Persian Lilac (Attar Bazaar)

More than most other aesthetic subjects, perfume forces an immediate response. It takes time to read a book, listen to music, or absorb the symbolism of a work of visual art, but it takes no time at all to accept or reject a fragrance. Despite the insistence of some that you stick with it from beginning to end or even wear it more than once before committing to an opinion, you know right away-- instantaneously. A perfume's notes, after all, advertise its personality. One screechy or false note, and the acquaintance is as good as over.

After you experience a hundred or so fragrances, reflex turns into reflection. It becomes possible to slow down, categorize, generalize, and identify what you like and don't like. Empirical knowledge authorizes me to state that I like leathers, chypres, woods, spicy or smoky fragrances, and animalics. The same accumulation of experience allows me to tell you that I dislike ditzy florals, sweet fruities, "fresh" odors, and aldehydics. I can use more specific language, if you wish: I like things that smell dirty, dense, and complicated; I dislike things that smell sanitized, deodorized, sugar-coated, and infantile. I am not likely to change these opinions. They have become hard-wired over time.

At first, Persian Lilac smells as clean and safe as anti-allergenic laundry detergent-- deceptive, since an unfortunate note of fecal matter is next to emerge. For all their color and spicy sweetness, lilacs are akin to white flowers in that they contain a hidden blast of indoles. It's enough to turn the clean dirty, but not dirty in the way I like it. Rather, this combination of sugar and poop morphs into a turnoff mighty fast. The drydown is dryer sheets all the way-- an ugly, sterile musk that sours quickly on the skin.

I wore Persian Lilac all day, and at no time could I accustom myself to its cloying presence. It made me smell like someone (or something) other than myself, a stranger. Unlike other Attar Bazaar samples I've parlayed into full-dram purchases, this one will henceforth remain corked.

Scent Elements: Lilac, white musk, and Desitin.