One of my most self-indulgent fantasies, when the neuroses get too much and life overwhelms, is willing incarceration in a white, Thomas Mann sanatorium. Nurses. Steamed sheets. The mountains beyond. Nothing to do but walk in the Alpine resuscitating air.
On first experiencing Le Labo’s unusual take on neroli, I was transported to such a place. The megadose of calone that impregnates the blend of neroli, mandarin, tonka and musk turns this nominally floral creation into a soap chamber of hygiene: of fresh, dreamy air; clinicians, and white, billowing clouds beyond the skylight.
After acquiring a bottle of the substance, however, and on repeated wearing – on a shirt cuff here; on a collar there – another, more sinister chamber came to mind: the incarceration of former Nazi actress Veronika Voss in the eponymous film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Trapped; drugged up to the hilt in rooms of blinding white. And no escape.
In concentration (can fresh air be this insistent, this….deathly?) Neroli 36 has this effect: I am suffocating.