfriend.
change tastes: I have been into citruses and fresh (CALYX,DUNE,L'EAU D' ISSEY,BVL femme,MOSCHINO love to love) but when i gave birth to my 3 childrens, 14 years ago, i turned to more spicy, woody, patchouli and vetiver, cypress fragrances-like i really grew up just then...great article,great comments!

Jan
31
2017
rudy23
rudy23

I've had this happen to me once- it was Dolce&Gabbana's The One EDT. I remember the first time I smelled it I was completely captivated and enamored by the scent. It was like no other cologne I had ever smelled before.

It smelled soft, manly, and sweet. I remember I tried over 6 different colognes that day in an effort to buy that one cologne that I could impress the ladies with. To my nose at the time, The One blew them all away. It was not even close.

I thought I had surely found my signature scent. Something that I could wear often and would never get tired of. I wore it on and off for about 1.5 years (at that time I only had 2 colognes so I did not want to use it all up before that).

One day before heading to college, I sprayed it on and the smell seemed to have changed. Perhaps it was my nose or my tastes, but the scent smelled different. I wore it throughout the day regardless. After that however, the smell just wasn't the same. It was not how I remembered it. I let my friends smell it and they said it was a really nice scent but I personally couldn't deal with it. I wondered if it had gone bad but did not recall ever leaving it out in hot weather (or anything of that sort).

The smell was now very synthetic and rubbery to an extent. I tried it on a few more times after that and nothing had changed. I ended up selling the half-empty cologne to my friend who has since then almost used it all up. I recently smelled D&G The One EDT on another person and the smell was still not pleasing. I wonder what ever happened to that wonderful smell I fell in love with. Now I can't stand it at all even though it's a very widely-liked cologne.

Jan
31
2017
rickyrebarco
rickyrebarco

Just realized reading this that the reason I have a problem with many of the Profumum Roma gourmands is a bit of anise that somehow reminds me of a chemotherapy IV drug I was given in the hospital. I finally found one Profumum that I do like, Confetto, but I have to tell myself when I spray it on, "no IV's are involved!"

Jan
31
2017
zoranna
zoranna

I had only two scents that would turn within a few months: Miss Dior (the original as was) and Estee Lauder Beautiful. This, despite the fact they were kept in an aluminium box lined with black felt and kept in a cool cupboard for storage. I got round the Estee Lauder problem by only ever wearing the skin cream which I preferred in any case. These days I have a considerably larger collection but prefer to keep only decants from fellow fragantians with the exception of a few most loved scents.

Thanks to bad associations I was never able to tolerate Rochas Femme or Angel (although some 25 years later I am tempted to try them both). For some reason if a partner ended our replationship, it never put me off the scents they wore! Same with bad bosses, if they were men, however if they were women I would cross the road to avoid someone wearing the same scent! I have no idea why negative associations by gender affect me so differently.

I found that during pregnancy and feeding years I could not wear scent at all and afterwards my tastes had changed. I have learnt not to dismiss a scent as (even some years later!) I discover I now like it...just as there are those I fall out with, maybe for a time, even a few years but then one day they magically suit me for a particular day or occasion. Unfortunately I cannot remember what I was wearing the day I married my husband as I was not very focused on perfumes then.

Jan
31
2017
Kmam
Kmam

Oh, @Rozo, that made ME feel queasy! Poor you :-(

Jan
31
2017
rozo
rozo

I bought Anna Sui Sui Love in an airport departure area, after spritzing some on myself and wandering about for an hour or so to test first.

Unfortunately the flight was very turbulent and the airline did not provide paper bags, and embarassingly I was sick all over myself.

I still had to sit on the plane for hours, and when I arrived at my (hot!) destination, I then had to endure a 2-hour car journey, still smelling of Sui Love and vomit.

To make matters worse, I had opened the bottle and spritzed more of the perfume on myself to try to cover up the smell (it didn't work).

Obviously, I can't wear Sui Love any more.

Jan
31
2017
Kmam
Kmam

Tom Ford Black Orchid + six pints of cider + stuffy taxi journey with windows that didn't open = well, you can imagine the rest. I haven't worn it since.

Jan
31
2017
Perfumeaddict777
Perfumeaddict777

Great article. Luckily i haven't experienced a perfume that went bad on me yet. I do have some vintages but they came from a fragrantica member who stored them properly. Other than those i always use my perfumes pretty fast and need replacement bottles:) i do have a bad association with Victoria Secret Love Spell. I used to like the scent but when i was hospitalized with a kidney infection among other things last year my husband brought love spell to the hospital for me to wear. I didn't want to wear an expensive perfume while there. Well it made me nauseated, gave me a headache and i hate it. After that i can not even think about that perfume without feeling I'll and making my skin crawl.

Jan
31
2017
Macassar
Macassar

i used to like it.... i hate it : aqua di Gio Armani (negative association )

Jan
31
2017
Fragaria
Fragaria

Fantastic article! You make everything interesting!

Jan
31
2017
catherine82
catherine82

A horrendous tequila-related hangover put me off Angel for 10 years.
I bought some last year though and we are in lurrrve again...

Jan
31
2017
Betsywoolbright
Betsywoolbright

@huberrobert, I had a very similar experience with Hermes eau de Merveilles. Except I'd blind bought it. But my room smelled like synthetic wood and something aromatic for quite a while. The bottle had leaked badly, and not shattered. I tried it on paper several times, and on my skin, but I couldn't ever bring myself to enjoy it.

Another example of a scent going bad to me is Calvin Klein's Eternity Moment. When I was in my teens, my grandma once gave me a sample and I loved it. I bought the big bottle several years after, and I could never enjoy it. It smelled musty. I don't know if the bottle was bad or not, but I couldn't wear it. Then I found it has cashmeran in it, and I also found I can't wear that aromachemical.

Another interesting one is that whenever I wear Serge Lutens's Chergui, my husband and I seem to fight. It hasn't ruined the scent, though, and I just chalk it up to coincidence. :)

Jan
31
2017
Debbie3
Debbie3

Chanel No 5, my first true love, i wore it when my second true love and i were married, (many moons ago) however a couple of years ago, i reached for a spray of it and rushed to wash it off (next to impossible) i just dont like it anymore. Its very sad!

Jan
31
2017
Mary-Jayne
Mary-Jayne

I have experienced all 3 types of perfume turning against me

Gone Off/Turned Bad - fortunately this has been rare and I have been generally pretty lucky - maybe it is just my choice of perfumes, maybe it is due to them being stored carefully, in their original boxes usually, and wrapped in layers of dark tissue paper of not boxed, and then stored within the cupboards and drawers of a wardrobe that is a steady 17-18 degrees celsius. Who knows. But I had a bottle of Chloe AND a bottle of Chloe Intense go bad on me few years ago. The metal on the outside, eg round the nozzle etc, all corroded and tarnished, both times, and the scent turned quickly, in less than one year. My understanding is that many others have experienced the same with Chloe. I Think I once had an old, almost empty bottle of Noa that felt like it was on the turn. And there was one disastrous encounter with a perfume called Sagittarius and another called Capricorn, I don't recall the brand but obviously zodiac themed, and neither of them my star sigh anyway! But they were ok, and then very suddenly over course of a couple of week turned sour and nasty, acrid. Unfortunately Himself hadn't realised (nor had I at that point) when he gave himself a generous few sprays right before we left the house for an hour long car journey to visit people. Well you can imagine being in the confined space of a car, utterly filled with the fumes of gone off perfume, awful and nauseating.

Negative Associations - yes to this also, a few. La Vie Est Belle I wrote about before in my review on that page, wore it one day in hospital but took a real turn for worse that day and now it is inextricably linked in my mind to the hell of that day and those immediately following, and despite changes of pyjamas and bedding, I was not well enough to get up and wash properly and that tenacious scent clung to me throughout the ordeal. Also had a similar experience one day when I was wearing Jacinthe & Rose by e.coudray, and sampling TF Tuscan Leather on my forearm. All was fine until the evening when I felt a little rough, by night time felt pretty awful and went to bed, but woke in the night extremely ill, ended up being an ambulance job and straight to resus in A&E, with suspected meningitis, and a level of dehydration and fever that was making my heart do silly and dangerous things. Ended up spending a week in isolation room on the infectious diseases ward, and those 2 perfumes were amplified I think by my high temp, or maybe I was oversensitive, but now I feel immediately sick if I smell either.
When I have stayed in hospital, and with being ill I have had a few extended stays before now, and I am wary of using anything I really love, and I was lucky that Himself was happy to bring me a few random different scents from my collection every few days to rotate what I was using and mitigate against any aversions developing for my loves. Of course now though I dread taking ill when wearing a true love favourite.
I have also experienced the horrible person perfume aversion scenario too - I don't know if I would have liked it anyway, but someone who was a real malign influence in my childhood wore a certain perfume that I simply cannot abide, it isn't that it makes me queasy etc like those above, more it just hits some nerve inside that if not caught quickly allows all kinds of long buried memories to resurface.

Change in Taste - most definitely, and too many to count! I have always been interested and fascinated by smell and perfume as long as I can remember, and I remember being as young as 2, still in a pushchair etc, and enjoying (or not) the scents of people and things around me, and I have used perfumes and perfumed products regularly since childhood - definitely from primary school days. So obviously my tastes have changed, my tastes have matured, and that thing I loved when I was 11/15/21/26 etc may just not be "me" anymore. Although I enjoyed some bigger, heavier, and generally more mature scents in my youth, it was largely smelling them on others, I felt drowned by them like wearing someone else, someone olders clothes. Even a few years ago I could not truly appreciate and wear some of my very favourite scents today. I generally erred more to the sweeter, fruitier and more ozonic and aquatic scents when young, like teenage, but then it was the 90s too, so its what was around and affordable. But generally speaking I really don't like ozonic or aquatic anymore, I remember once upon a time really liking Cool Water, Very Irresistible, and Light Blue, Amor Amor, many others, but they leave me cold now, not interested in them slightly. I would say a good percentage of the things I liked or thought I liked when I was aged 16-22, I dislike now. I don't know if I ever did truly like them or if I was just trying to work it out myself using the limited selection available for me to try out in our local small town dept store, or Boots, that were affordable and/or had testers available to try freely.

Jan
31
2017
Nil3
Nil3

I always thought Anais Anais by Cacharel smelled very foul.
Only to have realized way later on that I was associating it with a stupid uncle of mine who took my moms bottle and sprayed the whole bathroom after he took a dump of nr.2 to cover the smell of his poo!
Regardless to say,I would NEVER EVER wear that scent.

AND......
Whether you believe it or not,
I have a funeral fragrance.
YES.

A fragrance I wear when I have to give my condolences to our so called traditional 3 days funeral.
Or even that open casket funeral.

Fault is the advertisement to that fragrance.
All im doing is imitating Monica Bellucci. ;)

Sicily, by D&G

Jan
30
2017
kapted
kapted

A problem I encounter quite a bit is where a perfume I adore on paper or sniffing from the bottle, and I keep going back to with the intention of buying, seems to be revolting on me when applied to my skin. It is devastating.

One of the most powerful instances of simply just not liking any more is Romeo Gigli (women). I had two bottles; one full and one almost empty. All of a sudden, I just detested it. I had to give them away. Now I feel absolute horror I did such a thing, for I'd love to have to it around again.

Jan
30
2017
njn
njn

This happens to me all the time. And over the years I have outgrown many of my former favorites. And sometimes when I spray from a bottle that has been unused for many years it is horrible, but after several sprays it suddenly becomes normal again. This has happened to me many times also when I buy a new perfume, even Coco Mademoiselle was terrible bugspray for a couple of days. And sometimes sorrow ruins a perfume, I can't wear my beloved Jaipur at the moment. There are also notes that I can't handle, like gardenia. And after reformulations I'm really missing some genuine elements, sandalwood is one of them. As I'm getting older I have also noticed that I'm having more difficulties with scents that vary from my usual taste.

A great article, thank you Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison. This helped me to reorganize my thoughts around the matter.

Jan
30
2017
Care
Care

From my teens I loved Shalimar. Most often I wore it in cologne strength over the years of my teens and 20's, but sometime in my early 30's, I didn't have any for several years. When I finally got another bottle, it smelled different. There was an underlying note I'd never noticed before. It lingered for hours, and I just did not feel like I was wearing Shalimar anymore, so I gave it up. I started wearing it again in the late 90's, even though that undertone still insinuated itself, but I found that the eau de toilette wasn't as noticeable. Once, I happened on a set of Shalimar Light. It was as if I'd found the real Shalimar again! But, unfortunately, Shalimar Light was discontinued. I do still wear Shalimar these days, but it's not the 'love' that it once was. Sometimes I wonder if our body chemistry might have changed over time, to cause this change in a favorite fragrance aura, and not necessarily that the perfume has 'turned' or the formulation been changed?
Another experience was with Dior's Poison, a favorite of my husband. I'd been wearing it for several years when we purchased some room spray by Glade called Country Garden Potpourri, for our bathroom. After a few times of entering the bathroom after someone else had been in there, I could no longer wear Poison without thinking of the repulsive combination made by the room spray and, well, you know. Glade Country Garden Potpourri was banished forever, and although I tried Poison a few times thereafter, it was definitely a "no-go" also. (Pun intended)

Jan
30
2017
huberrobert
huberrobert

Entirely true...when I started my fragrance journey/addiction about three years ago I ordered a bottle of Davidoff Cool Water men's as I was stocking up on old greats, and it arrived shattered in the package to the post office (a nuisance I even had to pick it up there, because as the packaging was damp and suspicious they held it until I could pick it up in person).
Anyway, I went to pick it up and take it home, and the mint in the top notes saturated all over the packaging was immediately overwhelming and nauseating; reminded me of mint toothpaste on steroids, to the point of quite literally gagging and inducing a massive headache.
I did get a new bottle from the online vendor because of the damage, so it was no big deal; HOWEVER I've never been able to even mildly enjoy Cool Water ever again because it always reminds me of that shattered bottle and the overwhelming MINT opening that assaulted my nose and brain, and then mildly lingered in a corner of my house as I held onto the package wrapped in a plastic bag for a few days during the exchange process (the vendor ended up saying I don't need to send it back, just sent the replacement instead). But that mint just didn't want to leave. And that new bottle just sat there among my other fragrance finds for nearly two years before I finally used it up as a refresher one spritz at a time sometimes, just to use it up...as a fragrance junkie I hate throwing out fragrances even when I don't like them much or they've done me wrong.
Never could bring myself to wear it again though, and likely never will; though I very much like the women's Cool Water (very unisex casual scent) and wear it often as a work/casual/errands/home type of scent.
Sorry for the rant, but yes the power of scents is very much alive, and can often remind us of or cause our best and/or worst memories/experiences/people/etc.
Smell on everybody.

Jan
30
2017
unregistered
unregistered

I had eaten something bad, became queasy, then got on a crowded, hot bus where someone was wearing a great deal of Angel. I owned and loved a bottle Angel at the time. That was over twenty years ago and I have not been able to wear it since.

Jan
30
2017
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Yes, going 'off' a scent is a fact of life for perfume fiends! I'm glad to see this talked through in an article, Marlen, because sometimes I feel that the vagaries of scent love and loss are just personal stupidity. Not so! :)

Some onerous associations seem possible to overcome - others not. Repeated wearings of a troublesome scent in more pleasant circumstances may help...or may not! I suspect that prolonged agony or duplicity are not one among the ones easily lost. One particularly lovely musk is forever unwearable to me, and all because of years spent around the personality disorder of the one associated with it! Life is such a strange kettle of fish.

And you're so right - other times we love a scent and then lose all interest. I suspect it reflected a portion of who we were at one moment but negates a large part of who we are BECOMING. There's something off putting about sporting a perfume or scented product that fights with ourselves Now on the Inside.

The happiest kind of dis-ease with scent, however, is the one that occurs with weather changes! This changeable aspect in tastes comes and goes with the thermostat settings. I crave simple florals occasionally, but that time seems only to be in the late winter and early spring. The rest of the year I'm wondering what on earth possessed me to buy them, LOL. And yet they are fast friends again at a change of season.

One thing for sure:
The life of a perfume lover is mostly unpredictable, and ALWAYS interesting! Kudos for a great article, Marlen. :)

Jan
30
2017
missguided23
missguided23

I always think about the fragrance of the day. It is dependent on what I think the day will be like... the day of the week and what I hope to achieve. There are days that are horrendous... and as a result I tend to shy away from the fragrance I wore on the day...at least for a while. For me, selecting fragrances is the most important part of the day. I guess I am a fragrance addict.☺

Jan
30
2017
guest_
guest_

This article is right on point, I totally agree with it. I have Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture and this fragrance to me is very nostalgic. It reminds me of where I grew up, of my grandmother, of my childhood. Whenever I am nostalgic and missing where I come from all I have to do is spritz some on and it transports me to those times. So it is like steroids to my feelings/moods.

I come from the deep country in the tropical island of PR. her house was made out of oxidized zinc, built in the mountains deep in the forest right next to a creek with big rocks and all, a natural (water) spring and not far from the beach. There were flowers and fruit trees all around (magnolias, jasmines, lilies, Ylang Ylang right out of her window! and many many more, she also had pineapples, passion fruit, guava, ect. )when it rained it was the most beautiful music mother nature sang to me and it smelled soon good year around. If I am missing my grandma' to the point that I'm about to cry, I spritz some on and I ll cry for hours lol but in a good way. If I want to reminiscence about this time I'll spritz some on and I am there... that's Crazy, I Know!!!

There is something about Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture that takes me there in a sniff. I highly appreciate the notes on it. So, I only wear this perfume at home while alone. I want nothing and no-one to spoil it for me.


Then there is Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf. I smelled it on my friend, who as me happened to also be pregnant at the time. I loved it so much that I went and got the big bottle! OMG I wore this thing day and night, so did she. Through her sickness and mine LMAO. Now two years later, whenever I smell it I get a headache, nausea, stomach ache... It is like all of those pregnancy symptoms come back...hers and mine.

Jan
30
2017
june7rose
june7rose

I learned the hard way not to order off amazon or many of the sites that sell decants, more than half my purchases turned long before they were shipped. :(

Jan
30
2017
GrandmaGaga
GrandmaGaga

White Diamonds...I'm looking at you, sweetheart....

Jan
30
2017
lemonzest
lemonzest

What a thoughtful article. Yes, I can see where a scent could go wrong...change in taste, bad associations, even just learning more about the celebrity on the bottle.
For me, smelling something I love on a person I don't like or who has an unusual body odor provokes reappraisal. Notable case...smelling a great cologne on a coworker who eats garlic.

Sometimes I revisit a scent I used to love, one with happy memories attached, but I just can't wear it. It's not that I don't love it, it's more that it feels like going against the nap of the fabric of time. Calvin Klein Escape and Tommy Girl come to mind. Great scents, but too much in the past.

Jan
30
2017
LadyIva
LadyIva

Happens to me all the time! I don't have that many fragrances, and yet there are several of them that I haven't worn in more than a year; or, worse, some that I purchased relatively recently, but grew tired of them very quickly, such as Coco Mademoiselle (snooze...) and Cacharel Eden (too obtrusive!) Moreover, I've become overly sensitive to very sweet scents; e.g. I still like to sniff YSL Manifesto Elixir, but I cannot wear it anymore.

Jan
30
2017
nyse4
nyse4

Interesting writing, indeed I don't like Eau d'Issey anymore because I used to wear it while studying for my toughest school exams. Now if I smell it I get that exam aprehension and stress.

Jan
30
2017

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