Open season.

For this trip, I packed two fragrances: Serge
Lutens’ Santal Blanc, and Open by Roger &

found Open in a small shop in Cartimar Pasay. It was the middle of a weekday;
hardly any shoppers were there to poke their fingers into the cages of dogs and
cats for sale. The covered area, where most of the shops were, stank of fried
food and shoe rubber. I was looking for a pair of cherry-red Doc Martens, but
there was none in my size. After failing to become infatuated with purple
Converse sneakers, I entered a shop selling fragrances, lotions and cigarettes –
commonplace PX fare. I didn’t expect to find anything out of the ordinary.

And then, Open. They only had one
bottle. I didn’t know what it would smell like. I wanted to have it because it
was by Roger & Gallet (I used to enjoy their soaps), and because it looked
interestingly out of place in the desert of Ralph Lauren and D&G and
Burberry and the rest of the citrus fruity floral pap sold in those kinds of
places. (I also took home a bottle of KenzoAir. I’m not in love with it, but
it’s worth a fling.)

I sprayed Open on,
and fancied it immediately. It was a burst of clarity in the haze of the
noontime heat. Citrus, a hint of green, and what flower is that, spice,
lavender, woods. I googled it when I got back to the office – it was first
released in 1985, targeted towards athletic men, and is a woody fern with citrus
topnotes. I am amazed that I like it so much. It is not a fancy thing. It is a
clean, soapy, just-showered scent, perfect with a terrycloth bathrobe. I layered
it with Terranova’s Red Tea and Cocoa Blossom fragrance oil, and was amused by
the result: ripe mango.

Other masculine
fragrances I like are Dune Pour Homme, Yohji by Yohji Yamamoto, Mat:male, Eau de
4 Voleurs from L’Occitane, Annick Goutal’s Sables, Helmut Lang. The last one has
patchouli and “skin,” and smells like sweat, but clean sweat. It is impossible
to like on first sniff, and stays that way for some time. You only notice it
when you’ve forgotten you’re wearing it, and then you smile and throw back your
shoulders and add a little sway to your hips.

I wonder if Insense is as good as my
memory tells me it is. That’s next on the smelling strip