There is a principle in cognitive psychologyaccording to which humans always try to find a reason or an explanation for their own behaviour (some spend more time trying to explain the behaviour of others, but that’s another story). When a behaviour does not have an explanation in the tangible environment, we try to find an internal reason for our behaviours.
It has long been my practice to make careful rather than impulsive purchasing decisions when it comes to perfume. A perfume bottle sitting on the shelf unsmelled and unworn is like an orphan child waiting for adoption. To avoid this unsettling scenario of feeling obligated to wear a perfume just because it’s there, I have developed a golden rule that never failed me until now: I only purchase a perfume if I find myself daydreaming about it after I empty a sample of it.
This worked great until I found myself using up more than two samples of Narciso Rodriguez, and while denying any affection to it find myself trying it on almost every time I visit a store that carries it. I could probably be held accountable for justifying the production of at least 4ml of this juice, but still I refuse to put either money or words to explain such a bizarre behaviour!
There is something unsettling about Narciso Rodriguez. It is obscure and unstable. The first time I smelled it I thought it was an extremely heady floral scent; It left impression of artificial gardenia, or perhaps it was a trick of my imagination, as I was expecting it to smell like narcissus – or at least something close. How naive of me! A few other times it was just so barely there I could hardly smell it (carrying on the musk and anosmia theme here), but a few hours later it grew warm and strong and the little ribbon was enough to scent the whole living room. One time I thought I like it so much that I sprayed so much on I ended up with a terrible headache and swore to never wear it again…Recently, I smell in it a faintly sweet floral opening, reminiscent of orange blossom and slightly sweet and warm citrus honey. This quickly fades into a more woody floral accord, and finally warms into a subtle skin-like musk, with a very close to the skin dry down. In any case, it does have the tendency to grow on fabrics better than the skin – and make them smell like they just came out of the drier… When that happens I seriously consider adding Narciso to the category of comfort scents that are obscure, overtly synthetic and sensually aloof (next to Tocade and l'Eau d'Issey). Perhaps I am intrigued by the unstable and indecisive, sitting-on-the-fence mind frame, and that is why I find myself obsessed with this perfume. I
If I was a cognitive psychologist, I would conclude – I wear it because I like it. I prefer to stick to my golden rule, only this time – if I finish the mini bottle that just arrived from e-Bay today, and still try to figure out Narciso Rodriguez – I will commit to buy a 100ml EDT bottle for the full retail price at Holt Renfrew crew who have been very patient...
*Photograph of Mariko Tanabe's Narcisse en silence