Guerlain Mitsouko

Guerlain Mitsoukofeatured

I fell down the perfume rabbit hole. It’s a lovely rabbit hole to fall down, if you must chose one, it smells divine.

For Christmas my dear husband bought me a bottle of perfume. I’d never tried it before (now I know how dangerous that is) but it was rose and he knows I like roses and so it seemed like a safe bet, and we got lucky. I was indeed in love with it. I haven’t owned or worn perfume for years, no particular reason why I’d just never bothered. OK, being a broke graduate student probably had a lot to do with it, and before that working in an all male engineering company where “dressed up” meant your shirt had buttons and your jeans were new, probably also contributed.

But I was hooked by that simple bottle of Clean’s Blonde Rose. And, well you know me, I can’t just leave well enough alone. So I did a little reading, and I ordered a whole mess of perfume samples. I made a spreadsheet to track what I tried, my reactions, my ratings. (Because, well you know me, but also I did go a bit overboard on samples and keeping them straight otherwise would have been impossible.) And I spent the months since Christmas wearing a lot of different scents. My body chemistry is peculiar when it comes to perfumes, some of the absolute classics are completely forgettable on me. At least one of the “every woman must own this” perfumes lasted a full 10 minutes on my skin and then vanished into the ether as if it had never been.

The perfumes I thought would be wonderful were in general totally forgettable on me, and the ones I expected to dislike drew me back over and over again like a  moth to a candle flame. Chypre perfumes shine on my skin. From Fragrantica the definition of the chypre family of fragrances:

This olfactive group was named after perfume Coty Chypre created in 1917. Chypre means Cyprus in French. This sharp scent is based on harmony of oak moss, labdanum, patchouli and bergamot.”


Other perfumers mention animalistic scents associated with this family. From what I read they are often not “easy” perfumes to wear and some people’s noses may strongly dislike the scent. I was warned in early “getting into perfume” literature to try a few chypre but maybe not expect to like them early on. Blame it on my funny body chemistry, or my nose, but I fell head over heals in love.

It took one dab from the tiny tester tube of Guerlain’s Mitsouko Eau de Parfum to become besotted. I splashed her on, sniffed and recoiled in surprise at the sharp slap of scent that greeted me, think of sticking your nose into a fresh bottle of ground cinnamon and inhaling. It hurts. But I couldn’t resist going back in for another sniff, something about that scent was both shocking, and alluring at the same time.

DSC03272-EditOn me, Mitsouko starts strong, and sharp. It’s a take no prisoners scent. It’s the scent of power and confidence, a little off putting in its brash boldness but also captivating. I get fresh wood, cinnamon, and an underlying sharpness that keeps the previous two from becoming too cozy. I was in love, even though I didn’t entirely understand why. When my husband came home he sniffed, asked what in heaven’s name I was wearing and when I told him said emphatically “I like it!” By the time we were stuck in traffic on the I-5 headed to dinner we found ourselves surprised again, because Mitsouko had settled down to an oaky, mossy scent above which hovered something my husband called “flowers, maybe lily?” and I called vanilla. Supposedly it’s peach, but neither of us gets peach from the scent (on my skin). Whatever it is, by evening Mitsouko has changed out of her power suit and into something soft, elegant, but equally dangerous. She’d mellowed enough that going in for a kiss becomes an allure rather than a risk.

I’ve read reviews that said Mitsouko would never be an everyday scent but that’s exactly what it has become for me. I used up my tester and ordered a full bottle of the Parfum because I was hooked. It fits like a glove, catching a hint of it throughout the day make some smile. It is probably too strong and warm for summer wear; but it is the perfect scent for a cold winter day, or gloomy Pacific Northwest Spring when one needs something warm and stirring. If you are intrigued many more reviews and information can be found at Frangrantica. I got my sample in a niche perfume sample pack from Surrender To Chance who I highly recommend, though I warn you, that way is totally the entrance to the rabbit hole…

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