Who knew I had such good sense?

Actually...such a good sense of smell, which I don't. Nakeid IT, on the other hand, has the olfactory system of a hound dog. All I can say, it's a good thing hand-dyed yarn and new shoes don't come scented.

Back to the stink-ems. Sampling perfume is an affordable indulgence, but it is indulgent. For $15 you can get seven samples from this New York shop, which, if you could beg from Nordstrom's would be free. (But that would mean breaching the phalanx of bored, perfectly coiffed sales girls, who scared the tar out of me when I worked retail. And they wouldn't carry these nichy scents, besides. Fifteen dollars starts to look pretty cheap.)

The above source won't get you the classics. For those, go here. You'll pay more for seven samples, but this retailer will introduce you to the Big Whoops of the industry as well as the smaller players.

I started with a sampling from Guerlain and was underwhelmed. Remember I have the nose of an apneic truck driver, so consider that when you read the following:

Shalimar smells, well, old. Like a box of old talcum, hidden in a closet with the fox-collared coat Dad gave Mom the Christmas of '66 and your second knitting project--that hideous four-foot long stocking camp, riddled with holes before the moths got it. But you can see why people love it; it's not a simpering 18-year-old celebrity in a skirt short-enough to make her stage mum writhe. No, it's definitely lady-like, but crepey, a Revlon-lipstick of a scent that's had a life and traded her heels for Danskos.

Jicky was just icky. Originally created in 1889, Jicky was a ground-breaker, one of the first perfumes made with synthetic components. It comes out of the vial, honking herbs and citrus and Port-o-John like a guy proud of his giant, swaying belly. Jicky raised my bile, and I spent an uncomfortable evening, hoping he'd take this sweaty hands off me. We had a very bad date, Jicky and I. There won't be a second.

But then I met Sous le Vent, which had me at "allo!"

Sous le Vent rustles in as fresh as a new silk blouse and wears just as well. This lovely is all "ooh-la-la, let's have a nice dejeuner of salad and sweets and wouldn't it be divine to have a new scarf, too, regardless of le Euro?" Designed in 1933, Sous le Vent whistles in the face of the Depression, a flirty, fun escape until you view it's not-so-breezy price.

Maybe my nose isn't so bad after all?

The scent of a knitter

I'm sitting here on an olfactory high.

If you love scent, and I'm sure you do, you must visit Dawn Spencer Hurwitz in Boulder. (But do it soon, she's great with child.)

Since viewing the YSL exhibit at the Denver Art Museum under the influence of parfum, I decided to seek out Ms. Hurwitz for advice.

Lacking the leisure and will these days to face the phalanx of spray-happy beauties in the cosmetics department, I've made do with an ancient bottle of Coco--long turned--a pretty cast-off from a friend (Gump's Baroque Pearl, lovely but not a love match) and a new sprayer of Chanel No. 5, which though still divine, smells tinny these days. (I thought it was "that special time of life";turns out they've reformulated to comply with allergen restrictions in the EU, for pity's sake!)

Then Aveda up and discontinued my other staple, Hana, a sweet woodsy scent I adored.

Enter Ms. Hurwitz.

That the universe conspired to send me to Boulder on business was synchronicity at its most compelling. How could I not?

Dawn has a small, charming studio in North Boulder called Essence and keeps regular hours, which you can find on her website. Her knowledge of perfume and perfume history is encyclopedic; when I mentioned three fragrances I loved, she said, "Oh you're an an aldehydic-spicy-oriental girl." Uh huh.

She proceeded to collect flask after pretty flask lining them up on her counter like a fight of wine. To test, she sprays her fragrances on cards, so as not to overwhelm your person. Then through process of elimination, you cull choices down to scents which she carefully dabs along the inside of your arm, testing how they meld with your body chemistry.

I bought the fragrance above, described on Dawn's website as:

"a fiery mélange of captivating spices, resins, and a hint of sultry rose. Not for the faint of heart and, oh, does it sizzle"

Yup, that's me alright. Still, these are the scents that make my eyes roll back into my head and wish for a fainting couch. This perfume is dark and full of romance, midnight rather than 6 p.m. I loved it.

She also sent me packing with samples of three other faves: Cimabue, which I'm wearing as I type (and already dropped into a digital shopping basket, imagine that); Cafe Noir and her riff on Opium, the ylang-ylang forward Euphorisme D'Opium.

Dear readers, how am I ever going to work if I can't stop smelling myself?