What Ruined That Perfume For You?


Post by Portia


Chatting to a buddy the other day and she said, “No, I can’t wear that. A hideous person at (a job they hated) wore it and I can only think of her when I smell it.” Then in a comment on the What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum? post a couple of weeks ago Nelle said she wouldn’t wear the exact fragrance her mum would wear so that cuts them out for her too. So because of these two unrelated events I started asking other people if they’d had a fragrance ruined or made unwearable. It’s surprising how many people do have a story along similar lines. So I’d like to know your story if you have one too.

What Ruined That Perfume For You?

My story? Well mine are not quite the same as most of the stories I’m hearing. Only in the last couple of years, about 2 decades since the event, am I able to smell A’Men without retching. here’s why…..


A*Men by Thierry Mugler

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Coriander, Lavender, Peppermint
Heart: Heart Notes Honey, Jasmine, Caramel, Lily-of-the-valley, Patchouli, Cedarwood
Base: Amber, Benzoin, Coffee, Musk, Sandalwood, Storax, Tonka bean, Vanilla

A*Men by Thierry Mugler was totally ruined for me one night while I was hosting a club. It was the launch of the fragrance in Australia and we had to give out samples and spritz people with A*Men. A gust of it got caught down the back of my throat and in my nostrils and stayed there for three days. It’s ALL I could smell for three days. It has taken me nearly two decades to be able to smell A*Men without dry retching.

The final fix was after I had a shower at Thailand airport in 2014 on our way to Europe and I forgot to take my glasses into the shower room where I clumsily dropped and smashed my 10ml Oriental Lounge by The Different Company. That got me really flustered so I just grabbed any old decant from my Wetpack and guess what it was? Yep, A*Men. I don’t even know how or why it was in there. I didn’t hate it. Anyway, thank goodness we were up the front so I wasn’t sitting next to some poor bugger in cattle, fumigating them. Even at the end of the flight into Vienna Michael could still smell me, softly but persistently.


LouLou by Cacharel

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aniseed, Iris, Jasmine, Cassia, Lily, Mimosa, Plum, Violet, Cinnamon
Heart: Heliotrope, Orris root, Orange blossom, Pot marigold, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Benzoin, Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Frankincense

LouLou by Cacharel was a HUGE hit amongst my age group as I became a young adult. Almost every girl in our circle was gifted it for birthdays & Christmas in the first three or four years it appeared. What started out a fabulously different divergence from everything else that was going on quickly became overwork and in doses that could dry clean your brain.

In another exciting turn around though nowadays LouLou brings back happy memories of fun and laughter in times where the most pressing obligations were getting Fashion School assignments done and most important decisions which club we were going to get plotless in that night. Heady, happy days. We knew we were blessed and made all efforts to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of our youths.

Now it’s over to you. What or who ruined which fragrances for you?
Portia xx


29 thoughts on “What Ruined That Perfume For You?

  1. wonderful article and great question! I still adore LouLou for similar reasons to the ones you mention. It represents a carefree time when most of my decisions were trivial. I can never wear Samsara because someone who had poor hygiene used it to cover up BO. It killed it for me!

    love from me in Wales xx


  2. I love the stories Portia..I wore loulou to death in the late 1980’s, just recently smelt it on a lady at work as well. I am not a fan of Red Door and Poison reminds me of my mother in law….oops


  3. I have been considering this question…usually I can’t identify the culprit. But like the perfume the woman next to me in yoga class was wearing. It ruined my ujjayi breath and I will never forget it.


  4. I will never forget the time I saved my babysitting money to go see a movie with friends, only to have the experience – and the fragrance – forever completely ruined by a huge stonking overdose of Opium. The theater was crowded, and when a woman dressed to the nines came in and sat right next to me, I just about died. She had apparently bathed in Opium, probably for this evening out. (Now I look back and say, Good for her. She was in her 40s or 50s, maybe, and she was clearly with her husband, and now from experience I know how the opportunities for romance get limited at that time of life, so she was making the best of it.) But seriously, who gets dressed up and wafts Opium for 15 feet to go see The Empire Strikes Back???

    I hadn’t liked Opium already; I’ve just never liked oriental notes. Ladies at church wore tons of Youth Dew and my very own grandmother wore Avon Cotillion, and although I loved those ladies, I didn’t enjoy their smell. Which made *that much* Opium, *that* close, something pretty much like my personal image of hell.

    I tried switching seats with a friend, but the mushroom cloud was too big. I wound up sitting in the lobby trying not to cry because I had wasted my spare cash and wouldn’t be able to see the movie.

    That was 35 years ago, and I still hate Opium, and I’m STILL PISSED OFF. (You’d think I’d have grown up a little since then, right? I should. 🙂 ) But I really have very little sympathy for people who wear a lot of fragrance to an event where attendees will be packed into a small space, and this incident is probably why I don’t wear a lot of big-sillage frags even now, or if I do wear something big, I only wear a little bit of it.


    • Mals86,
      Opium can be a big fat mess if worn too hard. I bet your sinuses closed up too.
      Personally I would have been in the lobby crying because they had made me watch Star Wars (Back then, now things are different).
      Portia xx


  5. Hi Portia!
    I have experienced Perfumer`s Workshop TEA ROSE perfume that ruined for me if & only if when I was wearing. It really really choked me & couldn’t breath, beside the fact the rose is my favorite floral note in perfumes. But surprisingly I am pleased if I smell on others.


    • Hey Hikmat Sher Afridi,
      WOW! That is a big reaction. I wonder which molecule got you? How terrible but phew that others can wear it.
      Portia xx


  6. Gucci envy me just makes me think of poor life desicions, pain and anguish. All thanks to a lying cheating wench I called my ‘girlfriend’. Lol. thank god she’s out of my life and I have a beautiful fiance now who reminds me of love, support and happiness- she wears YSL Cinema and I LOVE IT!!


    • Oh No, what a beautiful fun fragrance to have ruined by a bad relationship. I have a couple of those in my past too.
      Portia xx


  7. I can think of a very recent event. My roommate got White Shoulders for his wife and I didn’t know White Shoulders still comes in splash version as well. He didn’t tightly close the cap and threw the bottle at me because everyone knows I am the perfumista. Due to the loosened cap, some spilled over my shirt and I think this maybe why I am down with flu. The smell was so overbearing I had to change my t-shirt and even after I changed the t-shirt, the smell persisted in the house for 1-2 days. i cannot figure out where else it spilled because the spillage was not anything major besides my t-shirt.


  8. Modern Muse: never liked it but now makes me nauseous because my psychopathic ex boss soaked in a vat of it every morning.

    Chanel Allure Sensuelle. Loved it but I’ll always associate it with my hideous ex who bought me a whole set to stop me leaving him. It now reminds me of divorce lawyers. I gave it away to a woman at work on the condition she never wore it in the office.

    Happy by Clinique. Worn by the least happy news editor/dragon imaginable.


  9. (Disclaimer!: If you love l’eu d’hiver… don’t keep reading!!!) I adored the smell of Frederic Malle L’eau d’hiver! Sadly I mentioned this on a perfume board and someone posted that they used to love it until someone pointed out the seafood crab note that it has. After that … that was all I could smell 😦 Totally ruined for me.


  10. Not sure whether frags that elicit instant nausea or sinus headaches count for this post. I once got off a tram about a kilometre early or I would have thrown up from the oppressive cloud of Revlon’s Chiara that swamped me. Dior Dior , Paco Rabanne and Ralph Lauren Polo react In a similar way. Even Guerlain’s Champs Elysee has me heaving. Husband now has all his scents vetted by me and knows that morning kisses or hugs are Before scent application. Otherwise I cough and splutter and sneeze 😦


    • Oh noo Bernadette Winfield-Gray, Allergic reactions to fragrance must be diabolical if they hit you in the head. What a bummer.
      Portia xx


  11. Great topic! I can spontaneously think of 2 fragrances I can’t stand anymore. One is Ysatis by Givenchy which I wore when I was pregnant. In the fist few months many smells make you fell like throwing up and I was stupid enough to wear a fragrance at that time. After the Ysatis experience I went on perfume free, of course but later I had the same reflex when I felt Ysatis somewhere around.
    The other one is the lovely Hinoki by Comme des Garcons. My fiance was very picky and he fell in love with this perfume so I gave it to him as a birthday present. The guy left me maybe a month after that. I don’t think I would survive smelling Hinoki again.


  12. Love this topic!!! Good stufff
    My only hated fragrance I can partially blame on someone is Fahrenheit by Dior. It was already popular amongst my friends when we started clubbing in the late 80’s. I was still enraptured with Aramis and Kouros, but my Uncle started marinating in it and that was that. Instant nausea for me now. Gack face.


  13. Tressor by Lancome.I cannot smell this without thinking about a time in my life when I used it and a co worker made a lot of problems for me at work.To this day I can’t wear it again which is such a pity as its a stunning fragrance.I find perfume memories very intense and even the smell of certain buildings can make me heave if the memories are bad.For me,smells can transport me to a different time and place.Its very powerful and almost like travelling in time.


    • What a shame Rene,
      Next time you have work troubles start wearing Paris Hilton fragrances, except Fairy Dust and Siren which are pretty good. You won’t miss them.
      Portia xx


  14. Loved your stories, Portia 🙂

    I told this story before on my blog, but I’ll repeat it. After I almost finished the second bottle of Champse Elysees, my co-worker called it “a bug spray” (it wasn’t a criticism of what I’ve been wearing – we were just testing random perfumes). After that moment for years I couldn’t bring myself to wearing this perfume. But I got over it eventually, and wear it sometimes now. Though I don’t think I’ll ever love it again (not sure, though, it’s anybody’s fault – I just have outgrown it).


    • Thanks Undina,
      BUMMER about Champs Elysees. I love it in the warmer months and even reach for it sometimes in the dead of winter, mainly warm though.
      Portia xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s