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Child Perfume Roll On: This Is The Prettiest Perfume In The World And Part Of Me Doesn’t Want To Tell You What It Is

WHAT: Extrait De Parfum

WHY: It’s a sort of daunting task, trying to describe a scent. It’s like explaining the color pink to you if you’ve never seen the color pink. Can I do it? Let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

I lived in England for a while when I was young and stupid and followed some guy back to his home country, even though he didn’t officially invite me to go with him. And even though I couldn’t find a job, the relationship fizzled, and the ramshackle apartment we lived in had only a doll-sized washing machine under the KITCHEN counter such that I basically wore dirty clothes for an entire year, I will always remember my time there so fondly. Because it was the year I discovered the most beautiful perfume in the world.

I think I was at a pub eating some supremely overcooked burger when I caught a very light whiff of something outside—it kept wafting in each time the door was pushed open. It smelled so beautiful, so evocative, so different than anything I had ever smelled, I felt compelled to stand up, leaving my “mates” at the table, and investigate. Was it some flower that only blossoms in the UK? Was it a light lingering shampoo that you can only buy at Boots? How had I been on the earth for 24 years and never smelled such a thing?

And here is where I attempt to describe it to you. 

You know the impossibly joyful scent of a lilac bush? So floral, so clean, and almost juicy with the promise of Spring?

Well, it has that.

It also has that almost candy like scent of Violet. Sweet and young. And then, just below that candy, is the painfully beautiful note of night-blooming jasmine—musky and dreamy and gives you a longing for something, but for what you don’t entirely know. 

Next comes the Magnolia. Bright. Crisp. Shimmering. Almost like champagne.

And finally, you’re at the beach. And it’s sunscreen. And it’s the baking sun. And it’s the end of a long day of nestling your hot skin in the hotter sand, and you feel almost drunk from the heat.

But then, magically, it’s also something else entirely. Something almost mysterious and unknowable. And so when wearing it, you feel mysterious and unknowable. And that changes you. Just slightly. And you feel the way you felt when you were younger after watching a movie on the big screen where the characters were so big and so charming that briefly, maybe just for a night, you took on their mannerisms, their speech patterns, and you felt the world open itself up to you and only you.

So I followed the scent outside the pub that night, 21 years ago, and it lead me to a pretty, brown-haired woman with short bangs and big eyes, and I asked, my god, what perfume are you wearing?

And she answered: Child.

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