My perfume collection is beyond excessive. Every time I come across a new fragrance that I like, I add it to my perfume shelf. I use the term “shelf” loosely as approximately six months ago my collection outgrew its shelf and I am now apparently the kind of person that has a perfume “cupboard.” I expect that if I were to actually count the number of bottles in the said cupboard, the final figure would be somewhere between 50 and 60. And I am not proud of that.
And despite the fact my excessive collection is nothing to brag about, it is worth noting that my life-long obsession with scents has fine-tuned my nose. Because, while I possess many, I am still incredibly fussy. I like everything from florals and musks to ouds and spices (the only notes I truly detest are those that remind me of sweet foods), but within those categories? I am seriously fussy. My perfumes need to smell expensive without being overpowering, be strong enough that I can smell them on my sheets the next day but not so strong that they might offend someone in an elevator and, most importantly, they need to smell fresh.
Anyone that knows me knows that I would never leave the house without a spritz of perfume. In fact, I wear perfume on days when I don’t leave the house, too. Because of this, I have understandably received many a compliment on my perfume of choice on any given day over the years. And, up until last year, I would say that my biggest crowd-pleasers are my go-to stronger, more attention-grabbing (and expensive) scents like Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza and Maison Francis Kurkidjian Baccarat Rouge 540. However, since discovering it last summer, there is one perfume in my collection that has definitely been the most-discussed, most asked-about and most complimented perfume I have ever owned.
Clean Reserve Skin [Reserve Blend] Eau de Parfum ($98) was first introduced to me on a hot summer’s day in London. It was the sort of day that was so stiflingly hot, heady and uncomfortable that the last thing I wanted to do was smell perfume after perfume over a work meeting. A bottle from an eco-conscious and sustainable perfume brand was passed over to me. I reluctantly took off the lid and gave it a spritz, bracing myself for the headache I was about to endure.
However, it didn’t arrive. After just one spritz and one sniff, I was basically drowning myself in the stuff. Salty but sweet, light, and fresh but musky and comforting all at the same time. Skin smells just as you’d expect a perfume named “Skin” to smell. Like just-bathed skin, spraying it is like enveloping yourself in freshly washed, crisp linen, without those all-too-common artificial notes reminiscent of laundry detergent and talc.
And although it was love at first sniff, as I sprayed myself with it every morning, a few weeks into wearing it daily, I began to get used to how beautifully subtle it is. It wasn’t until the third person stopped me in the office to compliment my scent that I was reminded of its wonderfulness. “Why do you always so smell so fresh and clean?” a colleague asked. Stumped, I said it must have been my shampoo or body cream. But then, a few days later, when I sprayed Skin at my desk, the penny dropped, and suddenly, everyone wanted to know the name of my secret perfume. And I think that’s the most wonderful thing about this scent—it’s just so convincing in its beauty and freshness. It’s like skin, sure, but it’s really, really great skin.