The Fragrant Ape wears Scent: How the Ape wears it


Every way and no way. You must be the master of your own fragrance and wear it exactly as you wish. Much nonsense is talked about this: all I can do is give you a few tips.

Most modern fragrances are now sold with a fixed spray atomiser. This is an advantage: the cologne will smell much better, quicker as it is diffused over a much greater area in smaller quantities. The molecules are broken up by the spray and the volatile oils start to evaporate so that you can actually smell them at once. Contrary to popular belief, this is also a much more economic method: you use far less fragrance than by sloshing it on in the old style. Nothing is wasted.

Apply fragrance where you will: clean hair is an excellent medium, as the porous shafts hold the molecules remarkably well. Otherwise spray on the usual pulse points – around the throat, neck, ears and wrists. Some men, I know, find this somehow effeminate: it is not, just practical and effective. You don’t think eating effeminate do you, just because you see women with knives and forks?

It is an excellent idea when you’re fresh from the shower to spray liberally over chest, back and shoulders before dressing. Your clean shirt will then hold the scent close to the body and retard evaporation for a slow-burn throughout the day. Never use perfume as a substitute for washing or as a camouflage; use a non-scented or neutral deodorant if you cannot get one to match your scent exactly (Creed is one of many Houses who provide a complete bath line.)


Everyone today complains about the limited staying power of nearly all perfumes – “it only lasted about 6 hours!” This is often because the above recommendations have been ignored, or because the wearer has simply not put enough on. You really do need more than a couple of timid dabs over your shoulder. Remember, you expended a lot of time and effort on choosing a scent that you love – now get on with it and indulge yourself. Spray liberally at intervals.

It is a complete misapprehension that a perfume should last indefinitely on the skin.

Fragrances are not intended to do this: an application of fragrance has a natural time limit and there would be something rather grotesque about a scent that was, as it were, tattooed permanently to the skin. To use a food metaphor again: you eat a delicious meal, it tastes wonderful, you feel great – but presently you repeat the whole process.

Or you listen to a favourite piece of music – but it comes to an end, and you need to replay. Think of the application of fragrance as the elegant ritual it was in a more leisured age: every time you apply it, it will be to an extent like trying it for the very first time; you come to know every detail of it more and more intimately.

However, as you become used to the scent you will be able to smell it less and less. The brain has been reassured that your favourite cologne presents no threat so the nose ceases to bother with it. You will smell the first spray and catch a waft maybe during the day, but faintly. Other people will smell you, nonetheless: so be careful not to overdose.

One way to beat this irritating anosmic problem is to build up a selection of 2 or 3 scents and rotate their use so that the brain and nose are kept perpetually on the alert.

Alternatively, wear a scent that has some tiny glitch or catch to it, some little trick that just faintly troubles you, some element you can’t quite place: this will keep the brain on the qui vive, allowing perfect and prolonged perception…BUT the price you may is a feeling of slight irritation. It is this phenomenon that has given rise to the belief that the fragrance that is a perfect fit cannot be smelled by the wearer.

As we age our skin becomes less receptive to perfume: it becomes drier, the hormonal balance alters, we are more likely to feel the effects of sickness and medication, our dietary habits may change. Our memory may play us false in recalling the structure of a scent, tastes can change radically and the sense of smell may diminish. However, while Youth is able to carry off excess or flamboyance in fragrance with more ease, age and experience can enjoy and develop the lasting pleasures of scent into advanced maturity: emotion recollected in tranquillity.

Written by James Craven, LES SENTEURS’s nationally quoted fragrance archivist and expert chronicler of all things culturally fragrant, lends his invaluable service to the business as it continues to guide customers through its unparalleled collection of fine fragrance and scented accessories. Please visit Les Senteurs here:

James Craven

James Craven is the perfume archivist at the independent perfume boutique Les Senteurs.