I’ve reviewed lavender-based fragrances a few times and been mean about all of them. Lavender is a not a note that works well on me.
So, why am I writing about lavender? Because in most other permutations I love it.
I have a lavender plant in a pot (I used to have another in the ground but the builders killed it). I use lavender oil when I feel I’m a bit pongy (like if I stay in my yoga clothes after yoga and go off some place where there are people).
I have some quite old lavender sachets that my mother gave me which still do their job. Years ago, we (my father and son) stopped at a lavender farm in Norfolk (mid-east coast of England) on the way to a short beach holiday. I think I came away with a plant, some lavender honey, and some lavender sweets, but it was a long time ago.
The lavender experience I do recall clearly relates to taking my father out for a fancy lunch decades ago in New York City.
If you were a New Yorker in the 1980s and 1990s maybe you’ll remember that in the summers there was a programme of cheap (relatively) three-course set lunches at fancy restaurants. You paid the year with a decimal in the middle (eg, $19.88 for 1988).
At that time I worked for a while in midtown Manhattan and on the lower West Side. Each year, us youngers (investment assistants, editors, secretaries) would get together over the list and choose a few places to go. Three or four truly outstanding lunches for under $100 in total. Incredible.
I can’t recall most of the places we went as most of them are now gone (damn that NY restaurant rotation). But I do recall once having lobster risotto for lunch which was so good I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the afternoon.
I do also recall one lunch at the long defunct but totally incredible Chanterelle on Hudson and Harrison Streets. I think we had chosen it one year because a friend of mine knew the pastry chef and said she did great things (she did).
Anyway, after that I ended up taking my Dad there for some sort of special outing. I recall the room was fancy but not stodgy – you saw people in jeans (clean ones). I don’t recall what we ate except that my father got lavender ice cream for dessert. Ya see, lavender in a good form. I even recall it being a beautiful pale lavender colour.
I remember him having his first spoonful and stopping – just getting that faraway look in his eyes. You know the one, where you taste something so special speech is lost briefly and you need to focus all your attention on what you’ve got in your mouth.
He swallowed and then this huge smile: “You have to taste this”. Which I did. And fully appreciated the wonderfulness.
Interestingly, while this wasn’t a subtle flavour the impact of it was gone after that first spoonful. It still tasted really good, but that shock of tasting lavender had disappeared.
We would have had this lunch probably early 1990s. My father died nearly five years ago but this memory of time with him is still incredibly sharp.
So, are you a lavender perfume lover and if so which fragrances? And have you ever eaten something containing lavender (beyond shortbreads – lavender shortbreads seem to be a thing in this country)?