First, a quick perfume review from my favorite series of perfumes and perfumer, the gorgeous, brillian Jean-Claude Ellena: Un Jardin Apres la Mousson, the newest editionin the Un Jardin series from Hermes. Notes of cardamom, coriander, pepper, ginger and ginger flower, with a vetiver accord Ellen created. Meant to create a monson in India smell, I’m going to have to get off on whether he succeeded precisely, never having gone to India or smelled any time before, during or after a monsoon… just your standard Kansas/Colorado dusty rain shower. Mousson is spicy earth – yeah, exactly my thinking…huh?!?! It lacks any real sweetness, which I like. There’s a dry vegetal nature to it that leans in and nods to Terre d’Hermes briefly, then the pepper and ginger shoulder up and nudge the other notes to the side. It is spare and minimal, as JCE does, but it does not lack character, it is its own creation, not just another Un Jardin clone with slight modification, but yet it fits in the series perfect as another viewpoint. I find it leaning to the masculine side of the scale. I suspect this may not have the broad appeal of the other two, Mediterranee and Sur Le Nil, but as a dryer, earthier entry, I think it is done well, but I’m not finding anythin really ground-breaking. I do know I’ll enjoy wearing it during the spring/summer months, much like I enjoy Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan.
March wrote a great review of this book already, soI’m not going to rehash it, even though I had on my plane here while I was whacked out on Xanax trying to calm my breathing (see below on flying nightmare) Both Luca and Tania are witty, concise, smart, evocative writers with a well-developed sense of humor that I enjoyed very much, finding myself laughing hysterically at some of the descriptions. They are never overwrought or given to a lot of purple prose, which I also like, though they capture the elegance and beauty of scents they love poetically. The opening chapters cover some very useful information on how to try perfumes, the history of them, etc.
Once you get to the actual reviews themselves, they are rated on a scale of 1-5 – 5 being a masterpiece. Some of the reviews are short, pithy and hilarious. Others are longer, full of history and information on that scent. You will find much you will agree with in their opinions; some you will be going, What? Are you out of your mind?!?!?” For those of us who have been reading reviews online and on MUA and Basenotes for a long time, we can easily sift through and maintain our sensibilities of what we like and don´t like and won´t immediately glom onto the Masterpieces and discard our favorites. Exhibit A for me is the Caron trashing. Disagree vigorously. I’ve smelled the vintage of many of these and the new versions, and there is very little difference between them. It perplexes me. Now, the edts are a different matter, but not the urns.
My fear on this rating system is for the new perfumista, so this proviso is for them: Take it with a grain of salt. Tania and Luca are gifted writers and have an excellent sense of smell and great taste in perfume, but theirs is also an opinion, given the same weight as Freida down the road who likes things that skew to her own taste. If you try some of the Masterpieces and 4 star perfumes, you may find some new loves, or you may wind up puzzled about how they got that rating. Listen, I’m going to take a shot at a few of them that I’m unfamiliar with, including, yes, Tommy Girl. So as with my opinion, March´s opinion and all the other perfume blog writers and reviews on the various boards, we simply have our own taste too, which may or may not coincide with yours. If it intersects, great, you´ve got a good starting point. If not, then discard it.
Now, we totally are not talking about my flight to NYC on Thursday. Suffice it to say I got caught in the canceled flights, found myself on another airline that was delayed, the confiscated about $200 worth of crap from my suitcase, which was supposed to be checked, but the lines were taking so long, I missed the 45 minutes before departure cut-off for baggage check, so she told me to take it through security and check it at the gate. They took my cleansing cream, my big bottle of hairspray, my great hand lotion, my toothpaste and something else, that was after they pulled me aside for a complete check by TSA… when I’ve got 15 minutes to make my flight. Okay, one Xanax later once I got on the plane, and I’m feeling better now.