Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa once wrote, ““The unnatural and the strange have a perfume of their own.” On the off chance this happens to be true I make sure to mask my own “unnatural and strange” scent daily, with the help of an ever-growing perfume collection. My earliest obsession with scent came in my pre-teen years when Theirry Mugler released his epic Angel scent, causing passers-by around the world to take a giant step back from any woman wearing this perfume bomb. My mom finally had to confiscate my bottle of Angel after a particularly splitting migraine, and my passion for perfume gradually waned…
… until I became an avid traveler and discovered duty-free. After a holiday in which I hadn’t quite spent my entire budget, I found myself in a duty-free somewhere (Bucharest? Amsterdam? Mexico City?) with lei (or euro? or pesos?) burning a hole in my pocket. I happened upon a Christian Dior perfume set, with luxury-sample size bottles of Diorissimo, Forever and Ever Dior, Miss Dior Cherie and Dior Addict 2. Being a risk-taker I grabbed the box without smelling a single one of the scents, then cracked the box open as soon as I walked in my apartment door (really!). I was happy to discover that I loved three of the scents (sadly, Dior Addict 2’s citrus notes never wear down on me, and I end up smelling like Mr. Clean all day… you can see I still have the little pink bottle all these years later!).
Since then, duty-free perfume shopping has become a small obsession of mine. I love buying little sample boxes of perfumes without smelling them first, and I’m rarely disappointed. The little bottles also make it easy to pack a scent or two on your next trip, as they take up little space, meet carry-on restrictions and aren’t heartbreaking if lost or broken. Make sure to know your country’s rules about duty-free perfume; flying into Canada from the EU and changing planes to a domestic flight you can- legally- bring perfume as long as it’s in an officially-sealed EU duty-free bag, but a lot of customs officers don’t know this and will try to confiscate your fragrance. Your best bet is to stash the duty-free in your checked bag when you arrive at your first Canadian airport, before you check the bag for your second flight.
As you can see above I also bought some scents when Bath and Body Works opened in my city (the Velvet Tuberose is the budget shopper’s way to smell like Michael Kors’ eponymous scent), and at a recent online sale I stocked up on some classic “old lady” scents for winter (Cabochard smells like the sexiest nursing home ever). I have a hard time imagining ever working my way through any of those large bottles as I love mixing up my scents every day depending on the weather, my mood and what’s on the agenda. However, since I don’t have any major trips coming up (and thus don’t have any duty-free in my future) I may just be able to use up more of this perfume than I think!