Apothecary Mary / by laurel

Story time.

I've always been quite obsessed with smelling good. That's not to say that I'm always successful in this endeavor, as I'm sure more than a few of you could point out times when I've missed the mark. It's a nasty side effect of being human, lovies, so cast the first stone. However in general I try to keep the spritzes, perfumes, sprays, and splashes on hand any time I need a scent pick-me-up. 

My roommates from college absolutely delight in recalling this one instance of my scent obsession gone wild: In the middle of the night during my sophomore year, our dorm fire alarm went off. Groggy and still dreaming, we poured ourselves out of our loft beds and shuffled down to the lobby with the rest of the sleepy-eyed coeds - oh, but not before I had spritzed myself from head to toe in my scent-of-the-moment. 

Why I felt compelled to look like hell but smell like roses is beyond me, but trust me, folks. If I have to evacuate my home in the middle of the night for unknown reasons, you can bet that I'm going to smell like heaven. 

Having said that, what I imagine Heaven to smell like is similar to the way Los Angeles smells in the springtime when all the orange trees are blooming. I can still remember noiselessly winding through the darkened avenues surrounding Beverly Hills seven years ago, windows down, inhaling a scent so perfect and so subtle I swore that not even freshly rained pavement smelled so good. It, in effect, represents so much of the city's lovely subtleties, a refrain you can barely hear above the noise, the traffic, the smog, the crippling metropolitan claustrophobia. But if you find yourself exploring dimly lit neighborhoods some nondescript evening, you might come upon something to remind you why you moved here in the first place.

That scent epitomizes Los Angeles to me and it's one I've tirelessly searched for: the perfect orange blossom. I found it a few years ago in the form of an etched glass bottle inscribed with the words "Le Couvent Des Minimes," a scent so perfectly citrusy and sweet I swore I'd never smell like anything but oranges from that day forward. Except, of course, until I searched for another bottle and discovered that they had discontinued the fragrance and that it was no longer available anywhere. 

Profound sadness ensued. 

I've tried plenty of other substitutes since then. L'Occitane, store brand, Bath & Body Works, neroli, orange, mandarin, tangerine: Nothing matches the sublime perfection of that Le Couvent des Minimes scent. Nothing, that is, until I decided, perchance, to play my own apothecary this weekend and attempted to mix a few things I had lying around. Like a miracle of all miracles, I think I've managed to come up with a scent that very nearly matches my original orange blossom - and the best part is, it will never be discontinued. 

I started with an empty glass bottle of the old scent, kept on hand for posterity. And also because it's just so pretty. I added 3 parts Kaori mandarin mist from Target and 2 parts pure orange flower water, a cocktail mixer I found at, yes, Bevmo, and two drops of rosewater. Lo and behold, it's the perfect blend of flower and citrus, and it lasts just as long on my skin as the eau de parfum did.

Now come hell or high water, at least I know I'll smell good.

The original orange blossom bottle

Plus a little bargain budget scent

...And a cocktail mixer, great for your skin and your gin fizz