Welcome to the newly minted Perfume Posse Scent Club. We hope you’ve gotten your samples and are ready to play along at home with all or part of these.
Part II will be on 10/15.
Our theme for this month was Gramma’s house or reality scents. These are scents that are comfort – that remind us of things/places/people we love and are happy with – typically in the fall of the year. There were a couple of comments about how En Passant wound up in there, smelling all of bread and Lilacs, but for me I associate that doughy, yeasty smell with all-out comfort, as well as lilacs, as that was most often the smell my gramma/mom would wear, if they were wearing something. It is the ultimate comfort scent for me because of my experience… so in it went!
Today we’ll start with the three CB I Hate Perfumes – Wild Hunt, Gathering Apples and Burning Leaves. What we’d like, after we share our impressions and thoughts is for all of you to do the same in comments. If you want to have fuller, longer discussions that you think the comments section won’t handle, there’s the bulletin board.
Gathering Apples — We’ve talked about this one off and on, the earliest being in August of 2006, after our trip to NYC and smelling it in CB’s shop. For me, this is all of the apple — the stem, core, flesh, leaves — it encompasses the whole apple-eating experience, from the orchard to my mouth. We rarely got to pick apples ourselves as kids, but in the fall my parents would head down to an orchard a few hour away, and they’d come back with a couple of big boxes full. They were big old red delicious apples, and they were wonderful. There were evenings of popped popcorn and fresh, crisp apples and Bonanza or Red Skelton, and those are some of the best, warmest memories of my childhood. CB got it exactly right with this. Most apples veer off into the too sweet, too plasticky, and this does neither for me — it is perfect.
Burning Leaves — Again, this is another one of CB’s scents we’ve been mentioning off and on for over a year now and that we were introduced to first in the fall of 2006. Smoky, almost pit barbeque’ish, it smells of the the leaves we did burn in the fall, but with a little bit of a meaty quality to it — hot dogs? Not sure, but there’s something else in there. For a true fall comfort treat, just combine Apples and Leaves. We put them together to smell for a reason, and that’s it, they just go with each other. (March says: this one holds a special place in my heart because several hours after you’ve had it on the “burning” part fades and you just have “leaves” — that profoundly happy smell of kicking through the fallen leaves on your way home to dinner at dusk, without a care in the world, when you are six years old. I would subtitle it: Essence of Happy Childhood. Layered with Gathering Apples it makes me think of roadtrips for cider in the Virginia countryside.)
Wild Hunt — CB made this one to echo the forest floor in summer, and I think he got it right, and I reviewed it here already, so I won’t go into more detail, except to say that I don’t know that it should be limited to summer. This also reminds me of the slight decay of a fall forest or just the end of the growing season, the harvest. Growing up in Kansas, there aren’t a lot of forests around, but we had a lot of green things and green things that fermented slighted or decayed slightly when they died or were harvested, producing a deeper, richer, lusher green, before it went over the cliff into “ew, hell, that’s nasty.” Corn stalks were like that. We’d cut them and chop it and make it into silage (not sillage). When it first went into the pit, it had a similar smell. After it had been in there a while, we could have gotten drunk on just the smell of that stuff. Wild Hunt finds that edge perfectly, balanced between the new green and the old, slightly rotting green, with something slightly magical about it, like it belongs in the elven realm. (March says: whereas CB Black March holds the promise of thawing ground and a faint breath of spring flowers, Wild Hunt is more ominous — dark woods and rooty, twisted paths rather than loamy, fertile earth. Wearing it alongside burning leaves is a trip to the forest without leaving your cubicle. It’s a little more Halloween than Thanksgiving, if you follow me. I love it.)
The larger question on reality scents, are they wearable? I think they are because a scent is in your head. It doesn’t have to be a preening floral or tobacco or vetiver, it can just simply be a smell that you love and want next to that won’t offend someone else. The idea of how perfume should smell has changed. Don’t get us wrong, we like to smell like flowers too sometimes, but not every day and not for every occasion.