Blue Grass Flower Mist Vintage Eau de Cologne (Elizabeth Arden)

Last night, I went to bed with a sore throat and upset stomach-- both mild, nothing to cause concern. Around three o'clock this morning, I woke up ablaze with fever. Every joint ached; every swallow scorched my esophagus; my abdomen felt as though it were filled with concrete. For a moment, I experienced the strange thought that I was back in the hospital with peritonitis; any minute now, the night nurse would be along to cluck her tongue and confiscate my blanket...

I've spent today sequestered at home in my pajamas, sipping ginger ale, sucking on honey-lemon zinc lozenges-- and cooling my febrile pulse points with spritzes of Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass Flower Mist.

I should probably state right away that I'm not a fan of Elizabeth Arden, either as a person or as a brand. Having read both Lindy Woodhead's War Paint and Kathy Piess' Hope in a Jar, I find myself disinclined to view the haughty, vindictive, and anti-Semitic Arden with much charity. I never really liked any of the Arden fragrances or flankers I came across; in each was evident one (or all) of the three S's -- sour, strident, shrill -- which herald an less-than-enthusing fragrance experience. With the rare exceptions of Grey Flannel and Badgely Mischka, Arden's acquired product lines emphatically turn me off.

So why does Blue Grass Flower Mist get in under the wire?

First, there's the molded-glass bottle, encircled by a handsome bas-relief parade of horses, who alternately rear or graze in placid pairs-- very nice.

Second, there the EdC, which opens with a tart green bergamot, moves on to a vague, powdery-pale, coumarinic floral, and vanishes very quickly on skin. All these points may sound like negatives, but when one feels unwell, words like 'bland' and 'sterile' suddenly gain cache, as do fragrances that last for the exact duration of your tolerance for them.

Elizabeth Arden may not have been the nicest person, but occasionally it's worth remembering that the real given name of this nursing school dropout was 'Florence Nightingale'.

Scent Elements: Aldehydes, bergamot, neroli, lavender, geranium, lily, rose, jasmine, tuberose, carnation, bay leaf, cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin, musk