Week Without Perfume


Post by ElizaD


For some reason I have not worn perfume for the last 14 days. It’s not that my collection is lacking—I have more than enough vials, bottles and pots in my vanity luring me in—it’s just that I wanted to recalibrate my nose completely. Perhaps it’s because of my upcoming trip to the Perfume House (Portland, Oregon, USA) or perhaps because it’s fall, a time for me of fresh starts, but whatever the reason, I just wanted to be free of added fragrances. I wanted to eschew all scents, but that is harder than you think without going out and buying all new everything. Even the foundation I wear, which is supposed to be fragrance-free, has the slightest powdery scent to it, and raises the question whether we can ever live in a smell-free place. Yes, we can try as much as possible not to add smells to our surroundings, but I have come to the conclusion that the air around us always smells of something.

Week Without Perfume

So, during the week as I ran my usual route along the trails in and around my town, I tried to be conscious of the scents I encountered and what they evoked: bio-diesel—French fries; cedar wood smoke—a cabin in the snow and skis outside the door.

Week Without perfume Bacon eggs WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Eggs, bacon and coffee—I am a child again at my grandmother’s house in Cincinnati, Ohio; pine needles—a trail high in the mountains in the summer; the salty sweat of my partner—I am comforted and everything in the world is okay; dog poo—why don’t people clean up after their dogs; a wonderful perfume on a lovely coiffed woman—yes it was and yes she was; the faintest smell of patchouli—I am sitting in the meadow at our local counter culture fair; and stale cigarettes and dryer sheets—long-term residence.

Week Without perfume Laughing_couple WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

But the most lovely smell, and a welcome one after months of unusually dry weather, was the odor of cool rain on wet plants, of dirt still warm from summer as it was drenched with the first moisture of the fall. This is the smell of clean to me, of the earth being washed and renewed. And as I run, the fragrance washes over me, reminding me that everything natural has a beginning, middle and an end and that each of those phases of the cycle has a different aroma. The plant that smelled fresh and light as it began to grow, and took on a heady aroma as it matured, fades to a mellow earthiness as it dies. It’s no wonder that we have been trying to capture and bottle these fragrances since the beginning of time.

Week Without perfume pine Bergadder PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

And now my senses are refreshed, not just my nose, but the part of my brain that translates what I smell into something I can understand. I am ready for the pleasure of visiting the Perfume House, one of the best hand-selected collections of perfumes anywhere near where I live. I plan to make up for my weeks of asceticism by sniffing to my heart’s content.

I’ll have much to report on when I return.

What do you love to smell in your daily life?

4 comments on “Week Without Perfume

  1. greennote2 says:

    What do I like to smell? Aside from perfume (of course) – coffee, freshly baked bread, leather shops and those I’m close to. And unexpected wafts of flowers from gardens when I’m out. Bacon, onion and garlic cooking.

  2. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there ElizaD,
    What a great post. I hope your holiday is STUNNING fun.
    Portia xx

  3. Madeleine says:

    Hi Eliza,

    What a wonderfully evocative post! I’m not sure I’d even last a day without perfume. I admire you for taking this on and recalibrating. Can’t wait to find out what you sniffed on your trip.

    Everyday smells I love are: coffee, garlic, basil, freshly cut grass, new magazines, old books, gin and tonic….


  4. einsof says:


    gorgeous description of perfume outside a bottle.

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