I dropped the Big Cheese off at the airport yesterday for his trip to Thailand, China — and Burma. The devastation from Sunday´s cyclone (15,000 dead was the last count I read) changes his plans, but he´s not sure how yet. He has friends in Yangon, and the already limited communications are down. He´s going to get to BKK and see if he can bring something in (medicines, medical supplies) that might help, and try to discern whether his presence there for the cleanup would be a help or a hindrance. He´d like to help. Whenever I stick him on one of those planes and drive off I always get this weird feeling, like I´ve looked down and discovered one of my arms has gone missing. He loves Asia, and I could no more ask him to stay home than I could ask him to stop breathing. But still.
Since I was out there in that neck of the woods I figured I might as well stop at the Hermes Boutique and smell Un Jardin Apres La Mousson, the newest in the Jardin series. I like the other two a lot, but was not sure what to expect with this one. I have been fascinated by how much the responses and reviews have varied – folks are all over the place with their comments about Mousson. I can´t think of the last time something had such a wide range of descriptions – maybe SL Chypre Rouge?
Mousson´s notes are cardamom, coriander, pepper, ginger and vetiver accord. I had the SA at Hermes spritz my arm (they were “out of samples,” natch) and waited. The top is all about the spices – the cardamom, coriander and pepper, combined with the sharp heat of ginger, are astonishing. I´ve read several complaints about its being sort of wan and watery, and standing there sniffing those bits I was baffled – it is strong on me, bone dry and in its own peculiar way, quite lovely.
I still had my nose stuck to my wrist in thought when WHOMP!!! — the arrival of the (unlisted) aquatic melon accord dropped in. “Dropped in” as in, someone broke a freaking melon over my head. I kid you not, I startled the SA with my muffled scream – it was not clear to me before that moment how utterly nasty I find that smell. My stomach lurched and I jerked my head back and beat a hasty retreat from the store.
I actually contemplated scrubbing it, that´s just how horrifying it is, but stuck it out. And let me tell you, you people owe me for this one. If there is a hell, it definitely has a melon accord. On Now Smell This recently, a commenter coined the term “fruital” for brutally fruity. Mousson is one of the most fruital fragrances I have smelled in recent memory.
Eventually (two hours?) the aquamelon starts to meld into what is a very soft, clean vetiver. Six hours later I can still smell it — aquamelonvetiver. Once it is gone from my arm, I never, ever want to smell it again. Your Mileage May Vary.
While I was out there I ran across Givenchy Vetyver, so I put that on my left hand, with Guerlain Vetiver on my right hand for comparison. They´re totally different – Guerlain is more like a cologne with a vetiver note, whereas Givenchy is pretty much a straight vetiver (vetiflore?). In The Guide LT gives it four stars and calls it “wonderfully straightforward” and a “quality vetiver.” I get almost zero development – a little zingy at the top, maybe some citrus, and then a pleasantly earthy, arid (dirt-like, not “dirty”) vetiver. I am not the queen of vetiver, but it´s really nice – there´s something about it that makes my mouth water — and you vetiver freaks might want to dig some up. I´ll take the Guerlain, thanks.
On my way out of the mall I experienced my second fragrance haunting in 24 hours – the air in the corridor all around me was infused with the smell of a perfume I recognized instantaneously but – maddeningly – could not place, like having a word on the tip of my tongue. I went back into Bloomingdales and sniffed around, looking for it. The second I smelled it, I knew – Dolce & Gabbana´s The One, with its distinctive warm, musky base. I like The One a lot, I´ll probably keep an eye peeled for a cheapie bottle next fall when it´ll feel right. I wonder if someone dropped one in the hallway?
And last night, in the middle of anxious dreams, I woke up to my first fragrance haunting – the reassuring smell from …. well, from when? It was a happy smell. What was that smell? Definitely a fragrance. I lay there in the dark, in the small hours, and contemplated it. Something a friend wore that I loved. Eventually I realized the smell of some random lotion I´d put on at bedtime had conjured my ghost, but what was the original scent? And then I remembered and it bloomed in front of me in the dark – Tatiana. Diane Von Furstenberg, I think Tatiana’s her daughter? Seriously, anyone on the planet remember that? Weird asymmetrical bottle? I should go google it and see if it exists. I feel a burst of joy just thinking about it. I remember it was really sweet and a little raspy and a little green. Jasmine? I have no idea. It´s probably total crap. Looks like they´ve got it on Beautyencounter for ten bucks. I don’t know, maybe I should leave my happy memory intact? Tonight, I´m hoping for the Ghost of Guerlains Past.
image of monks with umbrellas: traveltolao.com