In the midst of Winter we are suddenly in this Vernal Vortex, with temps in the 40s and a cold, steady rain. Gardeners in my neck of the woods are freaking out (and not in a good way) because Peony buds are emerging. It’s January. This is NOT a good thing. I just went out a covered mine with a thick layer of straw, to halt any ideas of emergence. Get back in the ground, you fiends!
But… it is nice to get a foretaste of Spring, in the brackish leafmold and sucking mud. That sounds weird but it is those very smells that, to me, are the harbinger of Spring – wet wood, the almost-fetid green of emerging bulbs, cold earth – it’s always a cold smell but it exudes the smell of Life as well. This is an odd segue into a review of Amouage Bracken Woman but it’s the best I can do because it’s both very elusive – and illusive. Bracken Woman starts as a green floral but…not reeeaaalllly. More the beginning of a green bulb, like the tip of a hyacinth as it starts to put forth its first leaves (I have a few of those right now, they look like ‘omg, will you get ON with it’ and it’ll be like that for the next 2 weeks – then suddenly, I’ll walk up to one of the pots and wonder where that flower stalk came from!). Notes include include bracken accord, wild berries, lily, narcissus, camomile, smoky leather, patchouli, vetiver and birch. I can attest to the ‘wet wood’ accord of the birch because I just axed up a river birch that had become rootbound. I love the smell of river birch and, sad as it was to hack that thing into logs, it was a delightful sensory experience and omgosh it smells sweet as it’s drying in the log holder. I can also attest to the Bracken accord – I am constantly pulling up those coarse ferns from my shade borders – it’s what gives the green note its hefty base. There is nothing says ‘Spring’ quite like the sweetish, leafmouldy smell of bracken (or most ferns, for that matter). Paired with the wild berries and narcissus note (with a touch of lily atop) the whole thing coalesces into what I can only describe as the smell that comes from bringing in florists’ carnations from the chiller and setting them in a vase along with garden dianthus – it smells of carnation but only in that way that carnation smells of Spring.
There. That is just about as clear as the mud I’m slogging through! Sorry – but it really is one of those illusive scents, where the combination of identifiable notes becomes an overarching idea of a note that is not in the notes. (again with the mud). This is not a carnation scent in the way that L’Origan (or DSH’s Souvenir de Malmaison) is, with those luscious, clove-y notes that beautifully replicate those tiny little dianthuses found in heirloom gardens. That’s why I use the word ‘illusive’ in addition to ‘elusive’ – the carnation in Bracken Woman doesn’t really exist – only the idea of it. In truth, it smells more of the idea of a blooming plant. Or one just ready to bloom.
I was going to tell you that it has Godzilla sillage and longevity, then I realized that my sample had leaked onto some papers on my desk. So I went back and retried it and found that the sillage projects moderately strong and longevity is good – there are hints of it on skin even after 12 hrs!
I like it a lot and am going to enjoy it in my Spring rotation – and I would like to share a sample or two with you guys. The Girl INSISTS! Tell me what your weather is like right now. Are you potting anything up to bloom indoors? My paperwhites are blooming like crazy and it’s wonderful to come into the kitchen and be assailed by that lovely, sweet Spring scent.
In January. I keep trying to remember to succession plant them, so I have enough to get me through January and February – and every year I forget. DagNABBIT! Ah, well. February is when those juicy little hyacinths will burst forth – and I have at least 5 pots of those! So I think I’ll be okay.
Anyhoo, I’ll have The Girl poke at random and we’ll pull a couple of names for a sample of this lovely scent – speaking of names: where the rest of mah winners izzz?