Monthly Archives: November 2016

ON THE ART OF JAPANESE INCENSE, AND ZEN BY SHISEIDO (2001)

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In ‘Japanese Cultural Code Words: 233 Key Terms That Explain the Attitudes and Behaviour of the Japanese’, author Boye Lafayette de Mente talks of the ‘grave beauty’ of Japan and its …

Source: ON THE ART OF JAPANESE INCENSE, AND ZEN BY SHISEIDO (2001)

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THE END OF THE EXPERIMENT

 

 

 

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In my piece from a year ago, The Rosy Scent Trail of Ms. Pusey, I extolled the virtues and mental clarity of not having a mobile phone. That hiatus has lasted from June 2015 until now, almost a year and a half, and I have loved it. The peace of it. All the books I have read. The non-addictiveness; the sense of being detached.

 

 

But for one reason and another, I have had to capitulate. It was essentially kind of forced on me.Being uncontactable is essentially  selfish, I suppose, and no longer tenable (and in the majority of people’s eyes, seriously weird. We don’t have a working house phone either……………..)

 

 

So, anyway, I am now the ‘proud’ (and already addicted, and more insomniac, seriously, even after just five days) owner of an iPhone 7. I feel more twitchy, and compulsive, and itching to always check. The ergonomic intimate pleasure, and the smoothness.The plugged-inness. The gleaming, irresistible lure of the brainwashed  consumerist Matrix.

 

 

And it has definitely disturbed my inner composure (not that there was much of that going on this crazy, mangled fascist of a year in any case), but at the same time, I can’t deny for a moment that I am enjoying, now that the cold has set in and the end of term and its inevitable alienations and exhaustions begun, the immediate contact with my Loved One. The instant messages that flash up on the screen; the cozy feeling of having him tucked away hidden in my pocket.

 

 

And  I feel visually really excited, and turned on: that side of me, I realize now, was muted and turned out, me always grabbing Duncan’s phone when I wanted to take something: but now I can just take my own. Random pictures. Just for the hell of it. Just to mutate the boring day into something more curious.

 

 

 

So here are some snaps from my environs taken over the last few days. In the miserable sleety snow of yesterday, when things happened that put me in one of the foulest possible moods of my entire life. The lurches of today. And the marvellous banality of the everyday, and how you can twist it, and edit it, as your eye, and your brain, see fit.

 

 

 

 

 

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BARKING AT THE MOON : : : CREPE DE CHINE by MILLOT (1925)

           March 2007, Kamakura. I had been invited to tea with one Ms Ichihara and her sister: two refined old ladies who have been living in the same elegant old wooden house, near the famous Ken…

Source: BARKING AT THE MOON : : : CREPE DE CHINE by MILLOT (1925)

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O sweet fig : FLAGRANT DELICE by TERRY DE GUNZBURG (2012) (+ miniature figathon for Nina: L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier; Diptyque Philosokos; Miller Harris Figue Amere; Angela Flanders Figue Noire; Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree; Carthusia Io Capri )

A selection of fig scents: : : :  O sweet fig : FLAGRANT DELICE by TERRY DE GUNZBURG (2012) (+ miniature figathon for Nina: L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier; Diptyque Philosokos; Miller Harris Figue Amere; Angela Flanders Figue Noire; Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree; Carthusia Io Capri )

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DUMBO DUMBO : L’ELEPHANT by KENZO (1996)

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

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THE FOREST

 

Forests, as David Lynch once said, are full of mystery.  They never fully reveal their depths. And some perfumes…..

 

Source: THE FOREST

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NUIT ETOILEE by ANNICK GOUTAL (2012)

 

 

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Guest post by Robin

 

 

 

I’d written off Annick Goutal’s Nuit Étoilée about thirty seconds after I tipped a few drops of the 1ml sample onto my wrist, let it dry, and sniffed it. Quickly. Dismissively. Happily.

 

I’ve been trying to do that lately. I have too many perfumes. I’ve already spent too much. I will die with probably two or three hundred bottles, good ones, expensive ones, that are all still mostly full. (I have already written the note. It is in a drawer. When I die, please give my perfumes to my niece Nadia . . . Otherwise, I haven’t even thought of writing a will.) I can’t bear the thought of whoever empties my house of worldly possessions throwing out those venerable old beauties. I do not need another love, another Must Have. If anything, I should start saving my twenties for a bottle of Superstitious, the new Dominique Ropion creation from Malle slated to be released early next year. I’m pretty sure I’m going to want that one. But I do get curious, and I do receive samples. And if it’s not love at first sniff, out it goes.

 

So it was with considerable relief that I gave Nuit Etoilée the quick thumbs down. It wasn’t much of a stretch. A toothpaste-y mint note up front, a discordant immortelle behind it, some weird tonka-bean-like sweetness and a murky forest-floor/pine-fresh-cleaning-solvent undercurrent that instantly made me queasy. I wasn’t looking for ways to adore it, but Annick Goutal had made it easy to dump the rest of the vial on my neck (I’m Irish; I don’t like waste) and toss the glass into the recycling.

 

So off I went to my dear Ric’s for a morning coffee. He’s used to me by now. I grab the steaming cup from his hand, offer up my neck. “What do you think of THIS stuff?” It’s a routine he’s endured every day since we fell in love, two and a half years ago now, with responses that are predictably and endearingly short and sweet; Ric was quite happy with the scent of soap and water before he met me, and he’d be fine with soap and water now. There are four standard verdicts ranging from a tepid yea to an adamant nay: “That’s quite nice”; “It’ll work”; “Room for improvement”; and “NO,” with a snap back of the head. (To his credit – Ric really does have an excellent nose, although he’d deny it – the latter is saved for the vilest mainstream dreck loaded with ethyl maltol and throat-closing white patchoulis. He is surprisingly tolerant of aldehydes, nitro-musks, civet and castoreum.) Of all the fragrances I’ve thrust under his semi-willing nose, he’s liked maybe a handful. Most have been Guerlains, frequently from the Jean-Paul era: Champs-Elysées (actually Olivier Cresp’s), Jardins de Bagatelle, et al. Good taste, he has. This particular “What do you think of THIS stuff?” was said with a hint of I know already you’re not going to like it, but please humour me anyway, my long-suffering Love.

“Mmm,” exhaled that dear man. “That’s actually really nice.”

Reader, I bought a bottle.

Ric is a man of few words, and though I pressed him, he wasn’t willing to provide a flowery review. He liked it, he liked it a great deal in fact, and that was that. When my bottle of Nuit Etoilée arrived in the mail last week – the eau de toilette, by the way; I hear the eau de parfum is a little less green, a little more ambery – I was able to give it a second chance. I see what he sees in it. It has that same breezy, Jean-Paul Guerlain femininity. It’s fresh. It’s . . . pretty. There’s a fair bit going on. There’s a sharp orange note that works well against the oily greens. I wore it, and it lasted nicely. Projection was above average. I still could, if I tried, find that same initial reaction to it; the toothpaste-y mint was there, and the pine-scented cleaning solution, and the immortelle in all its odd-ball glory and the clunky tonka. But you know, it didn’t really matter. And it doesn’t matter. Ric likes it, and I love Ric. He is amazingly tolerant of all the perfumes I foist on him that make his nostril hairs burn and his stomach clench. It feels good to set aside my own prejudices and predilections and opinions – God knows I have enough for a dozen strong-willed women – and bring a sweet man a little happiness and pleasure. And sometimes, a fragrance doesn’t get any better than that.

 

 

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Filed under Coniferous, Mint, Woods