Sepia. That is all, class is dismissed.
I kid!! Well, not really. That sums it up better than the nickel’s worth of words I can put together. Dust that is alive, buoyed up on a current of air, something more than it really is, and it rolls, that’s a Kansas Dust Storm – it is pulling up dirt, decay, manure, mold, hay, grass, throwing it in the air, and it dances and holds together as something not solid, but more than solid, taking what is dead and making it live.
The afternoon this dust storm rolled through had this jacked-up feel to the air – it was hot, but a cool tinge, and nothing felt quite right. When that storm appeared on the horizon, we all stared at it for the longest time as it got bigger, puzzling through the “um, why is that thunderstorm on the ground?” idiocy that naturally occurs when you are seeing something that used to happen daily in the ’30s, but we had never seen in our lifetime. My mother was an infant when the worst of them were rolling through, so she didn’t remember what they looked like. My father would have been about 10, but he was dead and was not throwing down any clues for us, though I can still hear him laughing because I swear the dust animated him too.
I’m not sure if it was 10 minutes or 30 minutes before we reached consensus on what we were seeing – a ’30s-style Dirt Storm in something like 2006. We watched it in fear and dread and serious jaw-dropping awe, despite knowing this was not that kind of dirt storm, and we weren’t staying in some plastered-together sodhouse on the prairie, and there wouldn’t be one the next day to lay another layer of fine dust over everything. But we felt it – the air prickling, the smell of dirt, and all the other smells that it sucked up with it, and it churned and eventually rolled over us,the wind howling.
First time I smelled Sepia, it was just like that – some fecal qualities to it, underlying rot, hay, grass, layers of dust and time had smoothed them all out until I splashed it on and disturbed their peace, and they fanned out, animating time and death. Sepia is brilliant, as is Mandy, because she made it out of blood cedarwood, yellow mandarin, pink grapefruit, pink lotus, strawberry, jasmine grandiflorum, cocoa, coffee, flowering tobacco, oud, indole, ambergris, cepes, and labdanum. And I just looked at this list of notes again and asked, where did you hide the necromancer note?!?!?! She was inspired by Ghost Towns, and I’ll go along with that as long as the Ghosts are still walking-around dust piles.
On a level of 1-10 for Perfume Difficulty Sniffage, this is a solid 9, maybe a 10, depending on how patient you are in the drydown, which is really lovely after that rollicking start. I haven’t spend any time in discussing that because it’s so secondary to the really great parts! You keep a smidge of the weird, diminishing, but never gone, but it’s completely wearable and completely distracting. If you are swanning through this blog by accident and think you need some of this, and the most difficult perfume you’ve attempted is Michael Kors Treacly Sweet Island Vanilla Rum, you might want to slow your roll a little. You’ve been warned.
I did sample the parfum version, and my source was Mandy. I will have some of the EDP I can give away as samples to three lucky commenters. So have you tried anything by Mandy? Tango (plastic sex doll head (go read it, it’s so perverse) or some version of that – I completely forgot about that review! Hard to tell from reading it, but I really do love Tango) or Cacao or Cepes and Tuberose, Secret Garden, anything? Have you just missed that boat? I have my little perfumers workbook course and kit that I’ve been sitting on for months now that Mandy has, but I am so inspired by this scent, I’m sitting down and starting on it pronto so I can make something absolutely not as interesting as this, but I’ll tell you all about my fumblings, and that will make it fun for all of us!
Winners of the Guerlain Myrrh sample – Julie, violetnoir (where have you been, woman, I’ve missed you, and congrats! You should drop by more often) and Portia Turbo-Gear. Just click on the Drop us a Note at the top (look up!!!) and remind me what you’ve won and give me your address. I’ll give you a quick confirm once I get it so you know it didn’t land in my spam net.