Our earliest days are spent in the arms of our guardians, and we learn very early on the scents of those who love us. For some, it’s a mother’s perfume or a father’s aftershave, while for others, it might be cigarette smoke caught in a leather jacket or kitchen spices lingering around a sweater.
At the heart of all these personal smells is the smell of skin itself. It’s something rare and intimate, captured most often in the hug of someone who’s recently gotten out of the water. It usually takes a special kind of relationship with someone to learn their skin scent. As Folie a Plusiers explores through several of their perfumes – including Seek – the smell of skin is often revealed during sexual contact. But for me, their perfumes often reach past this categorization towards unexpected instances of intimacy. The wonder of Seek is its ability to act as a sort of investigation into how a universal skin scent can exist.
Everyone’s skin smells different. There’s so much that goes into how we all smell – what we eat, where we spend our time, and what we put into contact with our skin when we’re cleaning or taking care of it. The idea of a universal skin scent seems impossible in this context. Surely, it isn’t possibly to minimize that range of smells into one generic representative.
However, when I smelled Seek for the first time, my brain not only made an immediate connection to skin. Not only that, but it called to mind a specific memory of skin that I had already smelled. After stewing in my own confusion for a half an hour, it finally came to me – pool towels.
In my childhood, there were few places as joyous as my grandmother’s pool. My cousins and I would run out to her backyard, dragging our designated guardian by the wrist, and hurl ourselves off a low diving board into the depths. Hours would disappear as we transferred from the pool to the hot tub with reckless abandon, soaking in sun and rolling the days into a montage of squeals and splashes. At the end of every day, we’d toddle up onto the deck and be greeted with clean pool towels. Not until I smelled Seek did I ever think about why those towels smelled as comforting as they did.
Lily of the Valley, White Wine, Coffee, Pink Pepper, Ginger, Bergamot, Tobacco, Warm Skin Notes, Dusty Bed-Sheet Notes, Musk
Sure, the towels carried hints of laundry detergent and dryer sheets. They also absorbed the comforting musty smell of the old cabinet they were stored in. But most of all, they had the teddy-bear effect of picking up on their user’s smell over a long period of time. Every time we used and washed and used those towels, we became part of them, little by little. Eventually, their main smell was that of my clean, happy family members, and those towels closed around us like the hugs of loved ones.
This is the communal skin scent at the heart of Seek, and hints of summer swirl around its edges through the bergamont. There’s the light fabric smell of musk notes and soft florals too, and perhaps even hints of my grandfather’s old smoking habit in the wafts of tobacco. Somehow Seek pulls this memory straight from the depths of my mind, and for that, I’m grateful for the existence of a house like Folie.
My advice? Take a look around Folie’s catalog. This is an artistic body that strikes far closer to the concept of olfactive memories than most who purport to do so (another exception being Blackbird from last week.) Find an area where your path and Folie’s seem to meet, and prepare to find joy at the crossroads.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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