DE NATURA : Four organic perfumes from the collection of Frazer Parfums (2011)

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The work of Tammy Frazer, a South African perfumer who works exclusively with locally sourced, sustainable aromatic materials, is impressive. While the names of the perfumes in the nine ‘chapters’ of the collection, each based on a particular combination of natural ingredients discovered on her travels, might not evoke poetic insights (‘Coffee and Orange’: ‘Mint and Patchouli’ and so on), the lack of pretentiouness also makes a refreshing change in the concept-overheavy current climate. Besides, some of the scents themselves are really quite beautiful: strange, poignant and peculiar creations that work on you slowly and emotively with their gentle fusions of time and place. This is a stimulating, delicate poetry of captured plant essences that produces an olfactory timbre very different from that of mainstream of perfumery or even of niche, and while it might be considered unfashionable among scent cognoscenti of the Chandler Burr School Of Thought to express any preference for the natural over the synthetic,  I myself know intuitively, as I have stated elsewhere recently, that plants contain a ‘life force’ that is surely lost in any laboratory reconsitution of natural aromatics : my senses prickle to these scents. Somehow they evince a definite air of aliveness, an extra dimension that touches the emotions in unexpected ways, even where they occasionally lack the alchemic prowess and full range of expression available to perfumers using the full laboratory palette. 

 

If there is a problem with Frazer Parfums it is the price: raw ingredients of this quality don’t come cheap, and when the perfumes are then housed in hand-carved wooden boxes (Frazer supports the African Blackwood Conservation Project) some of the scents in the collection make a very extravagant purchase, particularly when they lack a decent duration on the skin (Ruby Grapefruit and Frankincense, which is lovely, but disappears far too quickly, doesn’t seem worth the price – about 300 pounds). Others in the collection do seem worth it to me, particularly Corsica Everlasting, which is one of the most distinctive, even provocative, scents I have smelled in a very long while.

 

CHAPTER 7 : ROSE AND TUBEROSE

 

Whether it was due to the voluptuous natural content or not I’m not sure (the lack of a chemically stamped fixative to keep all in place?), I had two entirely different experiences with this volatile blend of luscious flower essences.  The second was the morning after, over coffee, when I put some on my skin and enjoyed a pleasant, very Moroccan rose otto scent that smelled exactly as you would expect an ‘undulating absolute of tuberose and honeyed rose’ to smell, except that the tuberose had disappeared and it smelled just like a high quality natural perfume from Neal’s Yard. A very fine rose, but nothing more.

The night before was an entirely different affair. I was in bed, and fumbling sleepily out to the bag of samples on the dresser next to my bed I came across ‘Rose and Tuberose’. At this point I knew nothing about Frazer so really was testing blind, apart from my preconceptions that those flowers, despite their lexical similarities, are like chalk and cheese and couldn’t possibly work together as leading co-divas( I felt the same about rose and orange blossom in Les Parfums de Rosine’s Rosa Flamenca, which I didn’t really like). Yes: rose is so prim, or can be, and tuberose so thick, creamy and exotic that I couldn’t possibly imagine how they could be melded convincingly.

But then I tried it. And for a few, long seconds, had a pure, heady bout of synaesthesia.

Like a split screen by Brian De Palma, two perfectly equal blocks of hard, quivering jelly, sliced precisely in half (like the Siamese twins in his phantasmagorical ‘Sisters’), gelled together and rose up, giant, before my eyes; one red, one pink, more salivating than a Rothko. Doubles: the Turkish delight of the rose jam melting through the intoxicating flesh of the tuberose at the centre, vibrating out some kind of ecstacy that rolled through my synapses and down through my nervous system.  A hallucinatory diptych that had me reeling elatedly down the stairs for my notebook.

It was a serendipitous high that couldn’t last: the excited psychobabble of the natural molecules sliding behind the scenery has none of the predictable stability we can trust in from synthetics, and as events progressed in their own haphazard way I was soon merely left with a soft cherry rose that was nonetheless pleasingly baroque.

It was very mysterious. Two entirely different effects: two different scents.  I do not know what this means exactly, but clearly, the perfume has something going on inside it that is well worth exploring if you love florals: on me, on the first night at least, it was nothing short of a drug.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 8 : OAKMOSS AND VIOLET LEAF

And so to the lawns. Ordinarily I would run a mile from a perfume with this name. I have a good few chypres in my collection that I do treasure, but I am a touch bored with the whole Mitsouko/Pour Monsieur shebang, that smudgy, diffident chic. Violet leaf, which seems to appear in almost every men’s release, also usually leaves me cold with its bitter green snoot, its attempt to jazz up uninspired woody acrids such as Green Irish Tweed. However, there have been some scents that use oakmoss in a softer, more day-infused, indeed more mossy context, such as Penhaligon’s English Fern, which I always thought was rather lovely in that classic tweedy gentleman tradition: a scent that let some soul shine through as you lounged about with your lover and your picnic basket in some private forest clearing.

Chapter 8 in Frazer’s fragrant novel moves this story further, taking the idea of the fern, and of oak trees and the fuzzy light of Autumnal days and love, to other heights that I wasn’t expecting. It comes on sharp and very herbaceous, with lavender and possibly clary sage, a minty, leafy opening that verges on the precarious edge of unwearability but which soon reaches a deeply touching elegance: the beautiful, almost ghostly presence of a heart:  pure and good and palpitating.

The oakmoss itself avoids all the bergamot/patchouli/labdanum clichés and really comes into its own with the light-grey velvet, felty church-mouse texture of a well-worn jacket hanging on the back of a door. As it develops, the scent takes on softer, more yearning tones, with intimations of sea-weed and sage, a clay-like powdered quality, as though you were in a cabin by the sea, gazing out onto the waves deep in thought before turning back to look at the face of your still-sleeping lover. 

 

CHAPTER 2: YLANG AND NARCISSE

 

A very different perfume is Ylang and Narcisse, which was inspired by a trip by the perfumer to Madagascar, a place I am yearning to visit more than any other, as much for my desperate desire to see the vanilla pod harvest in the flesh, to watch ylang ylang extra being distilled live in the jungle, as to experience the curious blend of cultures and strange wildlife. Founded on a sandy, dry note of vetiver and salty katrafy wood, a material indigenous to South Africa, this is a captivating scent of measured abandon, a curious mélange that opens up as gradually as dawn.  Frazer tells us that ‘sensual tropical oily and light ylang paired with the dense wild crafted narcissus intensify the zest and spice’, yet the scent has none of the erotic clamour we would usually associate with these flowers. Ylang and Narcisse is rather an understated scent that takes time to reveal its depths, but when this happens it is fascinating. As with the aforementioned Rose and Tuberose, I was immediately visited with photographic renderings of images and sensations that flooded the brain, taking me away from my immediate surroundings to a plush, green landscape of petals and green mists.

Stepping on the spongiform grass as the steam rises beyond, a woman in a pressed, white cotton dress walks out onto a humid African morning. The air hovers with scent, the sweet lime and bitter orange zest, the oil of black pepper, mingling uneasily with the clandestinely feral flowers that have been cleverly filtered through with light, to a shimmering backdrop of trees…

Ylang Narcisse is a difficult perfume, to be sure, and one in which the elements never entirely coagulate to form something graspable. It is also, however, a perfume that truly breathes, and of the four I am describing here, is the one with the most tangible vitality.

 

CHAPTER 4: CORSICA EVERLASTING

 

The star of the collection for me, though, has to be Corsica Everlasting, a creation that blurs the lines between perfume, the culinary, and medicine so effectively that it comes on as something of a shock. ‘Curry!’ you think as the warming, rubefacient notes of cumin and thyme meet your nose, before the central note of immortelle – a honeyed, haylike, almost yeast-touched smell of big funky yellow, comes to the fore and stays until the seemingly neverending drydown.

Famed for its rejuvenating properties and ability to calm the distressed and the phobic, immortelle is an unusual choice for a key note, but Frazer’s instincts and feel for the potential of plant extracts play out beautifully here in a blend that really draws you in.

Is this perfume? It is. And not the first time that curry has been used in a scent. Diptyque’s L’Autre (1973) one of the most brilliantly weird and unconfomist scents ever created, was even more curried and cumined, with the frank caraway stench of hairy unwashed pits (though it seems, unfortunately,  to have been censored recently; ‘cleaned up’ for the new Diptyque reissues: it is now much less ‘hippie’).

Corsica Everlasting is less wilfully difficult: less concentrated on being an outsider, ‘the other’, which was obviously Diptyque’s intention. Rather, it has a confidence, an inner glow – this perfume contains the soul of something: a tawny, aromatic richness, the male kiss of blankets.

There is, however, an initially perturbing and bitter undertone that I find troubling, and on me, the perfume is unthinkable. As much as it intrigues me, the only spice I can carry off convincingly is clove, or the tiniest soupçon of cinnamon, and the bizarre smell of everlasting would never work on my skin. However, the perfume’s palpable solar energy hooked me so entirely that I asked Duncan to wear it last week on a day out in Yokohama, and it was beautiful. The scents that suit him best are offbeat, spiced aromatics such as L’Eau Du Navigateur, Parfums d’Empire’s Eau de Gloire (strangely enough, also Corisca-inspired, though in this case, an attempt to reconstruct the beloved colognes of Napoleon), and Czech & Speake’s glorious tobacco-tinged Cuba. And Corsica Everlasting seemed to fit in well with this genre of understated, herb-caressed heat.

Throughout the day, every time I came close to the aura of his skin mingled with the Corsica, I got an instant spike of warmth in the heart. While in some ways the scent seems almost overly simplistic in its  one-note barnyard sweater, it also has a three-dimensionality, a pastoral calm that made me think of big, drying, droopy holed seed heads in the late afternoon as the last rays of sun touch fronds of mountain grasses: that moment when a beautiful day has closed and the night is set to descend.

The strangeness and surprise of the scent never left though – that thin, fine line between fragrance and food that the perfume keeps treading, right up until the last, deep, note of smooth, lingering garam masala.

 

 

 

 

 

49 Comments

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49 responses to “DE NATURA : Four organic perfumes from the collection of Frazer Parfums (2011)

  1. This is all fascinating, as well as beautifully written. I share your feelings about the life-force in natural materials, and dabble quite a bit with essential oils and absolutes, but you identify the reason why there are no full bottles of naturals in my collection: the fun is over so quickly. On my scenteating skin and in our very dry climate here in New Mexico, I’m lucky to get an hour out of an all-natural perfume. Often they are gone without a trace in 40 minutes. This makes the considerable investment involved seem like a waste. Some of the resins last longer, but that leaves a pretty predictable and uninteresting scent. So the closest I come are the mostly-natural lines. Fortunately there are lots of those. Sonoma Scent Studio has a lot of lovelies with synthetics used sparingly when needed for effect and stability

    • Yes, Brie has sent me some of their samples and they are lovely. These are far more delicate and faint, actually, which makes the price tag even more problematic. And yet there is a shimmering of light to them that makes them different, special. You definitely feel something from them. And the Corsica as I said lasts all day and is strange, alluring, and oddly beautiful. I would gladly receive all the line as a present to be honest (in my dreams).

      • I’m afraid that I lack the sort of friends who give me entire perfume lines as gifts. And honestly, if I knew such people, probably wouldn’t like them. But there would be the perfumes….
        BTW, where do you stand on the Amouage line? Talk about perfumes that aren’t delicate and shimmering.

      • No, Brie doesn’t give me whole lines, just a few precious vials, and actually I love this whole exchanging thing with people I have never met before…

        Amouage: I am yet to be besotted, but can deeply see the appeal. I am not really into woody oudhy things especially, so that pretty much rules out the men’s range, though the ones I have smelled were top quality.

        Ready to be guided, though, if you rate them.

      • I have only smelled a few of the women’s Amouages, but I am betting that anyone who enjoyed SSS’s Rose Volupte would love Lyric Woman. It’s a big, deep red rose nested in incense. Are the Amouages available to you to smell somewhere there?

      • elf

        Interesting concept “and if I knew such people I probably would not like them….” I am inclined to believe from all the comments I have read between “ginzaintherain” and “brie” that he views her as more than just a perfume supplier and takes a less jaded outlook on their acquaintanceship….

      • Most definitely.

        Perhaps Ms Jasmine was thinking more along the lines of the PR type acquaintance who gushes and sends whole ‘press packs’ of the ‘latest sensational’ ‘fragrances’ and so on, and I probably wouldn’t like those kinds of people.

        Me and Brie, though, no : there was most definitely a connection from the start. I have had these, you know – in fact, a Facebook friend who I have never met, from Canada, is staying at our house. Based on instinct. If you don’t hear from me for a few days it will probably mean she has knifed me through the heart or something, but more than likely it will be because we are getting on like a house on fire and are painting the hydrangea town red.

      • Sorry Elf, not what I intended at all. I was thinking of someone I know who received an unbelievably lavish gift, and then found there was an equally staggering covert price tag attached. And there was certainly no reference in my mind to either Brie or Ginza. So my remark was ill-phrased and I both withdraw it and apologize for it. Exchange of samples is pure fun and spreads more pleasure around.

      • But actually I really like the spiky immediacy, and intimations of fractiousness here: of people just saying what they feel like at any particular moment. I am not going to police this site like some people do. Anything goes.

        But thanks for the clarification anyway.

  2. My, your writing is just gorgeous…

  3. Martha

    Thanks for this review if for no other reason than for introducing me to a new perfume line. Somehow I’ll manage to sniff something by Tammy Frazer one of these days. I do agree with you about naturals vs. synthetics. There is something so fresh, so newly made, or just more present in the perfumes that are mostly or completely botanical than the scent from even the finest synthetic fragrance. My comparison is an out-of-the-garden-in-your-back-yard tomato vs. the tomato that has been sitting in the bin for days on end at the supermarket. Sadly, like FeralJasmin, I have trouble with longevity, but not with ALL natural perfumes so more testing is required (damn!).

  4. I thought I’d commented on this one last year – is it reblogged?

    • ninakane1

      Oh no, I think I’m remembering another one. Well, this is beautiful as always. I love your description of Corsica Everlasting in particular. I’m intrigued by scents that have a culinary edge. Beautiful post x

      • Thanks, Nina, and it was this one, as you say, that I posted before, but no one seemed to have read it so I put it up again, having deleted the original by mistake (hence the loss of the pictures, though I quite like this stripped down version with just Duncan’s photo of some cumin seeds). To be honest, it is a bit too similar to the other aromatherapy post, on the petitgrain oil, and also the Stendhal Syndrome, in that I give the impression that I am always going around having semi-mystical experiences with scents, which is not the case. My synaesthesia with this though, like my eye-brimming episode with the Histoires De Parfums, are both completely real and exactly as I describe them. I think you have similar experiences, actually.

      • I am deeply intrigued by synaesthetic experiences with scent. My theory is that this sort of sensory crossover is like free-association, available to anyone who wants it and is able to relax their usual boundaries temporarily, but that it may come more easily with scent than with sight or sound, since olfactory information feeds directly into the limbic system and doesn’t undergo the cortical processing that makes it easier for us to squelch the associations. What do you think?

      • It sounds plausible to me, absolutely. The rose/ tuberose ‘vision’ thing I had was unbelievable, involuntary.

  5. Katherine

    Wow, I was not sure i was going to read this with my morning coffee as I was distracted and it perhaps doesn’t have the immediate hooks of some of your other posts – it proposes itself as a straight sort of review and is also quite long and well I hadn’t heard of the perfume maker (and also, as I’m not so knowledgable about scents perhaps I rely on cultural references as ways into these perfumes?) – but I was so soon rewarded, it took on such a genuine route of enquiry and has taken me somewhere both sobering and dreamy and riveting.

  6. Katherine

    I meant hooks for me personally, as I am a little ignorant sometimes, and my distraction nothing to do with anything other than the usual hectic daily choices/procrastinations. I always enjoy reading! I like how your writing takes on different moods and, with that forms, with this one I did not know what I was in for, the road was open, where as in other pieces the feeling is somewhat gloriously wrapped up in what I can only think of describing as some kind of symbolic kernel, but with a surface quality that is sort of everything at once, absence and presence. It’s a great way of getting to the heart of what you’re expressing, and it is very visual here, like De Palma and Argento. I especially like the way Argento cuts across the flesh and the brain, like he’s reaching out and everything comes crashing, space collapses, an eye in the back of his head, and this flourish based on fear is so beautiful. I find his work breathtaking and like a great release.

  7. Katherine

    Yes but at the same time it’s also a sober and restorative refuge, a breath of fresh air in the day, even if I live vicariously through others’ knowledge and experiences in the comments!

  8. Pingback: Nostalgia .. a photograph , a scent … | The Look of Love Photography

  9. Mary E.

    I recently purchased Chapter 2 ylang and narcissi as well as the newest Chapter 10 Namibia. Thank you for your lovely writing and for featuring Frazer Parfums.

  10. Lavishly beautiful writing. You make all these fragrances come alive, which is such a wonderful ability.
    I love the concept of natural scent, I just am not too sure about it in practice. Being French and adoring all the “classics”, I just seem to lose the trail of a scent when it is all natural; the enjoyment phases versus the worn off phase is poorly tipped. At the same time though, I am growing weary of all my vintage beauties, for which I feel eternally underdressed and terribly lacking in chic-ness. It becomes tedious at times when the fragrance is wearing me, as opposed to me wearing it. C’est la vie….
    You make these scents seem intriguing enough that if I found a stockist local, I would be tempted to try them. But the cost seems a bit of a detractor; you are correct about it being a wee steep for what one is purchasing, 300 pounds is quite a bit for a scent one is not desperately in love with.

  11. Veritas

    Agreed with all comments above about lack of longevity and exhorbitant prices of some of the naturals (even SSS Naturals cost considerably more and do not last as long as some of Laurie’s mixed media scents). My own personal solution is to purchase the essential oils and blend them myself…I carry a little vial with me at all times and re-apply every hour or two….I made this incredible smokey vanilla ( I really should call it “Neil’s Vanilla”) with a hefty dose of bergamot, lavender absolute (quite different from regular lavender essential oil), cocoa absolute, coffee oil, tuberose essential oil (versus the absolute which is much heavier and more cloying), violet leaf, styrax, double distilled vetiver (smoother than most vetivers due to the double distillation process), amber and loads of bourbon vanilla….it is like a smokey,sweet earl grey….just divine… and as the oils blend together over time it just keeps getting better and better….that is the beauty of e.o.s…they are contstantly evolving versus staying static as the mixed media scents do….I could definitely see you wearing it…..and Brie sends her best wishes and love to you…….

  12. ninakane1

    Was recalling this post strangely enough yesterday afternoon in particular the Corsica Everlasting part as was walking along and got an overpowering smell of the Dior Eau Noire I left with you, and that always recalls curry and roses to me. I’ve always liked this review – it’s one of my faves of yours. Been perfume-free since returning as have been working closely with my colleague at the gallery who is perfume-intolerant, but she is away today and so I’m daubed in the Snob Le Galion. Divine. Feels light and upbeat – been quite nonchalent and quietly kick-ass all day. Very uplifting.

    • You should have let me give you the extrait as well, although those parfums de toilette by Le Galion are just perfection as they are. Singing and clear but still with strength (I found both their Le Jasmin and Tubereuse at the flea market once and both were divine). Did you read my review of this? I might put it up again ( I think I am the only perfume blogger who treats his site like a jukebox. I like revisiting things sometimes in the way you feel like listening to a song).

      As for all the perfumes you left behind I feel guilty about it (surely you must be regretting the decision), even though I love the surge in the collection and will use them (except for the Absolue and Gingembre; I feel like I am care taking those for you or something – babysitting).

      Eau Noire, though – I have to say it- VILE. Stomach turning. For me, this isn’t curry, it is CELERY, and much as I adore fresh celery, the dried kind, or celeriac, that ‘celery soup’ type smell is my absolute nemesis in perfume. I did a review of a Comme Des Garcons Patchouli that features that note heavily, and the scent honestly almost led to chunder. For me the curry scents like Corsica Everlasting have a bone-dry quality and their aromaticness arises from that. My brief experience with Eau Noire was of wet, rich, damp celery and of god know’s what else. I will save that one for you. What on earth does it smell like when it dries down ?( I am too scared to find out).

      • ninakane1

        Haha Eau Noire IS vile. Don’t save it for me – I have two more samples, given surreptitiously to me by a young woman in Harrods who was trying to carry on a phone call without being noticed by a manager and wanted shot of me quickly! I must confess to being initially intrigued by it though, and it does remind me of curry in its opening notes – but that old-fashioned curry, popular in Britain in the 70s, when white hippies and adventurous housewives would chop a load of root vegetables, chuck them in a pan with tinned tomatoes and pour copious curry powder and raisins into the mix, leading to a thin brown, sweet gloop. Thinking about it, these probably had chopped celery in – I agree with you the smell and taste of cooked celery is disgusting. Yes, this is what Eau Noire is. I was wandering around Harrods sporting a heavy spritz of Pulp (Byredo), and drenched in a Roja cocktail having spent over an hour chattering with the smart, young Polish salesman about their various merits. I had spritzed every single one on the counter, bar some horrible oudhs, and was a bit drunk at the time having come across some free champagne somewhere ( where did I get this?… Oh, I was in London at a conference on Theatre and the Law at the French Institute in South Kensington…). I was drawn just to put some Eau Noire on top before leaving the store. I think the Pulp wanted a companion, and through the haze of Rojas, it actually smelled divine.

      • ninakane1

        Re the perfumes I left with you – don’t feel guilty! I wanted you to have them as a gift, and had already decided I was going to leave them with you when packing to come over (if you wanted them). Many of them are ones that I’ve had some kind of relationship with in the three years since I was last over and kind of represent an ‘era’. They’re ones I’ve mentioned here and there on the blog or on facebook conversations, or ones I’ve had long conversations with you in my head about! You’re always very present for me when I’m smelling perfumes, and I usually find myself silently chattering on to you when at a perfume counter. In some cases (like with the L’Heure Bleu I bought) there’s a nice synchronicity where you tune in – at other times, the perfumes just carry the conversation with them, and I intend to tell you when I see you /speak to you more. The perfumes I left though are all ones that I’ve moved on from – they’ve sort of had their day with me, I don’t feel compelled to wear them (or to do so would plunge me into a too-immediate nostalgia – at the moment I’m done with nostalgia!), and as I have no fellow perfume appreciators over here chez moi, the perfumes would just ossify, and sit maudlin and solitary in my perfume chest if I kept them as I wouldn’t wear them. I feel that with you they will have a new life – an adventure even – and will be appreciated and find new meaning for people who try them. Adding them to your collection is a bit like putting them into a rejuvenating sea – so many people encounter your gorgeous array, and are enriched by your knowledge of them, and you, I know will smell layers in them, make associations I can’t and mix them with new things! So! I’m glad you liked them. I’m enjoying the space in the perfume chest at home, also the three I took back with me from you, though as yet have only been wearing the Snob Le Galion. Tabu sits idly fiddling at the top of my bathroom shelves; I have this feeling she will be a demanding and impatient mistress – I’ll have to give her a whirl soon. As for the Gingembre and Absolue – it’s up to you. Do feel free to wear them. The Gingembre’s a staple for me – one I love and will always have a bottle on hand – and very much a Summer staple. I find it strangley thin and cold in Winter though it suits a particular sort of Winter day, when the sky is that piercing frosty blue, the sun is out, and you know the evening end will bring soft pinks and yellow, fading to turquoise with very bright thin stars…I still however want to warm that one for Winter and will experiment some more – perhaps Bay Laurel…and Gingembre mixed with Palais Jamais is beautiful. The Absolue – yes, I feel I can’t wear that at the moment – I tried it once more before I left and washed it off – it definitely needs to stay with you. I’m not sure why. I feel I’ve finished with it and somehow feel there might be a journey for you with it. It’s something to do with your Capricorn Moon, and your knee.. an instinct I have. There’s mountain thyme in it – it’s very intense and rigorous – and is a very driven scent in general supported by a thin vanilla amber that only comes out at the end. It’s an endurance scent; it gets you through the rocky passes and up the steep inclines, an can irritate the fuck out of you in its lemony aspects at times, but it is bearable and soft (the powdery white of the lemon rind inside the skin) and it leads to something sweeter. In fact, it demands you turn to something sweeter. I can only wear it for a few days and then I collapse into a completely different jasmine or rose scent. In the last 96 hours before submitting my PhD, I was awake, and only slept for two hours out of those 96. The Absolue was as essential as water and kept me going, but on the final morning, when I only had a little more to do and was due to hand it in, I felt the need to switch and wore Eau de Dolce Vita instead. It’sinteresting that your instinct is to save those two for me. At the moment I feel they’re very definitely yours and for you, but perhaps at some point I will need them from you at a future date – your intuition on these things is always sound, and you’re probably seeing something I’m not, so I’ll say thank you for care taking / babysitting them for me (but please do use them and regard them as yours). And thank you anyway x

  13. Also on the Snob front – was just reading that the word ‘snob’ first appeared in 1796 on the entrants registers for Cambridge colleges to signify those without aristocractic nobility (shoemakers and merchants) – ‘S.nob’ from the Latin ‘sine nobilitas’…so I guess that’s us (or our C18th lower order counterparts already marked as ‘other’ in the big halls). Funny how I was drawn to that one! A rediscovery of the joy of rose scents was one of the lovely outcomes of this latest trip to see you. Am loving the Le Galion.

  14. You need the Tea Rose as well by the way…..

    • I think I do. I was sitting in a cafe this morning and felt an overriding feeling of warmth and relief and it was exactly the same feeling I had when I wore the tea rose and nothing else on – was it the second day I was there? It was early on in the holiday. I also felt much more relaxed and gregarious at the party when you sprayed it everywhere.

      You do have Capricorn Moon. It’s worth looking into. Moon signs affect us as much as the Sun signs, sometimes more so as they reflect our emotional impulses and subconscious. The sun / moon combo gives us more understanding of ourselves and others.

      Astrology is powerful. It explains a lot.

  15. I’d never known about this perfumer, but these perfumes and their concepts sound amazing, so thank you for sharing. I have always been in touch with the life force and essence that plants contain, you quickly realise they as living things have their own spirit when you spend enough time in their presence, and often their raw fragrance is an expression of that spirit.

  16. Fanny Nydegger

    Hello , i live in switzerland et i’m sorry for my bad english ! i try to understand english with your beautiful reviews ! I would ask you if you’re agree to speak about the chapters 1 nutmeg and jasmine for me because i can smell with yours words 😉 … Thank you a lot , i dream to smell all the Tammy Frazen line, but i can’t find her perfumes in switzerland.

  17. Robin

    Hi, Neil. Love your comment vis-a-vis naturals: “Somehow they evince a definite air of aliveness, an extra dimension that touches the emotions in unexpected ways, even where they occasionally lack the alchemic prowess and full range of expression available to perfumers using the full laboratory palette.” That’s what’s so sad about many current releases: they are so synthetic-heavy, they smell inert or even dead to me

    And: “. . . I give the impression that I am always going around having semi-mystical experiences with scents, which is not the case.” Thank heavens. I was feeling rather bereft, comparatively. Nice, though, when they happen.

    Also love your comment: “But actually I really like the spiky immediacy, and intimations of fractiousness here: of people just saying what they feel like at any particular moment. I am not going to police this site like some people do. Anything goes.” This is such a lovely thing about you. And it is so true.

  18. Tara C

    I’ve had no luck at all with natural scents other than Hiram Green’s… they go poof and disappear in less than an hour. I love immortelle and enjoy it very much in Atélier Cologne’s Blanche Immortelle but cumin/curry is a big fat no. I can tolerate a tiny amount of cumin if it is very well blended (SL El Attarine for example) but otherwise it’s just a big smelly armpit.

    Clove is lovely however. I do like spices in general, aside from cumin.

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