Before I forget –August 30 is the cutoff date for registering online for the Chi-Cocoa Scentsation. I think we have 35ish people!!! It’s gonna be fun. I think we’re getting a bunch of swag from the stores, plus our bottle swap, plus the afterparty… I can’t wait to meet some of you.
Also, Vogue in September has an interesting article about having a passion for stinky foods (durian, ripe cheeses, fermented fish), which you might want to check out from the skanky smell perspective, and Denyse has done another great post on stink.
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Today we feature most of the PR blitz for Guerlain´s new LE at Bergdorf, Les Elixirs Charnels. My comments are at the end. Put your seatbelt on, and here we go. It’s LONG. Try to speed-read it without missing the, uh, flavor.
Guerlain has always celebrated femininity in the most audacious ways. Now, with a new collection of three deliciously deviant Eaux de Parfum, the perfumer breaks the rules and fires the imagination once again.
“A creature of Sizzlin (sic) Sensuality” – ORIENTAL BRà›LANT
“I just love it. I love it when I become that unpredictable and compelling creature, sure of myself, and sure too that he will instantly satisfy my every whim. No words are needed, one sign says it all. That´s how it begins.
I hold his gaze in mine, stroke his cheek with the back of my hand, then slowly slide it down his neck. He is hypnotized, transfixed. He knows he is in my power, follows meekly wherever I lead. I put my hand to my throat to give him a little of my essence, then I start again. Capturing the ELIXIR CHARNEL, my skin becomes the scented seal of my call to love.
This silent prelude already simmers with a sensuality that is instantly perceptible in my fragrance. An oriental, naturally, vibrant as an embrace. Full and warm, it is irresistibly addictive with vanilla and tonka bean. At the same time, storax imparts an intensely animal quality, creating an aura as seductive as my feline form stretched out on the bed. Throughout the composition, contrasts and surprises fuse voluptuously, while – thanks to a touch of white almond – the Elixir also has the softness of my palm when I decide suddenly to come over all tender with him.
If my fragrance had a colour, it would be the colour of the blood that rushes to your cheeks and throbs in your temples. A deep, dark red, the symbol of an intense desire and a passion of which you can never have enough.
“A Femme Fatale” – CHYPRE FATAL
He has been watching me sleep for a long time. I can sense it. He has had my body, but not the most secret part of me, my ELIXIR CHARNEL. The two of us are but one: the visible and the invisible, the tangible and the intangible, the deceptively innocent milky white of my skin on which I unveil my fragrance. The scent of an extremely elegant and innately rebellious woman, if you believe what people say about me. An icon of absolute seduction, like those legendary creatures who will forever inhabit the collective imagination.
As he contemplates my curves in the moonlight, he breathes in the Elixir that I have left on my shirt. He loves to feel it change, from one minute to the next, as he bends over me. It is a fruity chypre with an intense aura, composed silently to announce my presence and to impress my image on the memories of others. Around a hieratic rose to which patchouli brings its spicy, woody overtones, vanilla and white peach sensually soften the harmony.
I always open my collar to put more fragrance on my décolletage. Playing with the appearance of a strict suit, I can thus arouse passion with the mere glimpse of a curve unconstrained by the artifice of lace. That is what people prosaically call “the fire beneath the ice” of Hitchcock heroines. Fascinating women who are never completely won.
In a few hours from now, I will leave without a word. As always, he will watch me put more ELIXIR CHARNEL on the scented cotton, and he will not try to make me stay. He knows there´s no point. Will I be back? Maybe. Or maybe not.
“A Charming Childlike Woman” – GOURMAND COQUIN
The moment I like best? When I tie my scarf around my neck before going to meet him. I let the silk become suffused with ELIXIR CHARNEL, the essence of a deliciously mischievous woman.
He cannot resist my childlike charms. Especially when I snuggle up to him like a kitten before sliding between the sheets for a not so restful siesta.
It´s time to play my favourite game, the one where I blindfold him and drop onto his skin a sprinkling of black peppercorns and a trickle of chocolate. Those are two of the notes of my fragrance – a sexy and very feminine gourmet composition. A dash of rum, and the spice and cocoa bean become quite intoxicating.There´s also a rose harmony with voluptuous overtones of vanilla.
He knows my smell, but he always forgets the names of the ingredients. That makes me laugh, but of course I never tell him, so his senses can discover them through these tantalizing olfactory riddles.
I curl up beside him once again, and this time I tie the scarf around his wrist to show that he belongs to me.
We drift off vaguely into sleep, but I know he is keeping one eye open. And quite right he is too! After all, I might awake at any time, ready to tempt him with new discoveries.”
Did you make it through? Wow, huh? So, let´s all towel off and grab ourselves something restorative to drink, and discuss.
1) Who did they write this for, and why? I mean, bless them, are the folks at the Guerlain counter supposed to pass this on to the consumers? Or is stuff like this written to keep the owners´ relatives employed while driving me slowly insane?
2) And charnel is the French word for carnal, fine, but I had to look that up. Does that make me dimwitted, or did you figure that out on your own? If you didn´t, did the word instead conjure up (as it did for me) a charnel house, i.e., a place of death, and/or where they keep the bones? Does that bother anyone besides me, or am I shamefully Anglocentric in my thinking?
3) Two of the three of these are gourmand, and twenty bucks says they smell pretty much like the last few gourmandy releases from Guerlain. Let´s dump them all in a vat and call them Plus Que La Pluie Ganache. Another ten bucks says the “intensely animal quality” in Oriental Brulant will be mostly undetectable to the human nose, because that would funk up the scented seal of the call to love of which you can never have enough.
4) Sizzlin sensuality aside, it is hard to pick the most startling lines from this. I think “the softness of my palm when I decide suddenly to come over all tender with him” sounds deliciously porny. “He has been watching me sleep for a long time. I can sense it. He has had my body, but not the most secret part of me, my ELIXIR CHARNEL…” sounds simultaneously creepily stalker-ish, vaguely obscene and kind of hilariously wack. On the third hand, there´s the Charming Childlike Woman, whose favorite games involve blindfolds, pepper and chocolate – as opposed to Boggle or Old Maid, I guess. “He cannot resist my childlike charms. Especially when I snuggle up to him like a kitten before sliding between the sheets for a not so restful siesta.”
5) For anyone who is now getting irritated, thinking I´m smirking about the as-translated-from-the-French quality – I am not. It´s the whole over-the-top fever dream aspect that astounds me. How do you say I need some hip waders and a bigger shovel in French?
6) HIERATIC? Oh, for Pete´s sake. What, it had better flow than sacerdotal? They couldn’t work in gnosis? Or chthonic? Or maybe they were meaning it in the Egyptian sense, I don’t know.
Which woman am I tonight? I am the woman who finds all this a bit befuddling. I think: 180 years of perfumery and we have come to this? Multiple pages of white noise, just so much soft perfume porn that feels like it would smell if it were written on dryer sheets? I am the Guerlain house whore – and yet, I am bored with these games of chocolate and blindfolds. Will I be back? As they say in the ad for Chypre Fatal … maybe. Maybe not.
UPDATE: Thanks to Kristy for extracting the bottle photo from my pdf file so I could load it in here!