"Knowing" when a review turns into a blog post
It rained all day today in the Los Angeles area. Rain was long overdue but it didn't make the mood any less drab or quell my listlessness. As always I turned to perfume to change my headspace. After so many years of forgetting my decant of vintage Knowing I decided it was the salve needed for a gloomy day. I forgot how powerful she was. I also forgot how oakmoss and I used to be such good friends. Body chemistry is such a fickle thing, isn't it? Anywho, my day with Knowing inspired me to write a review that ended in excess of over 700 words. I meant every last one of them so instead of posting a review, I shall post it here:
"I've always loved perfume. Historically, perfume has employed oakmoss. Therefore, I have always loved oakmoss."
Oakmoss and I have a contentious relationship. More often than not oakmoss turns to mold and rot on my skin. It has been the underlying reason why I’ve had to rid myself of countless bottles over time: Youth Dew, Scherrer, Gucci 3, Wrappings and countless others. Our relationship did not start out that way. I was a girl coming up in the 1980s and a teen during the early 1990s. Oakmoss was still very much in vogue. Big, bombastic perfumes were still the norm and oakmoss was the guest of honor for most of these powerhouse scents. I have always loved perfume and, by means of deductive logic, it can be said that I have loved oakmoss-based perfumes. Somewhere along the way my hormones must have played a cruel trick because now I can hardly stand oakmoss. I find this most disheartening since oakmoss had been the headmaster at the school of my formative perfume education.
Suffice it to say that when an oakmoss comes along and is friendly towards me I am delighted. It is a rare occurrence but one which I welcome. I hold dear the scents that have survived my change in body chemistry and the new scents that fly in the face of my dislike. One of the few survivors is Knowing. Knowing was probably one of the last classical chypres created before giving way to ‘fruitchoulies’, otherwise known as modern chypres. She represents a bygone era but I do not doubt she will be the first to usher in a chypre renaissance, where oakmoss will be as revered as whisky during The Prohibition of the last century. As oakmoss faces mandates and enforcements that will lead to its olfactory extinction Knowing will be smuggled through backdoors and displayed covertly on vanity tables throughout the world.
I don’t know exactly what it is about Knowing that is so alluring, so sensual, so boldly feminine—though not to say this would not work splendidly on a man’s chemistry. I can only describe it as a fragrant equivalent to MAC’s iconic red lipstick, Ruby Woo. I don’t know a woman alive who hasn’t tried it on and not felt like the ultimate femme fatale. Maybe it is the intoxicating mixture of voluptuous roses, mysterious oakmoss, and carnal civet.
Yeah, I can see where a new generation of women might feel repulsed. As much as I love my gourmands, none can spell out S-E-X like Knowing (or, really, at all). Knowing is deeply romantic and erotically moving. It’s old fashioned and—not to be crude—it’s the reason a new generation came into existence. There are probably a few readers out there who were born in the 1990s who owe their existence to Knowing (sorry, kids, to go there). It was a perfume for seduction. It wasn’t meant to be pretty or fun. Knowing had a job to do and she did it so very well. I do not know how else to describe it so I’ll share a memory from my younger years.
I went to my first Stevie Nicks concert in August 1991. I wasn’t fifteen yet but I thought I was nearly a woman—I had newly sprouted boobs, a pair of black leather pumps, and a miniature bottle of Knowing. These were all the requisites of being a woman, or so I thought. The night of the concert I wore my pumps, a flirty peasant top, and a few dabs of Knowing behind my ears and along my neck. It was oppressively hot but I didn’t care; I needed to assert my womanhood with said tools.
Nothing that night made me feel more womanly than those dabs of Knowing. That night I danced as if I was the only person around. I swear I laughed and sang a little louder and clearer that night. I even had my first kiss with a man twenty years my senior as “Sara” played and it was all thanks to Knowing. He argued with me the entire night that there was no way I could have been only fifteen. He insisted I smelled and looked far more sophisticated than the women he was used to meeting. I felt more sophisticated than every women in the venue.
While women around me succumbed to liquid courage in the form of overpriced beers and sneaked-in Jack Daniels, I relied on the liquid courage provided by Knowing. Never have I enjoyed such magic in a chance encounter than I did that night. I don’t know if I could have pulled off such bravado with a different perfume.