For those of you who´ve been following along, recently (in a fit of madness) I constructed for Marina of Perfume-Smellin´ Things three samples of her potential Holy Grail fragrance, with varying degrees of success. Marina has since invited me to propose my own Holy Grail, for her construction. While I do not have the poetry of Marina or Katie, I am going to take her up on her offer.
Today´s post is devoted to her assignment, followed by a dip into the Candy box and a giveaway.
What I am looking for is something I will call The Golden Pearl. Mitsouko is a pearl to me à¢â‚¬” it is luminous, it is haunting. But it is a baroque pearl à¢â‚¬” it is not something I wear easily, or often, as much as I love it. Guerlain´s Plus Que Jamais is a different pearl à¢â‚¬” ladylike on me, but not anywhere near enough of whatever it is I´m looking for. The two scents that probably come closest in terms of golden luminosity are Hermes´ 24, Faubourg and Jil Sander No. 4. But Faubourg, a supremely elegant scent, lacks the comfort and warmth I am looking for. Jil Sander I am completely in love with but, while it has the comfort and warmth, it is missing the depth and resonance of The Golden Pearl. My recent discovery, Houbigant Apercu, is perfect on its own, but it is too much itself, and not enough me, to be the Golden Pearl.
I have a little bottle of Frankincense essential oil. I am not a big layer-er of fragrances, but occasionally I try dabbing on a drop or two of that oil with one of my florientals, looking for that incense-y base. I am looking for a warm incense, that resinous quality, rather than, say, the cold austerity of Armani´s Bois d´Encens. But all I wind up with is X plus the frankincense, which is always too much. In winter I wear Diptyque´s profoundly strange and incense-y L´Eau Trois, which has the warmth I am looking for, but none of the floral aspect. I have also layered Ines de la Fressange´s signature fragrance with Passage d´Enfer with some success. But it is too sweet and summery and delicate to be The Golden Pearl.
So. I guess I am looking for a rotund floriental with a stronger, more interesting base? Incense. Some skank, possibly. Perhaps leather. Perhaps (I quake writing this) even some amber, which in large doses nauseates me the way big blasts of vanilla make me queasy, but I see amber in a small dose as perhaps complementing the resinous quality of incense.
I am not looking for a gourmand note. No coffee, chocolate, vanilla (please, no vanilla!) And I would like it to be wearable à¢â‚¬” on the Fragrance Challenge index, if Mitsouko is a 10, and Jil Sander No. 4 is a 5, then I´m looking for a 7. I want it to be alluring but not so strange. Dark, but not so fickle. Rich, but not cloying.
Okay, Marina. That´s the best I can do. Let me know if you have any questions.
Moving on to the Candy:
Yatagan by Caron: notes are Lavender, Wormwood, Petitgrain, Artemisia, Geranium, Pine Needles, Vetiver, Patchouli, Leather, Castoreum, Styrax (basenotes.net) Bloglifting directly from Colombina the Terrible´s excellent review: à¢â‚¬Å“Named after a Turkish saber with a curved blade, Yatagan smells of grass, moss, earth, leather and hot, hungry, cruel bodies.à¢â‚¬? Ha! I, March the Maleficent, decree: à¢â‚¬Å“Bring me my whip and cower before me, sultry peasant boys! Tonight we ride for the far hills, where the drinking of fermented beverages and carousing will commence!à¢â‚¬? Shortly after putting this on I ran upstairs and pounced on the Big Cheese. What you do after smelling it is your lookout, but don´t say I didn´t warn you. Colombina, how can I repay you for this one?
à¢â‚¬¦ where was I? Oh, yeah. Candy. How about à¢â‚¬¦ this one? Paestum Rose by Eau d´Italie. I am not a lover of rose soliflores, preferring that they share the stage with some other note, like Rosine´s sea-salt Ecume. Here, cribbing from Aedes: à¢â‚¬Å“The silky petals of rose are touched with the sweetness of myrrh and the resinous warmth of black pepper, while the transparent floral nuances of osmanthus and peony contrast with the sensual darkness of cedar and wenge woods…à¢â‚¬? I can´t see how I´m going to top that, so I´ll just add that on me it´s a dark rose, spicy rather than sweet (the pepper, probably), balanced beautifully by the warm, resinous smell of myrrh and wenge. The drydown is particularly lovely. If you love rose scents, you should try this. If you don´t love rose scents, you should try this. Here’s another review over on Aromascope, after which you may be making an unsniffed purchase.
YSL Nu à¢â‚¬” created by Tom Ford, 2001. Clearly I had better get my act together and smell every thing Basenotes lists under YSL, because I keep falling for their more obscure gems like Yvresse, Vice Versa and now this. Notes: bergamot, white orchid, black pepper, incense, woody notes, spicy notes, vetiver (basenotes.net) It´s gorgeous à¢â‚¬” the sharp, sweet ping of the orchid in the opening, followed by the perfect balance of woods, spice and incense, with the floral playing a very minor role after 10 minutes à¢â‚¬” a man could wear this easily. All you incense addicts à¢â‚¬” smell this.
Today´s sample giveaway: L´Artisan! They´re reproducing in a dark corner of the candy box. No, I don´t know which fragrances, but they´re L´Artisan, so there´s not a dud in the bunch. If you want some new, carded samples, leave a comment below saying so and I´ll do a drawing.
A note on the painting: Gustav Klimt’s sublime Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the center of a long legal fight between the Austrian government and her heirs, from whom the painting had been stolen by the Nazis. The heirs won the court battle, and the painting was sold in June for $183 million, the highest recorded price ever paid for a painting. It was bought by cosmetics king Robert Lauder, and if we’re very, very lucky, it will hang in Lauder’s Neue Galerie in Manhattan. image: abc.net