First things first: an apology. It turns out that the vials I though I had in the place I had them in, are not in that place or any other place for that matter. This therefore means that sending out the samples of Eau Turquoise as promised, to the recipients who asked so politely, is going to be a little longer than expected. I’m very sorry.
However, to make amends for my postal failings, there’ll be a draw at the end of this post, ‘kay?
Poor Mona. Ragged by Turinia, and beset by distribution issues in the States and elsewhere, it seems like 2009 is not her year. That is, if you look at it through our perfume-obsessed lenses. From her vantage point, the view must be quite different – three new luxury candles (all quite heady and slightly odd, I have to say) launched at the end of 2008, and two new scents this year, one not yet launched. So somehow, some way, in spite of the odds, she must be doing okay.
I’ve already praised her previous scents. They are opulent, classical and heavily layered beasties on the whole, and not attuned to the mainstream, nor the grotesquely expanding niche market and its herdlike trends. The Rubenesque forms of Carnation, for example, and the French orientalist make-up of Nuit Noire, are both very different from Serge Lutens’ heavier numbers – the line with which they might seem to have the biggest commonality. Lutens’ oriental infusions seem transparent compared to di Orio’s almost too voluptuous blends. They’re the opposite of quotidian.
Friends and enemies alike will note that, unlike last year’s Amyitis, which took her into greener landscapes, the recently released Chamarré continues with the dominant oriental theme of her collection. Here’s the PR puff:
Drawing inspiration from the word Chamarré, which means “an explosion of colours and richly ornamented”.
In this perfume, the warm breath of lavender in combination with aldehydes paves the path to sensual treats such as powdered iris from Florence, seductive rose absolue from Turkey and delicate violet, ending in a gentle embrace of cashmeran, opoponax and ambre gris.
Lavender normally strikes me as cooling rather than warm, but that doesn’t really matter here, as it’s not that significant in the composition. At first, the perfume is aldehydic and sweet, somehow quite diffuse, and without the scary qualities of Nuit Noire that led to ‘civet fart’ references elsewhere. Then the density begins, alongside a floral headiness that is somehow indeterminate – violet brings an element of powderiness, perhaps, but this is more a synthetic/synthesised bloom of nothing existent in nature. It references other perfumes rather than the world outside of bottled scents, and it would take someone much more knowledgeable about perfume lineage than me to trace those antecedents and references. Alongside the heady floral accord, there’s a caramelised quality that is heading to gourmand (the nature of ‘sensual treats’ in the text above?) and brings a rasping sweetness to the middle of the scent. It remains dark, heady, slumberous, for all of its life, and fills me with languor, though not this time with longing. Definitely a composition that strikes me as more obviously feminine than most of her other launches – save Oiro perhaps, whose jasmine prettiness takes a little too long to give way to immortelle, for my entire liking. For people who don’t get perfume, it’ll definitely fit the ‘old lady’ and ‘it gives me a headache’ bill to perfection. A commenter over at Now Smell This indicated that chamarré has slightly negative connotations when used by French speakers – that it can imply vulgarity, too much ornamentation, taste that is definitely not bon chic bon genre – borne out of sneering at nouveau riche types perhaps, who have the temerity to attempt a Rococo interior in their Cote d’Azur home, or at the delight in decoration that exists outside of ‘classical’ or ‘refined’ tastes. For me, it certainly strides that line between ‘decorous’ and ‘too much’, even as my own predilections swerve, depending on mood, from the tasteful to the trashy.
If you want to old lady it up, or get your own headache in a small glass tube, leave a message below and you’ll be in with a chance to win my (small) vial of Chamarré. I like it, but I don’t need it.