Sunday, March 7, 2010
That is, this is the perfect scent for the current season. It's not lemony-sparkling-soapbubbles-pink-flowery fresh, like many of the summer fragrances that I'm not ready for. And it's not smoky-musky-furry-cat-napping-on-buttered-toast, like many of the winter fragrances that I'm tired of.
It's bitter. And a little sweet. A volatile, vaporous, new-green kind of bittersweet. Medicinal, in a good way. It's Spring Cleaning perfume, at least right now while I'm doing the spring cleaning.
Though in the vision that it generates, I'm not doing the spring cleaning. I'm sitting around in clothes that were extracted from the pine-scented wardrobe that's been keeping them safe all winter and aired on the line all morning, drinking liqueur from a very fine glass and occasionally catching sight of the housekeeper doing the spring cleaning. The housekeeper of my very British and very well-run city house, who uses old-fashioned things like herbs and resinous polishes for refreshing the place, not nasty modern things like white-musky detergent. It's an Edwardian house, the sort where murdered guests are found on the hearthrug and written about by Agatha Christie...
Yes, OK, I'll get a grip. But this is the sort of perfume that offers plenty of food to the imagination. The notes - just to give you some concrete information - are absinthe, angelica, blackcurrant buds, star anise, four-spices, patchouli, pine needles, labdanum, and fir balsam. Reviews call it a fougere, but one where anise takes the place of the lavender. As someone who loves anise and tends to see lavender as something for dusty old-lady sachets, I approve of the substitution.
It is, by the way, officially a man's perfume. This rarely worries me, and it doesn't worry me here.
I'm having trouble describing the development, I suspect because I'm not too familiar with these notes. The beginning is stronger in anise, absinthe and alcohol. The end is much softer and more herbal. The middle is, well, in between those two.
None of it is the least bit cuddly, but somehow all of it is still very comforting. It feels clean and safe, but not in a soapy, grocery, TV commercial way. It's a more armored sort of way, as if nothing bad would dare intrude through those vapors. A sort of olfactory protective talisman, perhaps.
Yes, my imagination's running away with me again. But it is, again, perfect.
Review Roundup: Now Smell This and Bois de Jasmin and Basenotes and Perfume-Smellin' Things and MakeupAlley and Fragrantica and Perfume-Smellin' Things again and Perfume Shrine.
(You know my Postal Regulation Phobia? Now I'm developing an FTC Regulation Phobia. It's driving me to mention that I got my bottle at a discount, at a perfume shop that knew that I had a blog. I'm confident that there is no Discount/Blog connection - in addition to the fact that no one would waste money buying my opinion, the shop owner was offering discounts right and left to other people. But here I go, Disclosing, just in case. Take note, FTC.)
Photo: By Eric Litton. Wikimedia Commons. (And I have used it before, but it's so beautiful, I couldn't use anything else for this perfume.)