Lists: 103 posts

Spring Fragrances with Green and Floral Notes

I’m in the mood for spring, although the weather doesn’t yet cooperate. No matter, the beauty of perfume is that it can transport us out of our routine and into the place of our daydreams and fantasies. Mine today is to take a picnic basket into a blooming cherry garden and to drink tea while watching the pink petals swirl around me. So, the topic of my new video is fragrances that evoke spring for me.

The selection I made doesn’t simply include perfumes that I enjoy all year around, but also fragrances that fit the spring mood during the season. Of course, everyone has their own idea of what spring smells like, but having grown up in a temperate climate where the difference among seasons was pronounced, I associate spring with exhilaration, verdancy and soft floral hues.

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Seasonal Flowers : Mimosa

My new video is about one of my favorite flowers, mimosa. First, I will clarify what flower I am talking about, since the whole topic of mimosa can make a botanist despair. The mimosa used in perfumery is either Acacia decurrens var. dealbata (called simply mimosa in the perfumery trade) or Acacia farnesiana (called cassie). The former is the pompom like yellow mimosa that I am holding in the video, the latter has a less dramatic appearance but is equally fragrant. The essences don’t have similar scents, but they are used for similar floral-violet, green and powdery effects in perfumes. Most of the mimosa absolute comes from South India and France.

Mimosa or cassie, the fragrance is beautiful–radiant, bright, with an addictive honeyed almond facet. A green leafy and cucumber peel accent lends an interesting twist, which is why mimosa and cassie fit so well in violet, green, fruity and spicy compositions.

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Your Personal Museum of Scents

Last year, I received an email from one of my readers asking me an interesting question–if I could create my personal museum of scents, what would it include? She mentioned a NYT column by Tejal Rao, a restaurant critic in Los Angeles, in which she described smells that were meaningful to her. I immediately thought that Bois de Jasmin in its entirety was indeed my personal smell museum. If I were to limit it to certain themes, then I would mentioned two articles that I have already written, Scent of Kyiv, about the city where I was born, and Where Jasmine Forest Blooms, which describes my grandmother’s garden in Poltava, a place that inspired this page.

Yet, as I reflected further, especially on the last decade of my life, I realized that my personal scent museum at this point encompasses much more than I have previously noted. So, I decided to put down a list of scents that move me, evoke memories or inspire me.

Libraries

“Paradise is a library, not a garden,” Jorge Luis Borges said. Or could it be both? Either way, the scent of books and the scent of libraries is one of the most essential and evocative smells for me.

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Reflections on 2020

I don’t like the phrase “new normal,” especially since there is nothing normal about the situation that 2020 forced us to accept–staying away from others, fearing human touch, human presence, human breath. 2020 was not normal, and my way of coping had its ups and downs.  Not being able to see my family for almost a year was the hardest part. Nevertheless, there were some bright moments this year, and in this post, I wanted to highlight them.

You

One of the best parts of this year was the Bois de Jasmin community. Your comments, enthusiasm, and support have boosted my mood on more occasions than I can mention. Your support ensured that even on the most difficult weeks I looked forward to sitting down and writing, that even on the most difficult days I still discovered something interesting to share with you. I’ve been writing Bois de Jasmin for almost 16 years, and I already knew how generous and kind this community was. 2020 once again proved it.

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The Nutcracker and Its Perfumes

“The Sugar Plum Fairy bade Marie and Nutcracker sit down while a feast was brought before them: teas, cakes and the rarest of fruits … Marie hardly had time to nibble at her sweetmeats before the next diversion was presented: the music abruptly changed to an adagio tempo. Arabian dancers dressed in gauzy veils garnished with gold medallions and jewels swayed hypnotically past… The rich aroma of coffee drifted past.”  –from E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

As a former ballet dancer, I can’t think of winter without associating it with Hoffman’s tale and Tchaikovsky music–even the countless Nutcracker performances and rehearsals haven’t robbed the story of its magic. December for me has a strong whiff of rosin on ballet slippers, but it is also a month of fairy kingdoms, groves made of candied fruit and coffee scented dancers.

My pointe shoes are rarely in service these days, but my Nutcracker fantasies find their expression in perfume. It allows me to become the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Arabian Dancer, Prince Coqueluche or any other character I wish. No wonder that the great American choreographer George Balanchine picked fragrances for his favorite dancers and encouraged them to wear perfume to class.

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