The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

You don’t hate perfume, you just hate florals

Alex Porier

There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who wear the perfume, and the ones who smell it.

Everyone has experienced it: you walk past someone and are momentarily choked as a flowery, cloying scent invades your senses. Depending on your sensitivity, your reaction could range from a wrinkled nose to a full-on migraine.

When people who have fallen victim to the too-much-perfume flashbang go on to say they don’t like perfume, I feel for them. Not just because I know the feeling, but because I know that they’ve unjustly written off a whole world of something I consider beautiful.

Smell is extremely powerful. It can determine whether you can’t stand being around someone or want to be near them all the time. 

Odors can affect our moods and behaviors even when we are not consciously aware of them, according to a March 10, 2020 Frontiers article.

Considering its immense power, I think people give too little thought to exactly how they wish to be perceived based on their scent. 

When a person’s only goal in picking out a perfume is to smell “good,” they’re more than likely to turn to florals—and for good reason. Florals have been a popular choice for as long as people have been buying perfume, according to a Dec. 8th, 2023 Mair Fragrance article

They’re versatile, fresh and feminine. By all means, a good floral perfume is nothing to sneeze at.

Still, scent is capable of achieving so much more than just smelling “good.” Just because florals are a popular choice doesn’t mean they’re the only option. 

The right perfume can make you smell sexy, scary, cute, masculine, dreamy—you name it. 

Having lived my life finding every fragrance to be overpoweringly flowery and alcoholic, when I first smelled Fántome’s “Lorelei,” a basil and seaweed scent with mild notes of wild strawberry and narcissus flower, I was in love.

Although “Lorelei” wasn’t quite me, it was enough to embark upon my journey to find my signature scent. Every scent I’ve sampled has been vastly different and uniquely enticing, and the range doesn’t even begin to cover the full scope of perfume variety. 

One of my favorites from the brand Fántome is “Baba Yaga,” inspired by the Ukrainian folklore character I grew up hearing about at bedtime. It smells heavy and herbal, like a wooden hut filled with burning incense and drying animal skins. 

“Baba Yaga” is just the tip of the iceberg. Take “Eau De Space.” The scent was developed by chemist Steve Pearce on contract by NASA, according to a June 30, 2020 CNN article. It reportedly smells like “a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.”

Demeter Fragrance Company is known for their simple niche perfumes replicating everyday scents. Some standouts include kitten fur, Play-doh, crayon, mildew, and condensed milk. They might not be the most appealing scents, but nonetheless, they allow a person to customize their smell without limits.

Scent can have an extremely powerful impact on how the world interacts with the wearer. 

Famously delicious scents like Yves Saint Laurent’s “Black Opium” receive reviews on Fragrantica, a popular perfume review website, claiming that “coworker after coworker […] followed the scent from out in the hallway.” 

At the same time, scents like “Inexcusable Evil” can have such an impact that wearers report using it to “repel people away from the machines [at the gym]” on Fragrantica

I’m not trying to recommend these particular scents—please don’t go around campus smelling like mildew—but these examples illustrate the power of scent on our perception. 

The right scent can intensify any impression a person is trying to leave tenfold. 

I’ll leave off by touching on another Fántome scent, “Olwyn.” When I smell it on my skin, it transports me to my summers spent in Atlantic Canada and the scent of orange lilies growing by our back porch. Maybe that’s why it’s the first floral I’ve ever loved.

I implore everyone who’s written off perfume to give it another try. 

Getting to decide how I’ll be perceived every day gives me a sense of control and confidence I want everyone to experience. 

Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the world smelling just a little nicer.


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