Tag Archives: Perfume

143. Define the smell of happiness

Define the smell of happiness.

The first question of the exam had an entire room of perfumers-in-training bewildered.

Constance wrote down that happiness was to be found in the essence of violets, slowly ground on a wet summer day and then mixed with dew dripping from a freshly mown lawn.

She did not make the cut.

Fournier imagined koala sweat infused with the whiff of a new mother’s sigh, boiled down to its soul during the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

His answer did, to no-one’s surprise, hardly satisfy the committee.

Other responses were equally unimpressive, ranging from petals from a rose without thorns to the tear of a football fan, caught in the dying seconds of an undefeated season.

The selection committee had almost given up on this year’s batch when they came across the question paper of Gander Whiltcliff, a mediocre student at best, who had slipped under the radar for most of the year.

Yet his answer was everything the committee had hoped for and more. Though thorough training and years of expertise would still be required, it seemed all but certain that Gander Whiltcliff would one day be a giant of the perfume industry.

For in response to the question ‘define the smell of happiness’ but a single answer was on the nose:

‘Define happiness’.



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