For years, I searched apothecaries, departments stores and Sephoras the world over in hopes of finding my signature scent. It started with CK One in middle school. (Which I've been secretly considering returning to, if only in jest.) High school belonged to Prescriptives Flirt, which--along with the entire Prescriptives brand--was eventually discontinued. My college and first few years of employment were dedicated to Marc Jacobs, a gardenia scent I still love. Unfortunately, so did a demanding boss, which means the fragrance also conjures feelings brought on by extreme micromanagement. Since then, I've kind of given up on the whole idea of a signature scent. I like Stella McCartney and Prada Infusion D' Iris, both of which I occasionally wear. I've also become a big fan of Jo Malone's stable of colognes, particularly orange blossom. Yet none have left me devoted. But I may be getting closer. And this time, with very little effort.
A few weekends ago, I popped into Burlap, a newish boutique near my apartment in Brooklyn. Burlap sells a lot of things--from Stella knickers to Daines and Hathaway wallets--but I was immediately drawn to its selection of Histoiries de Parfums. Each of the 120 ml fragrances are named after the year it's meant to evoke. For instance, 1826--with notes of amber, white flowers and patchouli--is inspired by the last French empress Eugénie de Montijo, who was born that same year. Each bottle is shaped like a book, and called a volume. The twelve volumes make up the Histoiries de Parfums library. After some sniffing, I fell in love with 1969. It falls into the "oriental gourmand" category of scent, which I've never worn before. It's still floral--with rose and white flowers--but also has notes of chocolate and coffee. And even though it's inspired by "the summer of love," it smells nothing like a hippie. Of course, such an extravagantly planned scent doesn't come cheap. If I plunk down the $185, I will, finally, be forced to make it my signature.