Today — two woody/saffron fragrances, one of them ethereal and one of them dense.
I was getting into perfume at about the time IUNX was shutting down. Like the Gobin Daudes, they were gone before I had any real sense of what I was missing. The Eaux always seemed evanescent (hey, they’re eaux), but I thought Splash Forte and L’Ether were both pretty great in different ways. Now that IUNX is back in business I don’t feel guilty about blogging about them; the scents were almost impossible to find. (I think they’re available at Hotel Costes in Paris — so, okay, they’re not easy to get. But not impossible.) While I like my big, bombastic sillage as much as the next gal, as I reach the bottom of my L’Ether decant I can appreciate its subtle virtues.
Notes are myrrh, benzoin, rosewood, saffron, maple wood, white sandalwood. Patty finds it has a smell that she associates with horses, in a good way.
The fragrances are composed by Olivia Giacobetti, and L’Ether has her handprints all over it. Less sweetly floral than L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer, incense-ier than Matthew Williamson Incense (speaking of long-gone scents I weep over, and my decant is almost empty and the rerelease is totally different), and more soft and woody than Safran Troublant, L’Ether is probably my ideal contemplative scent. I wish I got a shade more saffron, and I wonder whether it’s been tweaked in the re-release, but sniffing the back of my hand over and over I ultimately find myself surprised to have a similar reaction to Patty — in my case it smells like being inside a saddlery, with the smell of wood and expensive leather mingling in the background. It is mildly incensey without being remotely churchy. I have no doubt that many people would find it too light to bother with, and that’s fine.
At the other end of the saffron strength spectrum is Costume National 21 – notes of bergamot, milk, orange blossom, saffron, cumin, pepper, cashmere woods, royal jelly, moss, clary sage, patchouli, olibanum, amber, sandalwood, oud wood, cedar, vetiver, labdanum, tonka bean, vanilla, musk. I had a tiny sample of this, but failed to secure a bottle. (Unlike the rest of the Costume National scents which I remember as ambery and are now all over the deep discounters, 21 doesn’t appear to be anywhere outside of places like LuckyScent.) Now I have a decant that will probably last forever although I wear it regularly. Why? It is ridiculously strong on me, particularly given those notes. You’d think it would be soft and sweet, like KenzoAmour maybe, and you’d find yourself wanting more oomph. But having to change clothes last week after overspraying, I’ve gone back to dabbing it on. Dabbing tamps down the bits that smell like anise in favor of the sweet woods, milk and saffron, which is the direction I want it going anyway. (Cumin-phobes – I am the cumin magnifier, and I can’t smell it.) On the wrong day it’s almost too anisic and sweet like Douce Amere, and no thanks. But I’ve learned to under-apply just as I’ve learned to over-apply L’Ether, and I’m glad to have both of them in my wardrobe, particularly in this year when it’s still wet and cold and our heat is still kicking on late at night.