It is an exciting spring for me for many different reasons! This morning I learned that my article Scent of Cities: Kiev has been recognized with a FiFi award for Editorial Excellence. It was a very personal article for me—I wrote it thinking about my childhood city, and as I prepare to return to Ukraine next week after 4 years of absence, this recognition holds a special significance for me. I also want to congratulate all perfume bloggers, because the Editorial Excellence in Blog category is an important gesture of appreciation on the part of The Fragrance Foundation for our work. It is wonderful to be a part of such a diverse and interesting group.
As I consider the season and the scents that make the spring of 2009 special, a few favorites stand out immediately. My list below (in alphabetical order) reflects my preferences this spring.
The elusive nature of fragrance lends itself to many associations—colors, tastes, shapes, movements. Which descriptive phrase is more appropriate depends on the fragrance itself. In case of Homage, I think of fabric—soft hand loomed silk (given its suave musky base) decorated with the gold thread (rose and jasmine.) Since it appears in every single one of my seasonal lists, I suppose that it is simply a favorite. That being said, it works wonderfully on these cold spring days.
In every Isabelle Doyen’s creation for Annick Goutal, I see an interesting contrast between modern tendency to minimalism and layered, multifaceted of classical perfumery. Matin d’Orage is not an exception—it weaves the white floral notes in an opulent tapestry, however instead of resulting in a heavy indolic bouquet, the composition is luminous and airy. I wore Matin d’Orage to celebrate Orthodox Easter, finding it an ideal fragrance for this uplifting and joyous holiday.
I am slowly coming to conclusion that whatever the rendition of Vent Vert I wear (vintage, Calice Becker’s reformulation, Nathalie Feisthauer’s rendition,) the fragrance has such a strong character that no change can take away from its exhilarating verdancy and confident presence. It is the scent of bitter greens of spring, of wet earth and of first days of sunshine.
Beige was not an instant love for me. Perhaps, I expected something different, I do not remember why it did not capture me the first time I tried it. I set it aside and forgot about it until one day I spilled the sample by accident and had no choice but to reconsider my initial opinion. Beige is a perfect name for this layered iris and gardenia composition. The ordinarily cool and earthy iris takes on an unexpectedly sensual warmth in this fragrance, while the white petals of gardenia, frangipani and jasmine provide an opulent accent.
As I commented to Denise of Grain de Musc recently, I would be perfected happy with the current version of Miss Dior if it were marketed as something other than Miss Dior. It simply lacks the strong green-leathery character of the original that was both shocking and appealing. Otherwise, it is an elegant green chypre with a delicately rendered green note. I have been wearing it throughout this spring and enjoying its vintage inflection and understated charm.
A quintessentially Jean-Claude Ellena wistful haiku describing what happens to vanilla when the creator begins to search for its orchid roots. Vanille Galante is a sweet, woody vanilla note reinvented through the petally dewiness of lilies. Absolutely fascinating scent that is worth trying simply to see vanilla in a different light.
When it comes to Joy, I alternate between the golden opulence of the parfum extrait and the sheer green jasmine of the EDT. If you enjoy the luminosity and indolic headiness of classical jasmine, Joy is unrivaled. On the technical level, it is not particularly impressive—it is a perfumery equivalent of a dish with huge quantities of foie gras and caviar (and how can it really be all that bad!) However, experience the beauty of Joy’s jasmine and rose, and you will understand why great quality natural ingredients are so crucial to the art of perfumery. For that reason alone it deserves its legendary status.
Fleur de Liane is reminiscent of green, sharper Chanel Cristalle, which for me is a good thing. Cristalle is a gorgeous chypre rendered with the classical Chanel elegance and subtlety. Fleur de Liane pushes it further, embracing the bitterness of its green notes. Anchored by the patchouli, woods and incense, this L’Artisan is a vibrant, exuberant composition. I also see it as an ideal scent for a hot summer day.
My Easter gift this year was a discovery of a beautiful pine forest right behind my house. It has small creeks in which turtles sun themselves, wildflower covered glades and deer hoof marked trails. For all of its abstraction, Bois de Violette is not far from painting a picture of this magical forest. Its radiant spicy violet is one moment away from turning into the dark, incense-inflected wood.
One of my most vivid olfactive memories of India was that of a small bouquet of champaca flowers left in the small shrine of my friend’s house. The apricot and jasmine fragrance was vivid and clear as first, but as the day grew and the sun weathered the petals, the aroma became fleshy, animalic and almost indecently sensual. The last few gasps that the flowers gave out were of dried peaches and leather. In a word, Tom Ford’s Champaca Absolute is not far from recreating this wilting champaca offering. Amazing!
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Photo of Nova Scotia beach in the spring © Bois de Jasmin.
Update: The draw is now closed. I assigned a number to every participant and used a random number generator to select one winning number. The winner is Agritty. Please send me your address.