Choosing a signature scent is a masterclass in blending the sweet essences of idealised self-projection (I am really a hardbodied rock bitch whose M&S elasticated skirt suit masks a dark sexual pioneer) and quivering sentimentality (my grandmother fled persecution in nothing but a boat fashioned from her bottle of Chanel No.5) with the deep, rich basenotes of insecurity and delusion.
The recent film of Suskind's novel Perfume was also a load of unctious idiocy, but brilliantly done, confirming Ben Wishaw as a skinny skulking psycho in the mould of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. The divine Irishman himself was presumably too busy with another sort of perfume, clomping through an animated cityscape in his Hugo Boss aftershave ad in some kind of unholy marriage of Hackers and Penny Crayon.
I am tempted by some of the new scents for autumn. Cuir de Lancome seems like my kind of thing: bold, womanly, overwhelming and slightly gross, without a whiff of Simpering Paltrow Blossom. But really I am saving up to hire a nose to concoct my long-dreamt-of personalised blend: Eau de Bonfire. Earthy yet skybound, acrid yet sweet, it would be indescribable and addictive. The ad could have Gerard Butler, covered in dirt, rolling in leaves and growling.
Until then, it's Shalimar, because I read The Sheik when I was sixteen.