Guest Post – By Musette
Snow and ice is gorgeous – and if you tell anybody I said that, I will have to kill you.
Hahahaha! Jes´ joshin´. No killing, I promise. It´s just that it´s our first heavy snow of the season and I´m a bit overwhelmed by it – a spectacular sight but I am rather atavistic in my fear of it. Living in the country doesn´t help – vast stretches of ice and snow are somewhat terrifying – yet I´m fascinated by Winter´s frozen beauty and long to really embrace the concept. Of course, my concept´ is High Drama: I wish I had the sleigh and furs and the whole shebang – you know, Tilda Swinton in Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, yes, she was Eeeevil. But! She rocked the furs and the sleigh and the whole smashed ice goblet thing. With the hot chocolate? That was so cool.
And that smashed ice goblet got me thinking about what I love most about Winter – the don´t touch/ shattered Ice/ Deathisjustafingertipaway feeling that is woven into the blanket of ice and snow and leaches into your core if you stay out in it too long. In the City ice is at best, inconvenient and at worst, lethal, with sheets of it hurtling off buildings and slippery plazas threatening to shoot you into the frozen river. Out here in the open fields it´s a thing of beauty, with huge frost heaves covering the riverbanks and frozen corn stubble. But it really won´t do to underestimate its capacity for destruction.
Most of the winter I spend indoors, wearing warm´ perfumes and drinking lots of tea and hot chocolate. But this recent snowfall and cold snap got me thinking – hey, do y´all remember last summer when we yarked about heavy winter´ scents blooming in the heat? My big surprise was Cuir Ottoman. It was just okay in the frigid temps but somebody suggested it for really hot weather and YOWZA! Howyadoin´, baybee! From there I went to some serious skank, like vintage Bal in August. Hurts so gooood.
So why not the reverse? I wanted to try a perfume experiment that runs counter to what most of us tend towards as the temps plummet so I´ve gotten up early these past few mornings to try out a couple of weird crystalline, grey/green/silver perfume choices, out in the pre-light, truly frozen break of day. I swear, the things I do for you…
8:30a. Shoveling sparkling-clean snow. It´s maybe 22F out there. I´m wearing TDC´s Charmes et Feuilles which has a minty freshness that usually evokes a rainwashed Spring morning but the minty/camphory open runs through the entire experience, making it a perfect smashed-crystal scent for Winter. I would never wear this if I were looking to warm up – it´s not aprà¨s-ski. It is for skimming down the slope and matches perfectly with those little bitey pellets of wind-whipped snow. Wearing it, I actually felt as one with the elements, which is bizarre, given that I am tropical by nature. This is beautiful in Winter. Notes are Marjoram, Peppermint, Sage, Serpolet, Jasmine Sambac, Grapefruit, Clementine and Patchouli. It is very silver and tinkly and works perfectly for a walk along the frozen riverbank. (what the heck is serpolet´?)
I loved Onda in the early autumn. It has this weird, woody/rooty/dirty thing going that works well with a rich brown cashmere twinset and Trust Fund Pearls. Today, in the freezing wind and snow (around 17F), I wore Vero Kern´s masterpiece to walk my boy and it scared me half to death. I felt like my heart was ready to fly out of my chest! It was so weird that I had to stop and bury my face in my dog´s warm chest to ground myself. He thinks I am very strange. Onda is a stunner, with that “thing” so similar to the grave dirt found in Djedi and in the cold it morphs into something truly scary. Perfumista Scary, as in ” wow! This beautiful stuff is….scary! Gimme summa dat”. The cold amps the black, seemingly dead dirt and that weird little dish soap note plays a creepy little antiphonal tune… Fascinating. .I would definitely wear this in the cold, just to remind myself of my own mortality (as if fear of freezing to death weren´t enough.) Notes are vetiver, ginger, mace, coriander (Luckyscent describes a leather note, which I get a bit of in the autumn but not now – it is not listed in the notes but is referred to in the lovely copy). This is definitely Ice Queen material. Think Tilda Swinton, painted that eerie blue, with a mouthful of platinum fangs.
Vintage Coty L´Aimant. I put it on this morning and went out to shovel the drifts from last night. I really stacked the deck on this one -6:45a, pitch-black and cold as a gold-digger´s heart. …AND I wore the way-thinner Eau de Toilette (hey, go big or go home). Well. L´Aimant hit the cold, swelled up like a balloon and burst into a million crystalline pieces! Wow! Like plunging down one of those old, rickety wooden roller coasters (Riverview´s The Bobs comes to mind). I definitely have to do that again. It´s still on my wrist and it´s having a good time but it´s a different creature altogether from what it is when I wear it in temperate climes. It has little icy claws! I kinda like it. All the ladylike qualities have been frozen off and it´s like a vicious little sword-wielding elf. TPC lists the notes as bergamot, neroli, peach, strawberry, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, vanilla, vetiver, and sandalwood. They forgot to list the stainless steel sword. Very aldehydic and sparkly as all get-out, especially in the cold.
Last but not Least. My new preciousssss: Cartier L’Heure Brilliant. I have worn this two nights out in the pitch-black permafrost and something really wonderful has happened to it each time. It´s icy-cold here right now, with a gale-force wind and Brilliant, like L´Aimant, gets all those flowery bits frozen right off in this cold. Of course, I can´t smell it when I´m outside, as I´m mostly just trying to stay alive and get the damn dog to hurry the hell up and Pee, already! but when I come back in, that vaguely annoying oily-flower note is gone, burned right off in the extreme cold. What´s left is something akin to the frozen dregs of a really good bottle of gin, with a hint of lemon rind. And maybe a cocktail onion. Srsly. I mean, it doesn´t smell like a cocktail onion. You just feel the crunch of a really cold, gin-infused cocktail onion snap between your teeth. If I were just a tad more insane I would be tempted to go outside (it´s 14F) expose a bit of skin to see how this really smelled outside. Instead we´ll just imagine it, okay? I dunno the notes on this one (and I´m too lazy to look them up) – I just know I love it and I really love it in the cold.
Have any of you tried this twist? I´d love to know your take on some of the fizzier, chillier scents in the cooler (or downright frozen) weather.
PS. I am SO over winter now. Is it May yet?