Today we´re on a plane, I hope – first to JFK and then on Royal Thai Air to Bangkok. So I won´t be responding. I´ve put my big girl pants on and here we go.
In Bangkok, I hope to:
Take a long-tail boat tour of the Chao Phraya River and the khlongs (side-river-streets);
Visit Siam Square and the Central World Plaza for shopping (Central is 5.9 million square feet vs. Mall of America´s 4.2 million), or maybe the Emporium, which looks the most upscale (perfume!);
See the most revered Buddha, the Emerald Buddha, in the Grand Palace;
Get together with Posse commenter Noy, who lives in Bangkok, to eat some durian and, if I don´t embarrass myself, some farty veggies and maybe even the extra farty veggies (I have noooo idea);
Not die in the heat;
Not lose any children (I´m planning to label them with a return address);
Not freak out in the crowds. Small duh moment looking online: wow, there are eight million people in Bangkok! Have I mentioned how crowds freak me out? How we leave our local mall by noon-ish before the hordes descend? I´m the gal who ducked out of the Vatican tour early, when we got to the Leonardo da Vinci room or whatever it was, when everyone was staring up ooohing and aahing and all I could do was breathe and think, get. Me. Out. Of. Here. So. I´ll have to be the adult. Wish me luck.
Today I´m blogging about L´Artisan L´Eau de Jatamansi. But I need to back up a few months and say how bitterly disappointed I was about their Dzongkha. It was supposed to be perfect for me; it was everything I wanted in a fragrance. I wanted to be the mysterious woman wearing Dzongkha; I wanted it to cleave to me; I lusted obscenely and insanely after the idea that I, whitebread girl extraordinaire, would be worthy of the magic of Bhutan. I wanted friends to ask me what that extraordinary fragrance was that I was wearing, so I could say, with a knowing smile, Dzongkha. Instead all I got was a muddy, spiced-orange mess. I took it as some personal failure on my part.
So my hopes were pretty low for Jatamansi, the Sanskrit name for Himalayan spikenard, with additional notes of grapefruit, cardamom, clary sage, bergamot, tea, Turkish rose, ylang ylang, patchouli, gaà¯ac, sandalwood, papyrus and incense. Cribbing from LuckyScent: “The essential oil (extracted from the rhizome by steam distillation) has been used for centuries in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its uplifting effects, and for harmonising the emotions and favouring inner peace.”
Jatamansi starts off with a burst of grapefruit that comes and goes within minutes; following close behind are the herbaceous notes (I love clary sage, even though it´s obnoxious in my garden and reseeds vigorously), and at that point it´s a ringer for the sharp, almost medicinal smell you get when you walk into an Aveda store. The florals then appear, adding the merest hint of sweetness, and the incense kicks in, along with a perfect measure of woody spiciness, courtesy of the cardamom and gaiac. The drydown features a fair amount of sandalwood and manages to be strongly woody but not obnoxious in the heat. It´s refreshing but not insipid. It´s more dry in the style of, say, Terre d´Hermes, although it doesn´t smell like TdH at all.
I find it enchanting. It´s clearly a summer fragrance; it is easy to wear but not dull. I enjoy it both on its own merits and because it doesn´t remind me of anything else I own. It retains a herbal-medicinal quality that is refreshing and appealing and interesting, not some sort of Herbal-Essence generic greenness.
I´ve read complaints about its brief lasting power. It´s designed to be a refreshing spray, not a tenacious one, and whether that concept appeals is up to you. I will note that lasting power wasn´t an issue on me or the one person (a male friend) I tried it on; I got the better part of a day out of it, although it´s not wafting any huge sillage, which was fine with me, particularly in our hot, humid climate. On the other hand, most scents are famously tenacious on my skin. My one complaint (maybe yours, too) is that it comes in a whopping 250ml bottle for $145, which would, according to my calculations, last me several lifetimes. I´m sure the idea is that I can apply repeatedly and ayurvedically with abandon, but even so, 100ml would be more than enough. Enthusiasm for Jatamansi among the perfume nuts seems to be pretty muted. Maybe that´s a reaction to the bottle size, or maybe (like Serge Lutens´ Chypre Rouge) I´m part of a really small fan club. And that´s okay, too.
image: 100-foot-long reclining Buddha, Wat Pho, Bangkok; nighttime Bangkok, indodaman.com