Monthly Archives: December 2014

THE BEAUTEOUS SMELL OF THE FLOWER CHILD

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Although the precipitous drop in temperature from Florida to Louisana felt quite shocking, even when cold the city of New Orleans is sultry.

We arrived last night, in the cool, pouring rain at our hotel in the heart of the French Quarter, and found ourselves then sitting in the bar at Galatoire’s, a 1905 bar and restaurant with an immediately appealing and elegant atmosphere and ordered some delectable creole food and drinks (oh my god the crab cakes!)

The drinks, though: I had the Galatoire Bourbon Speciality, the parents gin and tonics, but Duncan, the most beautifully scented cocktail I have ever smelled.

The Flower Child:  Absolut Pear Vodka, Pearl Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, lemon, lime, and a big sprig of fresh, invigorating rosemary.

It smelled like a mountain stream. Something glacial, virginal, extraordinarily scented, the most perfectly scented soap or hair product I can imagine  (or better, a thick, bain moussant: a cold, flower-strewn gel to perfume your bath water and slide into a nacreous, aqueous netherworld of oblivion). The pear and the cucumber married with each other in unison, cancelling out any sharp or unusual edges; the rosemary was like the Grecian oar that let the essences of lime and lemon swim dreamily, and coolly, between them.

Divine!

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DJEDI ON THE BEACH: : GUERLAIN’S MYTHICAL, MUTABLE VETIVER, DJEDI (1927)

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Duncan and family on the beach on Christmas Day

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Duncan and little Ruby:

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Edward’s beautiful shell shrine:

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I must admit to being disappointed upon first smelling Djedi. If there was any scent that I was intensely curious to smell, it was this: Guerlain’s mystical, almost mythical, long-gone vetiver from 1927 that was said to be one of the strangest, driest and earthiest perfumes ever made – a pungent, leathery, and boscous forest of vetiver, rose, civet, musk and patchouli that dragged you down into gloom, dessication, and the entombed ambience of a twilighted, Egyptian mummy.

From a brief and excited sniff of the sample vial, I knew immediately that this could not be the much fêted and unobtainable vintage, as it smells so niche and contemporary: a taut and light animalic vetiver that in its initial stages reminded me for a moment of a chest-bulging eighties masculine ( beautifully impossible to imagine that this could have been created for women in the 1920’s), the civet and leather rising to the surface and almost drowning out the green and woodier notes with something verging on disturbing but never overstepping the boundaries. It was nice, but not mind-boggling.

*

On the island of Anna Marie, near Sarasota in Florida, where we have just spent Christmas and the following days with Duncan’s family, his parents, brother, his wife and their kids, the dry white sands of the beach, the grass, and the brooding sky and its lung-freshing smell seemed like an ideal place to try out Djedi in the flesh, its forest doom not withstanding, as on Christmas day it was curiously cold and windy and a strange phenomenon had just occurred: as far as the eye could see on Christmas morning, fish had been strewn on the sands, stranded, perhaps washed onto the shore in a freak wave, a perturbing sight, but given the Christian symbolism and Djedi’s themes of immortality, almost beautiful

Duncan wore Djedi. On him it smelled very masculine, sweet, sexed, almost too much so – although some of the perfumes characteristics appealed to him, ultimately he said that there was something too sour in there, bitter and dry (the very qualities I had been hoping for), but to me in honesty those aspects were almost imperceptible. To me it smelled quite nice in the salty, beachy air as the waves crashed on the shore, corporal, commanding, but admittedly a little faint: for a parfum it was a little on the pale side, fading quite quickly on his skin as we headed back to the house for Christmas dinner and a very fun afternoon of eating, drinking, and dancing.

On me, though: Duncan may still not like it but over the last few days I have come to find this scent quite compelling and would love (in my dreams) to somehow find a bottle. As I write this, I am trying to overcome my fury at having lost a rather long and epic piece I had been writing on Miami, our experiences there and on the way to America, but which at the touch of the wrong button, somehow, has been deleted as I sit here in Tampa airport with D and his parents on our way to New Orleans.

I have immediately embarked on this brief review instead to quell my burning irritation ( I can’t rewrite things from scratch: they either exist as they are or not at all). Better if I just do another one instead: writing as therapy.  I am again wearing Djedi, as I sit here, and three hours in, the vetiver note is really quite sublime on me, sufficiently rooty and dark, yet also with those mineralic, citric facets I love in a good vetiver (but with none of the scratchy artificiality of many niche vetivers). It is a scent that is drawing me in, hooking me. I am beginning to understand its reputation. The remaining drops are precious.

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NOT QUITE AS FOUL AS I WAS EXPECTING : ‘KNOT ‘ by BOTTEGA VENETA (2014 )

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Having just literally tussled with the Chanel sales runt at Duty Free ( she inSISTED on spraying the perfume on the paper card , I REALLY insisted on spraying it myself), as we contorted into a grotesque shape and my strength got the upper hand …. ( HA ! )

I proceeded to search through the miserable selection of scintillating Xmas offerings in search of something new ( I was hoping to smell the new Hermes Rose Amazone and report about it back to you, but they hadn’t even heard of it, the tight, right, Hermes bitches also, as per usual, viewing the act of perfume spraying autonomy with disdain). I came, nevertheless, across, in my zoned out zombie-ing, the quite astoundingly and moronically titled ‘Knot’ .. ( what?!! ) by ‘Bottega Veneta ‘ . ‘Whatever’, I thought, in an American accent, and proceeded towards the standard grab and sniff.

Immediate impression: quite pleasant, feminine and sexy sheer and shimmering orange blossom in the current, off the shoulder style,
cleverly placed between laundry musk, eviscerated cedar wood chemicals and a grassy green and nose brazzling artificiality that, though harsh and really quite offensive up close, works well when you smell it from the bottle, in that put together, hair tossing-at-hotel-reception kind of way.

Rubbish though, ultimately.

Obviously.

The departure lounge is packed.

I have heard terrible things about American Airlines.

Can all of us be really getting on that plane?

Speak to you all soon from Miami.

X

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CAN ONE TRANSFER A MEMORY? ARMANI EAU POUR HOMME (1984)

I’ve been thinking about it long and hard but for some reason this is the only full bottle I am taking with me to Florida. The citric crispness feels right.

The Black Narcissus

 

 

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Armani Eau Pour Homme was my first perfume major perfume love. Though Xeryus by Givenchy takes the honour as the very first scent I ever saved up for and bought by myself, it was only the top notes that I loved in that grey, onyx masculine (and the fact that it got me such attention….I can still see the girls at school stopping in the corridors at fifteen and nuzzling up to my neck……what power is this thought I…...)

 

 

The taut and scintillating top accord in Xeryus of grapefruit, artemisa and cypress that had so captivated me soon warmed and wavered, however, into a soapy, and too manly, fougère that despite what the young ladies might have thought, just wasn’t entirely what the doctor ordered. I never felt entirely comfortable in its embrace despite the pleasure that certain aspects…

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CHRISTMAS AT THE INCENSE SHOP

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DUMBO DUMBO : L’ELEPHANT by KENZO (1996)

DUMBO DUMBO : L’ELEPHANT by KENZO (1996).

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