Rose Musc (Sonoma Scent Studio)

A rather distressing symptom related to brain tumors and seizure disorders is phantosmia, otherwise known as olfactory hallucinations or 'phantom odors'. Even a lovely smell can provoke anxiety when you know damn well that it's coming from nowhere... and that a blinding migraine or even convulsions will almost surely follow. In its most unwelcome form, phantosmia morphs into cacosmia-- the perception of a rotting, rancid, decaying, or burnt (yet utterly nonexistent) odor. The brain dredges up its worst scent memories (dead fish, scorched rubber, raw garlic, fresh shit) and tosses them out there for reinspection. Gee whillikers; thanks!

The first time I wore Rose Musc, I had a simple partial seizure (completely coincidental, of course). That day, I'd been operating under a double whammy of insomnia and ovulation, two potent precursors to an intracranial fireworks show. For about five minutes, I marveled at how lovely Rose Musc was-- so rich, so red, so leathery-animalic -- and then the sulphurous scent of raw onions overran everything. For half an hour, I kept asking my husband, "Come on, level with me; you can't NOT smell that," and he patiently maintained that I must be having a heavy burtation*. Steadfast in my desire to blame it all on the perfume, I went and took a shower. But while under the spray, I suffered a brief but startling auditory hallucination; it lasted only seconds and sounded like a fire alarm in volume and intensity. Most importantly, it succeeded in getting poor Rose Musc off the hook. Clearly, my very own brain -- and NOT Sonoma Scent Studios-- was responsible for my woe.

I'm wearing Rose Musc again today. I do not smell any onions, thank god, although now that my neural pathways have cleared, I do notice that the rose essence used herein has a somewhat savory quality. It falls about halfway between Guerlain Nahéma's tomato-rose and the strangely foccaccia-like Zephir by Parfums de Rosine-- and it lands farther from India Gulab or Fleurs de Bulgarie territory than I'd originally gauged.

So it's not bad... but not entirely all in my head, either.

*Which I have rather frequently, in case you think I'm making fun of this poor reporter.

Scent Elements: Rose petals, ambergris, labdanum absolute, skin musks