Luca Turin is best known as that guy who posits that the way you smell is determined by the way molecules vibrate, not the way they're shaped [to grossly oversimplify a very complex theory]. He's recently moved to Virginia, and has recently started a blog, which is awesome.
Here's an extract from one of his entries:
Tiny shards of your past, long gone from view, are spread all over the world. Just like a hologram, each piece contains the whole picture, only grainier. In order to work, it has to be a piece of the real thing: a child's book distressed by other hands is merely dirty. An old record has the scratches at all the wrong places in the score. But a perfume's moving parts are shielded from harm inside crystal. Every bottle is the bottle. This cloud of silent music was once the answer a perfumer found to a long-forgotten question, but you took it to be an emanation of your mother's soul.Excellent, no?
Mine was Diorama, Dior's second fragrance. My mother wore the eau de toilette, because she thought perfume was a vulgar evening-in-furs thing. Diorama was a fruity version of Coty’s austere Chypre, and a solar counterpart to Guerlain’s saturnine Mitsouko. Dior still pretends to sell it at its boutique in Paris, but the fragrance bears no relation to Roudnitska’s masterpiece. I looked for it everywhere in the unimaginable years before the world developed a nervous system.
If what they say is true, and the Devil grants your wishes, then the Web is His finest work. A desire zips down your arm to your typing fingers. 260 milliseconds later, if the Thing exists at all, you're looking at it. Someone in Texas has just cleared his attic, Auntie Hattie wore Diorama. Bidding at auction takes a further few minutes. It’s as much fun as haggling, and a lot easier on the shy (machines do it for you at the last second). Some days later a small package turns up in the morning post., covered in nice joined-up American handwriting By then the price you paid has stopped hurting, and it feels like a present.
In other news, Comme des Garçons 2 MAN deodorant is truly awesome. As the day wears on, it's doing really fascinating things as it mixes with the smell my body produces on its own.
I wonder how many wine nerds also wind up getting interested in perfume? Vice versa? Hmmm...
Finally, a picture of the Comme des Garçons store in Aoyama: