Ça Sent Beau (Kenzo)

Ça sent beau means "this smells lovely"-- so lovely that the perfume shop owner who sold me two boxed minis of this much-mourned classic almost demanded a thousand-word essay on why I thought I should be their owner. I did my darndest to present a convincing argument, and in the end (with a great show of reluctance, like a man forced to marry off his favorite daughter) my argumentative, obstinate, but ultimately lovable attar-wallah relented.

If he'd played his cards a little more wisely, he could have had his lawn mowed, socks darned, and dishes washed for a year.

Ça Sent Beau (1989) is a miniature symphony in which each different section of the olfactory orchestra -- the citrus chypres, the peachy florals, the gentle woods -- plays its movement separately. Then all join together for a heart-swelling rendition of the composition's central theme, which is a doozy and carries you straight into paradise. By the time the final notes sound, you'll feel as though you've attended an all-day ritual rāga concert and raised your blissful face just in time to feel the first monsoon raindrops patter like a benediction on your brow.

Scent Elements: Mandarin, neroli, gardenia, tuberose, magnolia, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, peach, plum, coriander, cardamom, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss, vanilla, musk, amber