Painting – Caravaggio’s Narcissus
Figuring out what to write about in a post is a bit like planning meals – I don’t mind the actual writing, but coming up with the what-to-write-about bit sometimes puts me in a whirling mental kerfuffle. It’s relatively easy to pick the most interesting scents, usually things I like or find a little freaky, which may or may not be mainstream interesting to most of you. The danger lies in going over the top with praise, it can end up being a lot of self-indulgent smack – literary Onanism, if you will. I think most of you that have been reading perfume reviews for a while know that YSMV (your skin may vary). What one person loves and adores may be a complete freak show on you, so always take any review with a grain of salt – mine as well!
So to avoid any mental kerfuffles today, I asked Lee and March to tell me what to write about, and they’ve chosen Caron Bellodgia and Fleurs de Rocaille, some beautiful Caron classics that are easy to get and relatively cheap for the parfum/extrait version. I did a quick search and found Bellodgia at Imagination Perfumery for $75 for 1/2 ounce of the extrait and at 1stperfume for $59.99 (yeah, yeah, I know they can have problems, but I’ve never had any they didn’t fix). Fleurs de Rocaille I’ve found at 1st Perfume in the past, but they don’t appear to have any now, but it’s been pretty economical when I have bought it, sub-$100 for the extrait. Note the plural on Fleurs, that’s the one you want, not Fleur.
Bellodgia has notes of carnation, rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla and musk and was created by Ernest Daltroff in 1927. This is probably one of the more accessible Carons for those of you that are not fond of the Caron mousse de saxe base that you find in the urns and Nuit de Noel & Narcisse Noir. It starts out most definitely with carnation, but it’s not the strong carnation/clove that Poivre and Coup de Fouet have. The peppery carnation feel is softened quickly on the open by the other floral notes, and it truly feels like a product of its time, but never trapped in that. It’s from a time when women smelled elegantly of flowers, but with this, the musk warms it beautifully so it’s not just another pretty floral face. Every time I put this on, it just surrounds me with a beautiful scent, like stepping into a dreamlike summer garden, and I wonder why I ever wear anything else.
With notes of Gardenia, Violet, Lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lilac, mimosa, iris, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Amber, Fleurs de Rocaille has that some lovely floral softness on the open, with the emphasis on the ylang, but it has a bit more of a bite or sharpness to it — not bitter sharp, just crisp, and a little green – from the aldehydes/LotV, I guess? Where Bellodgia is all warmth, Fleurs de Rocaille is cooly elegant, with a “Can’t Touch This, dah dah, dah dah” Hammertime vibe. As it dries down, the LotV loses the more green, sharp feel. This is a perfume to keep you company in the quiet, contented moments of your life.
Two underappreciated Caron beauties.
Last minute add: Serge Lutems Five O’Clock au Gingembre just showed up. Honey, ginger, tea. Don’t see tea as a note, but whether it’s in there in reality or not doesn’t matter because the combination gives off that beautiful scent of freshly brewed. Love.
Okay, so now I’m looking for tips, etc. We are doing a big graduation trip in June to Europe. We’ll be spending a couple of days in Paris with my uncle, then we’ll be traveling down the Loire Valley (castle crawl for the youngest son graduating from High School – he loves, loves, loves castles, despite the fact he’s never been in one) into Bordeaux/Dordogne, where my uncle has a country home. From there, we’ll have to zoom back to Paris to either catch the train or fly to Florence, Italy. We’re staying at a B&B there for about a week, then we go to Rome for two days before we return home.
Now, what is the absolute must-see castle in France or Italy? Or one site in the French countryside we shouldn’t miss or something we can’t miss in Umbria/Florence/Tuscany or Rome?