Like wine, fragrances have acquired a fashionably intimidating lexicon that stumps me every time I try to deconstruct one. Is it citrusy? Floral? Woody? Why is that top note so weird? What is a top note anyway? I’ve given up, and now sniff at the pretty bottles in the store in wilful ignorance, trusting my nose with as much responsibility as I do my gut.

And that’s what led me to Clarins’ Eau Tranquility after years of feeling meh about my various store-bought and gifted smells. I’ll admit I did a background check with Garance Dore at her blog. She’s French and smart and chic and like most enigmatic French women, a skilled balancer of effortlessness and ritual. She recommends another Clarins fragrance, a drugstore staple in France, but I fell hard for this one.

Eu Tranquility is brave, direct and doesn’t pussyfoot about its premise. You will turn heads in an elevator. A relative will sniff loudly at your sleeve, interrupting introductions. You will catch yourself sniffing your wrist in a moment of embarrassing self-love. It’s brilliant, and I’m in a monogamous relationship with it. Highly recommended.

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