Rich and Richer

Somebody on Basenotes asked a very interesting question – what fragrance makes one smell wealthy?

I decided not to pollute Basenotes with the answer to that question.  Instead, it is here:


This answer has 3 parts:

Not serious:  My teenage son smelled Polo (old green) for the first time in Sephora.  He laughed, pointed at the bottle, and said “Wow.  That smells like people with too much money.”  So, if you want to take the word of a 16-year old kid, it’s Polo.

More serious:  My wife took your question to my scent tray.  As she was trying the scents, she also offered her thoughts, influenced by her perceptions as a recent immigrant from Asia.  She feels that strong scents, when connected to a nicely dressed and potentially wealthy person, indicate vulgarity, sudden fame, lack of sophistication, etc., etc., unless there is a cultural reason (not all cultures and subcultures suffering from the fear of robust scents).  Lighter scents indicate sophistication in her mind.  I have found that the scents she likes most reliably (even not knowing what they are) are not from niche houses, but from the big-name luxury houses (Bulgari, Gucci, Hermès, Cartier).  I take this to mean that they have her number.

Most serious (well, maybe):  As an ex-dishonest person, I can advise you on this.  Do you want to smell rich to people who may not know the difference, or do you want to fake rich, and smell like people who really are?  Creeds are a safe bet either way.  Otherwise, the scents that are recommended by people on Basenotes as “rich” scents are likely to be excellent bets on giving people that image.

However, to truly fake rich, you need to mimic the telltale signs of money becoming a non-issue.  Doing this in a fancy hotel room works even for frat boys.  It’s harder in a trailer court – you need more story for that one.  Ways to back up your story include: (1) Purchase “in-store-only” scents from the flagship stores of the major luxury houses, or knock-offs. If somebody spots the knock-off, blame it on B.O. (2) Leave unopened and just-opened packages of high-end fragrances laying around.  (3) Buy 3 of a kind and just leave them there, unopened.  You can say you never tried it, but you heard a rumor it was going to be discontinued.  But it’s critical that you not come off as a perfumista at this point – you must feign disinterest in fragrances as a hobby.  (4) No puny 50 mL, unless that’s the biggest they sell.  Biggest size only.  (5)  Dump all your minis and samples into one Tiffany bag next to the vanity.  You never use them, but they’re there for “back-up”, should society fall apart due to peak oil and Hugo Chavez.  (6)  Do NOT remember where you bought stuff.  Maybe Aspen, maybe Rome.  How the heck are you supposed to remember stupid stuff like that?  (7) Take a cell-phone picture of the Creed cheat-sheet in Saks, that says who wears which one.  Whichever Creed you pick, memorize the celebs.  The story is, when the person passed your table in <google star’s fancy restaurant>, they looked at you because you were wearing the same scent, and smiled.  The mark will know it’s a lie, but we’re doing Victor, Victoria here.  You’re rich, but you’re not really famous (liar!).  (8) You need an excuse for why you give a damn about fragrance.  You were in love with a hot latino/latina, unless you are one, in which case it was some Scandinavian who drove you wild.  They made you wear cologne/perfume.  You can’t get them out of your mind.  You’re sorry.  You’re about to cry.  Ka-ching.

Like I’ve said before, perfume is a story.  And all stories are lies – even the true ones.

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