Scent of a Man, Part 2

Last week we emailed writer Chandler Burr‘s publicist BEFORE we wrote the post titled “Scent of a Man.” (Burr has a new column on fragrances “Scent Strip” in The New York Times) Imagine our surprise when we heard from Burr himself a day later via email. So we decided this was a good opportunity to ask Mr. Burr some questions about posh perfumes.

UnBeige (U): What’s your first memory of perfume? How did it influence your future experiences with fragrances?

Chandler Burr (CB): It’s the classic memory: My mother in her softly rustling party clothes coming in to kiss me goodnight before she and my father went out. I remember Chanel 5.

U: How would you shop for a fragrance?
CB: It’s more difficult than buying a car in that you have to test drive them longer, and you can only do 2 at a time, one on the right arm, one on the left. Wear them at least 24 hours. Reapply and see how they do. They’ve got to last on skin or they’re not worth the admission price. And you’ve got to see how they evolve: the cheap ones start in fields of jasmine and wind up in petrochemical refineries within 30 minutes. Last, completely ignore “masculine” and “feminine.” Try everything. Guys should wear Chanel 19 if they like it.

U: Do you have a favorite perfume bottle?
CB: Right now, Dior Homme.

U: Do you collect vintage perfume bottles? If so, where do you find them?
CB: No, I’m not that interested in bottles, I must admit. I take them into account for my 4-star rating system in the Times, but only give them a tiny weight.

U:Here’s a final question, which might sound a little strange but it’s been haunting us for a while. Can a fragrance influence your dreams at night? If so, what kind of perfume would you suggest if you want to have a happy dream? If this ever becomes fodder for a story idea, you can credit us. (LOL).
CB: Yes, I’ll credit you, and yes, they absolutely can influence your dreams because your sense of smell is completely active while you sleep. I was once sleeping with a guy who rolled over at about 3 a.m. and breathed right in my face; I was sound asleep, and I thought the world had ended. I woke up. There’s a reason smell continues during sleep; evolution have programmed it and hearing as defenses, sentinals. While to do this scientifically you’d have to do a hell of a big study, I imagine that for nice dreams you’d simply wear a scent you love. Maybe Citron by Harry Slatkin, or Piment Brulant by l’Artisan Parfumeur or Happy For Men (it’s better than the feminines) by Clinique.

End of interview. This writer think she will spritz on her Angel perfume by Thierry Mugler before she nods off tonight to see exactly what kind of dreams she has. Anything with Ashton Kutcher would be nice.