GothicHeart's Perfume Blog


Just a "g" or "b" away...

The reason was there for quite a long time now, but the cause was inadvertently given to me by a kind lady who sent me a 10ml bottle of Tosca perfume. I've read a number of reviews just out of curiosity, and I was fed up by the "old lady stinker" kind of comments, apparently written by people who think that the nth flanker of "Eau de Hush and Give Us Your Money" is the ultimate achievement in perfume history. But this time it was different. This time it got personal. Tosca was the signature fragrance of my beloved maternal grandmother.

Old lady perfumes. Right...I guess that when Tosca was launched in 1921 there was no such term as "old lady smell". I will be more than happy if anyone proves me wrong by providing evidence that such a term was used anytime before our fast moving times. Old ladies of today were once beautiful women, many of them even ravishing. They were dancing twist and rock'n'roll, and as David Bowie has sung it, a lot of them were considered "juvenile delinquent wrecks" by the defenders of then morality. Oh, and they wore the same perfumes that today's trend followers want to be banned from the face of Earth, because according to them they mar their hard earned "aesthetics".

However, I can't help but wonder how many of these haters, who want perfumes like Tosca exiled in the purgatorial fires, would dare to say that this lady smells dated and stale if they had to say it while standing face to face with her?

I guess that this "Oh my God! I'm SO sexy!" one, probably wearing some of Britney Spears' moneymakers (besides looking like a replica of her), wouldn't have the guts to do it, just as she doesn't look like having the guts to drive the beast instead of posing silly on it.

Yes, I know that it's Marisa Miller and that she claims she actually rides a motorcycle, but I'm sure you get the point of the comparison.

I wonder if the ones who wore Opium during the '80s were thinking of L'Air du Temps as "old lady smell" and if those who wore L'Air du Temps during the '50s were thinking the same about Shalimar. My maternal grandmother was a beautiful and elegant woman and she used Tosca from her twenties until she died in the age of 85. So I'm sick and tired of people questioning her good taste. And what's more, having lived during the straits of two wars, she was an incredibly strong woman, who could have all these know-it-alls for breakfast. But maybe just because of the quagmires she had got into during her life she'd never do it, for she was a very kind and loving person too.

Why do we feel the need to attach labels to almost everything and doing it with way greater joy when these labels have a derogatory value? Do we need to add new perfume classifications like "Old Lady", "Dated" and "Granny Juice" next to chyphre, floral and oriental? If the answer is yes, how would the people who use immensely succesful fragrances of today feel if I suggest "Brainless Marketing Victims Fumes" to be included in the new categories as well?

A good fragrance is a good fragrance, no matter the date it was launched and the kind of people wearing it. I understand that body chemistry is playing an important part in the way a fragrance smells on different people, but I never saw a review claiming that Tosca smells awful on one old lady and divine on another one. I also understand that due to the fact that the vast majority of old fragrances have gone under numerous reformulations, the way that Tosca smells might have changed over the years, but in any case, do these look like foul smelling ladies to you?

However, since every coin has two sides, this special kind of racism(?) is also established between perfumes of the same era. I can't understand why Mitsouko is a "timeless masterpiece" (it is) an Tosca is an "old lady nightmare" (it isn't). I can't understand why First is "classy" and Babe is "vulgar". To paraphrase a Greek poet of the late 19th century, "There are no vulgar fragrances, there are only vulgar people." For example, Brut, launched in 1964, combines two unforgivable "traits" by being old and dirt cheap. So it has to be something neighbouring monstrosity, suited only for poor old men, right? I beg to differ. Brut puts many preposterously priced niche fragrances to shame, even in its way less potent current formulation. Isn't Old Spice one of the best masculine fragrances of all time? It is to me. All of these fragrances, whether expensive or cheap, stood the test of time, some of them for near a century. So what's with all these discriminations? Would it still be the same if the price tags were reversed? If Tosca had the price of Mitsouko, could it be that Tosca would be the one considered a "timeless masterpiece"?

And this is maybe the reason why less known perfumes like Tosca are the ones which are usually attacked by perfume bullies. I find it to be craven and unfair. Craven because attacking, let's say Habanita, would probably trigger a huge reaction against them, which would obviously be too much to handle, thus they usually pick an easy target which won't have many defenders to stand by its side. And unfair because Habanita fans won't raise an eyebrow about another piece of perfume history being thrashed and humiliated.

But why do young people have to bash many old things and reject them without bothering to evaluate the true stature they once held?

I listen to Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. "Bah, old man's stuff!"

I wear Azzaro pour Homme and Eucris. "Nah, fumes for relics!"

The fact that I also listen to Lady Gaga and wear Dirty English (whose "dirtiness" is widely accepted as a fresh take on "dirty", coming from 2008) as well, doesn't seem to bother these haters about something called diversity and open mind...

Is it some sort of (r)evolutionary stuff that renders anything old as passé or tasteless in their minds? If that's the case, can someone please explain to me why driving this

is considered a statement of class and exceptional taste, but wearing Tosca deserves stoning?

Even if I hate a perfume more than words can say, as it's often the case with hastily made modern "forgotten overnight" fragrances, does this fact give me the right to insult the ones who love it and consider them b-class tasteless dregs? Since music references seem to be somehow fitting with the subject, I'll quote Motörhead's (another despicable old man's thing) song, saying "Just 'cos you got the power, that don't mean you got the right". Mind you, castigating a bad fragrance is one thing, and insulting the ones who like it is another. There are many ways to show your dislike towards a fragrance. Humour is one of them. A lighthearted yet serious approach, will even have the ones wearing it amused. But I can't understand the reasoning behind offending people, unless it's pure malice, hidden behind the veil of anonymity that internet has weaved nowadays.

I assume that most of these insulting remarks come from young people. When I was their age, I was turning cartwheels for testing older fragrances instead of frowing upon them. And I'm still trying fervently to test any fragrance that I didn't have the chance to test back then, without caring if, according to the late sages of the perfume "lovers" community, it's suitable only for octogenarians.

We have reached the point of considering old ladies wearing perfumes as something gross, simply because we don't like the perfumes they're wearing, instead of applauding them for not giving up on life. Or instead of acknowledging them the wit for not falling for marketing gimmicks and changing their perfume every six months, like many of the ones who so easily accuse them of stinking do.

I don't know if that's a Greek thing only (most probably it's not), but unless an old lady is immobilised in her bed for some reason, her house is sparkling clean. Something that is not usually the case with mine. And as for the alleged old lady body odour, the worst smelling persons that I've encountered thus far were young ones, who didn't even have the alibi of hard physical labour outdoors. I guess some of them are writing reviews about horrible "old lady stinkers" as we speak...

P.S.: The "g" and "b" on this article's title is my interpretation of the initial letter addition that would give "old" its true meaning, when talking about perfumes like Tosca...

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