Frederic Malle Carnal Flower – and our upside-down world

Frederic Malle Neiman Marcus

Things are now set up in the rental house and the landlord has had the hob/stove top replaced (it didn’t work at all).  I wonder if the previous tenants cooked, or did they just throw ready meals into the microwave for months (a shanda* given the local farm shop delivers).

Work on the house has started (the project manager sent me pics of a gutted bathroom through the floor of which you can see into the gutted kitchen below). Did placement for electric sockets, light switches, etc, which is one of those dead boring things you really need to pay attention to.

When I ordered samples recently in order to do the Lemming post that was up a week or so ago, I threw a sample of Malle’s Carnal Flower into the mix. I’ve tried this a number of times and generally felt it wasn’t for me. Adore Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle mostly for the opening, which is just sublimely weird. But a bottle costs so much I just can’t see myself ever forking out for it. Anyway, this time with CF I was actually drawn in. Notes: bergamot, melon, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, jasmine, salicylates (not worth explaining), tuberose, orange blossom, coconut and musk. Not wanton (I know many feel it is) or unnecessarily showy; rather, something far more unusual and compelling. Maybe throwing the melon and eucalyptus in moderates what would otherwise fall over into nauseatingly sweet and heavy. Anyway, it’s got the best aspects of tuberose (one of my favourite flowers – I recently received my tubers for pots here and they got planted today) – lush, heady and distinctive, but weird (a cardboardy green aspect). And while I have been good about avoiding the lockdown siren’s song of online shopping, I might have to cave for a travel size of this …

So, lockdown. I’ve pretty much settled into a rhythm that makes things bearable and largely keeps the sads at bay.

Dog walks twice a day. This village is bigger than ours and thus has a lot more walks to do – along roads, pedestrian paths, through fields – good for the soul and can be justified (not only for dog well-being) as acceptable activity (getting that exercise). One great field walk involves going through a number of stiles with ‘dog doors’ which Joe the Lab is slowly getting the hang of (one door requires the actual lifting of a sliding panel – a real canine portal).

Reading almost continuously when I’m not: working; cooking; discussing sentence structure with my son for the uni essays he still has to write; planning large and elaborate online food shops when I can get a delivery slot; and gardening in the titchy garden here (cleaned it up and moved pots around). I’m not a big television watcher – in fact, I divested the 10-year-old telly during the house move clearout – and watch the few things I’m interested in (eg, BBC’s Gardeners’ World) on the laptop. Be interesting to see if I want a telly when we move back to the house.

Doing yoga. I’ve finally managed to get myself to do my own weird session of yoga and pilates (build that core) and plan to return to the two classes I love soon (which have moved online). Here’s to mountain pose, downward-facing dog, plank, wild thing, and table top with toe taps.

And, of course, ‘talking’ to friends. Doing this is online, but it still reminds me that we’re all whole and managing which also combats the sads. Deep breath.

So, have you revisited anything recently, had an a-ha moment, and decided to enlarge your collection? What about the lure of online shopping – are you all in or resisting the want monster?

*Yiddish for something scandalously shameful.

PS This is the first post I’ve uploaded myself. I need to get the hang of text wrapping…

  • Patty says:

    I adore CF,especially in the Hair Mist.If you don’t want to splash out for a bottle or travel bottle, the Hair Mist can be had without too much extreme budget pain, and it is almost better since it seems to just waft everywhere. I got my bottle years ago when we were at a sniff in NYC, and it’s still mostly full!

  • Musette says:

    the Eucalyptus is probably my favorite part of CF – glad you are beginning to enjoy it!
    Monty! Nigel! Nell! I love me some Gardener’s World. I’m going back to take a tutorial on gravel gardening – there are a couple of places that would be perfect for that!

    and yes – placement of sockets and switches is decidedly unsexy – but almost as essential as foundations!
    Glad you’re settling in – tell Joe the Lab that The Girl sends her love.


  • Dina C. says:

    I have loved tuberose for years — even before my perfume hobby rightfully began — so I heartily approve of the TC and CF samples. Love how both of those smell. I don’t own FBs of either…so costly. But they smell great. I’m working my way through a couple boxes of memorabilia in an effort to declutter. As I go, I’m sending notes to old friends with funny items tucked in that I think they’ll get a chuckle over. I bought some seeds and small potted plants to put in our backyard; now I need to actually do the work.

  • Bee says:

    As our business has completely flatlined inthe last month I’ve been trying to avoid online shopping except for essentials – like vitamins & books but I did go for a replacement bottle of Guerlain Jasminora from ebay. I thought I had lost my bottle somehow in the last house move but of course I found it the day the new one arrived. Typical! But as my husband wears it too it’s good to have a backup bottle. Catching up with a lot of TV right now: Westworld, Ozark and reading a lot of vintage crime & science fiction. It seems a good idea to explore things set in other times and other worlds.

    • Cinnamon says:

      That’s the way of things, isn’t it: you think you’ve lost something for it to pop back up. As you say, good to have a backup of something that is loved. Any suggestions for crime books to look out for?

      • Bee says:

        Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie is a great contemporary series and Dorothy Sayers is brilliant for Golden Age crime

  • Portia says:

    Hey there Cinnamon,
    I have a 10ml of Carnal Flower but it never seems to get the spritz. When I think BWF I usually go for Versace Blonde, Neela Vermeire Pichola or Rahele and Madonna Truth or Dare. Don’t know why but they seem to be the ones I think of.
    Online shopping? No. Nothing so far. Australia allows us to go to the shops to get stuff. Also the Delivery Portals fill up so quickly that Jin and I are leaving them for the oldies and disabled. It’s a 2.5k step round trip walk from our place to Chemist, Post Office and Grocery. I like to do it, combining exercise and shopping.
    Today I just wanted to sleep, so I had a fabulous afternoon nap.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ve given up the idea of going to shops for the time being. My son was ill a few weeks ago (and I got it in a much more minor way). I’d been out five days prior — to the local shop and the surgery. No other places I could have picked something up. When I spoke to the doctor to get something to help the child the gp said could be Covid even though the symptoms I’d listed didn’t fall under the ‘usual’ list (there’s a Newsweek article out there citing a study done regarding Covid diagnosis listing the symptoms we had). There’s no way we’ll be tested right now (and I’ve got underlying health issues) so bar those dog walks I’m just going to stay in and use delivery. I’ve sampled the earlier NVCs but not these. Sounds like I need to.

      • Portia says:

        That makes so much sense for you guys. You’re EXACTLY why we don’t take a place in the Delivery Services.
        Good luck. Get well.
        Also, you defo need to try the Neelas, they’re quite unlike any of her other offerings. Still as complex but much lighter and less intimidating.
        Portia xx

        • Cinnamon says:

          Tx, Portia. We are now well (son took much longer to get better though). Problem to my mind is not knowing if what we had was Covid. At some point I’ll order all her samples. I think I’m going to dig out Hiram Green Dilettante for this Friday’s scent of the day.

  • March says:

    I’ve been doing online beauty shopping (nothing too crazy) because I’m in the mood… I found my Carnal Flower decant yesterday, oddly enough, so I put it on as soon as I saw your post. It’s so, so pretty.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’m being a bit disingenuous about the online shopping. I’m not doing beauty/skincare (though I’ll need to replace some things over the next month or so). I am however in need of a new bed once we move back home and have been coveting a cast iron one for years. So, am in conversations with the guy at the company. His last email confirmed that if I order now (they are having a sale on the model I want) they can indeed ‘hold’ my bed for however many months till the refurb is done. So, there’s that and I’m happy to be supporting a small business — particularly right now.

  • Kathleen says:

    I am on a no-buy, however I revisited EL Youth Dew. I’ve loved in since late 1980s, and hadn’t worn it in awhile. I still adore it and am happy to spend time with the fragrance. I am focusing on the positives of the stay at home, and like you the joy of my life now is daily long walks with my dog. Moving meditation and taking in all the beauty of nature.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I find YD fascinating. I’ve sampled it a number of times and find it beautiful and love the back story. But, I’ve never bought it. I feel very lucky to be in lockdown some place that’s less populated so social distancing is easier and where I can be out with the dog visiting new parts of the village and watching spring unfold.

  • Carolyn says:

    Hi Cinnamon! Thanks for your post. I’m always keen to read about FM and tuberose is one of my favourite scents. Absolutely mad for Café Tuberosa by Atelier Cologne.

    I’ve made good use of my time, perfume-wise, cataloging my bottles and numerous samples into a spreadsheet with details on house, notes, nose, date and other frag essentials. It’s colour-coded, too. Purple for love; green for like; red for trade/sell; and black for “are you kidding me?”.

    I did the best kind of buying online recently – no $$ required! A wonderful friend provided me with gift certificates in advance of my birthday and I went with Cartier’s Baiser volé. It’s a blind buy but one that I know will suit me as it features the lily, a lovely scent not yet in my collection.

    Otherwise, communication feels like a full-time job what with phone calls, e-mails, texting, and zoooooming. Reading and writing are other enjoyable activities.

    Stay safe, stay healthy everyone!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Oh, tuberoses … they are just so glorious. Having planted my tubers it’s now waiting to see if/how they perform here. Very impressed by your fragrance organising. Gift certs … I had an email convo with one of my yoga teachers a few weeks ago, before the classes went online and was thinking of how to support her, about people buying a load of gift cards for use once we’re out of lockdown (she’s also a great masseuse).

  • matty1649 says:

    I live alone, my daughter, 4 grown up grandaughters and their children live nearby. They do shopping for me and bring it to my house. They knock on the door, then go to the end of the path. I can then have a conversation with them from a safe distance when I open the door. We do a group text every day to keep in touch, and we face time. I’ve got to admit this isolation is really getting to me now.
    I wear perfume every day to cheer myself up. Today I’ve been wearing Insolence.
    Keep safe everyone XXX

    • Cinnamon says:

      Your situation sounds difficult, but good that family is close by. Prior to Covid-19 I was getting used to being on my own (my son had gone off to his first year of uni and I don’t have much family, and none of them are here). I find I sample and wear perfume now to continue to use that unique part of my brain in addition to the basic pleasure.

  • Tara C says:

    I’m intrigued by the stiles with dog doors, you must post a picture next time. 🙂 To me Carnal Flower smells cool and fresh, like a bunch of tuberose in a florist’s fridge. Completely different from the wintergreen gum opening of Tuberose Criminelle and its lush floral drydown. I love both. As for online shopping, I did order one thing a few weeks ago but since then I’ve been totally uninterested. I am using this lockdown to move away from consumerism and journey within, doing meditation and yoga. My life up to this point has been all about more and material excess. Going forward I would like to have a different focus.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ll get a pic of the dog door for my next post. I don’t generally take the phone with me on walks as it’s non-tech time. But, this is a reason to 🙂