a blind-buy success
Updated: Feb 27, 2018
Listen. I’ve been hunting for a new signature scent for a while now, and I have to tell you: I’m over it. I’m over trying endless samples and sticking my wrist in my husband’s face asking “what about this? Be honest.” and then being annoyed when he’s honest. I’m over reading online descriptions and getting excited then smelling it in person and thinking this smells nothing like a warm summer’s evening breeze, Janet. Liar! I don’t know why I decided that all fragrance descriptions are written by someone named Janet. Just go with it.
Cut to the first blind-buy I’ve ever done on perfume. While perusing ITG, I came across this article in which Tom Newton describes Goop’s fragrance #2, Shiso. He says, “I have been looking for something like this for so long—a fragrance that doesn't have that small tinge of 'walking through Macys' in it. This smells like a place and time, not at all like something that comes in a bottle.” I don’t know why, but I was struck. It sounded exactly like what I had been looking for myself, even though I had no idea what exactly it was I wanted to smell like. I opened Goop’s site, read the description of the notes and mentally admitted I have no idea what any of those things smell like. I don’t know if it was scent hunting burnout or what, but I clicked add-to-cart on the travel size version and shrugged, figuring the worst thing I’d have to do is return it. (Heads up: turns out you can only return for store credit to Goop on things like skincare and makeup, but I digress.)
Guys, Tom from ITG knows what’s up. I’m obsessed. Before I go into what this scent feels like to me, let me give you a run down from Goop. They describe the scent as “A perfume of cool air, pale sun, new life unfurling on the forest floor.”. (I see you, Janet.) The notes are Shiso leaf, oakmoss, and palo santo. Shiso leaf is not a common ingredient in fragrance, so if you're sitting there thinking wait, isn't shiso that green leaf they serve wasabi on? you're right. Shiso has a spicy, herby type of scent. Oakmoss is often described as smelling of "forrest floor". Being a city girl myself, I'm not really sure what that means but it sounds nice. Lastly, palo santo is woodsy. If you didn’t already know, Goop is really into, like, spiritual shit. So this perfume doesn't only smell nice it also apparently carries major good-juju-vibes. Each note carries a special emotional and mystical trait. Shiso leaf can “bring joy, regulate chi, remove stress and anxiety, and ameliorate negativity.” Oakmoss “helps release past wounds and trauma, while encouraging creative expression” and palo santo “clears negative energy, anger, fear, anxiety, and emotional pain while opening the third chakra and crown”. Damn. This perfume will make me smell nice and also cure my past emotional wounds. Sign me the fuck up.
All jest aside, I kind of adore the fact Goop is a spiritual brand. I enjoy the idea my perfume is more than an olfactory pleaser. I think I especially enjoy it because of what this perfume smells like to me personally. Tom nailed it when he said this perfume smells like a place and time. The place is Prem La, a Tibetan shop on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts and the time is the late 1990’s/ early 2000’s. Prem La was my favorite place in all of Boston. It’s one of those shops you think came straight out of a book. Once you’ve stumbled inside you’re oddly worried if you leave you’ll never find it again. It smelled old. Ancient, actually. It smelled like incense and wood and magic. The husband and wife team who ran the shop were basically Harry Potter characters whom I half expected to open a hidden door to Diagon Alley at any given moment. He was jolly and sweet and his wife constantly fell asleep at the back of the shop while folding pashminas, snoring lightly. This perfume smells like that shop and when I smell it I’m back there, which breaks my heart in the best way. Prem La closed some years ago; I had moved away when I found out. I regretted not having shopped there more, not having bought more pashminas and trinkets. I know the shop wasn’t doing well and I can only hope the couple were able to close and retire in happiness. Wherever they are, I hope they know how much they impacted their customers’ lives. I’ll never forget that shop. And thanks to Goop, I can revisit it every day with just a spritz.
Now I sound like Janet. Damnit. (lol unintentional Rocky Horror reference).