Four Things Bee

(My self-seeded foxglove which the bees loved. I ended up taking it out
of the garden given it is poisonous to the dog. Sorry, bees.)

I don’t want to jinx things but we’ve actually got some good weather.

This coming Thursday starts the long Platinum Jubilee weekend here. Doesn’t mean much to me as 1) I’m a republican (small R) and 2) given a fair number of my clients are in Europe and could care less about the Queen of England, I’ll probably be working Thursday and Friday.

It’s also the half term school holidays so I imagine life will be very busy round here, meaning I’m better off at home, walking the dog in the village for a while (I finally decided there is room for and I need a small Philadelphus bush, and I’ve ordered that online rather than brave the trip to the plant nursery).

So, bees …

I actually love bees for all kinds of reasons, four of which I share below.

I have a wonderful, very close friend. I’ll call her ‘B’ but you get the idea – the shortened form of her name rhymes with bee. I met her years ago, when I’d first launched the perfume website. She was a first customer and also, in time, hosted fragrance parties at which I could show off my wares. We bonded over perfume, enjoyed sniffa outings, send samples back and forth (now that I no longer live in London). She is acerbic, spicy, sharp and sweet – all the best things about bees.

Bees themselves. I had noticed the summer before I moved out of my house for building work to be done that I seemed to have fewer bees in the garden. Worrying. As I’ve said, I love bees. I have learned to stay very still when they are moving around so I don’t disturb or irritate them, and I’ve reached a point where if they hover nearby or stop on me it’s fine. In any case, a year and a half since I moved back into the house, sorted out the garden after the builders trashed it, I have a huge number of bees this year. It is a wonder and wonderful to sit out in the sunshine and watch them go about their work. I am so pleased they’ve decided to return to my garden.

Honey. When I moved to this area it was semi-rural. Working farms, getting stuck behind tractors on the roads, fields full of anything from rapeseed to corn. It’s more suburbia now, but a fair number of people keep bees in their gardens and then offer the honey for sale. They post notices about the structure of the honey – wildflower, lavender, whathaveyou. In any case, I don’t buy honey in the off season (unless I need it for cooking) – I wait for the recycled jars to pop up in front of a house, check out the sign, and then buy. The stuff is a world away from what you get in a supermarket.

Finally, Hiram Green Slowdive.

(The big bottle is actually Dilettante, the small Slowdive. I just wanted to
included the great HG bottles along with the smaller one.)

I first wrote about Slowdive in 2020. To quote myself (hah), “a honey fragrance that actually smells like the raw artisan honey you get from people who keep their own bees – syrupy sweet but with a funky, pongy animal base”. I lurve Slowdive. Like seriously. Per the Hiram Green site:

Slowdive is a warm tobacco-themed fragrance that captures the mood of those languid afternoons when the sweetness of the Indian summer air is almost palpable. The heady scent of summer flowers and the humming of bees surround you as you flee the high summer sun.

Neroli, orange flower, tobacco flower, honey and beeswax. Unctuous – just the right side of heavy; floral, but not cute; a bit of weird from the beeswax and honey – but none of that urinous ech which I get with something like the Serge Lutens honey scent (can’t recall the name right now – probably forgotten it on purpose). Truly sublime.

So, there is it, my list of wonderful bee things. Would any of these be on your list? Other things? I’m off to sit in the sun again and appreciate the bees.

  • Musette says:

    I love all bees and have been chastised by my non-apiarist friends for ‘flirting’ with them (I tend to stroke their little bottoms, which they seem to like). I kept bees for awhile but the hive was too near my neighbors so when they swarmed I didn’t replace them. I may (probably not) replace them if I move the hives across the garden. Probably not, though. It’s a bit of work, keeping the little beegers.

    I don’t think I know Slow Dive and I intend to remedy that with a quickness! I love the original Miele body lotion, which was very honey-forward. Also Miel de Bois but as Tom and everyone else on here has noted, it requires a very deft hand.


    • cinnamon says:

      Oooh, flirting with bees 🙂 Slowdive is wonderful and Hiram Green is one of those intelligent houses that offers small sizes of things.

  • Tom says:

    I love bees in the abstract. I am allergic to stings (not deadly, but) so I tend to like them, say, over THERE.

    I remember the hone laden Botrytus (SP?) by Ginestet (SP?) that I ran through and then didn’t replace. I still have Miel de Bois and adore it- but it does have a sting (or stink) to it: one spritz too many and you’ve gone from delicious honey with that taste of back-of-the-throat scratchiness to total cat pee.

    I’ve never tried the Hiram Green, and I think I have to..

    • cinnamon says:

      Botrytis! I stocked the Ginestet fragrances when I had the online shop. Botrytis was the best one, IMHO. Looks like you can still get them in various places. Hiram Green is definitely worth investigating.

  • Dina C. says:

    Your garden is so pretty Cinnamon. I like bees and appreciate their work as pollinators. Honey: not so much. Just don’t like the smell or the flavor. Maybe I haven’t tried the right kind yet.

    • cinnamon says:

      Thank you regarding garden. Alas, the Columbine are now past their peak and things look a bit more ragged.

  • March says:

    Miel de Bois, baby! I love it, and I understand why a lot of people don’t. I love Slow Dive as well, although I have a decant and not a full bottle. Huge fan of bees; when we had our cottage-garden-gone-wild for a few years in suburban Washington, there were tons of bees. I’d rather not have, you know, a whole swarm in the house, but I’m a big bee fan. And local honey is the best. thing. ever.

    • cinnamon says:

      Yeah, that — and I recall you saying in the past that you liked it. I remember being really excited when it came out and it just being a big, huge, no on me.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I still have a cellophaned export spray bottle of Miel De Bois by Serge Lutens. I sold the other one and am too precious about the remaining one to open it. Yes, I’m bonkers.
    We have a very long and thick hedge of hawthorn in the cemetery across the road which should be in flower right now but the bloody council guys came and pruned it back about a month ago. GRRR! Some years we have been able to hear the bees as we leave our apartment block, not this year.
    We also have a couple of apiarist friends and we get our honey from them. SO different to the bought stuff from shops.
    Yes, I love SlowDive and have a bottle but it rarely gets wear. Thanks for the reminder
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      How long have you had the bottle? I wonder what the juice smells like now. I understand the council clearing the nettles but they do leave the blackberry vines which the bees love.

  • Tara C says:

    I love Slowdive too, it’s my favorite honey scent ever. As for real live bees, I plant lavender which they love. Even on my tiny balcony in downtown Montréal the bees would find my planter boxes full of lavender. I’d sit out and drink my morning tea and watch them bussing around happily.

    • cinnamon says:

      The bees are loving the Columbine this year and they really enjoyed the foxglove while I still had it. I’ve got lavender too and the roses are coming out. Plus there’s a new honeysuckle which resurrected itself after the builders wrecked things.

  • AnnieA says:

    I have a travel spray of Slowdive and it will probably last for another four years. It is wonderful but so strong more than one spritz is Too Much.

    • cinnamon says:

      It is very strong. But I guess because my body temp is on the low side that evens things out.