I am increasingly questioning my subjective perceptions when it comes to perfume, realizing more and more that scent truly does smell quite different on different people and that when testing out new fragrances I need a model.




It is also always fun to give perfume to people as presents, so I took some samples along with me to the film shoot on Saturday, an absolute riot of a day that ended with a mayhem in a bar scene in Fujisawa via a quite outrageous one filmed in the woods somewhere outside Totsuka, but began with a serene and exquisite scene at a tea house in Kamakura ( pictured ), titled The Way Of Tears, a lesson in which the abducted students at the Academy are taught the correct way to cry – with homework – as part of their ‘sensitivity training’.





Michael, pictured left, has what I call a really good ‘canvas’: his skin brings out perfumes in a very clean and huggable way; we had a flea market sale a few months ago to raise money for Spoiled Identity, featuring clothes and bric a brac and a slew of perfumes I didn’t need anymore, and he decided to pick up some vintage Chanel Egoiste (1990), a sweet cinnamon spiced sandalwood that always smelled vile, even nauseating, on me but which on him was stunning : an entirely different skin interpretation with a warm, gentle aura I would never have recognized as being the same perfume.
















Liquid Illusion is a another sweet perfume I somehow thought he would be able to pull off. Although I briefly considered keeping the small bottle for myself ( with almondy heliotrope over a dry, rooty iris note, what could possibly go wrong?), but there is something about the insistence of the dry amber, irone, iracine and obstinate tonka bean in the base note that I knew would just gradually grate on me : he loved it unhesitatingly straight away, though – a perfume you would  ‘inhale greedily in an elevator’.






Rumi, the kimono clad sensei in the centre of the shot, whose tears flowed almost too freely for the scene (I think she is actually something of a grande actrice but just hasn’t realized that about herself yet), had not eaten breakfast that morning, neither before nor after going to the specialist shop to have her dress fitting in Kamakura, in order to be able to carry off the strictures of her many layered kimono and feel right for the part. She felt faint ( and looked very pale ) when we all met at Kamakura station, just managing a small energy drink through a straw, and emitting a faint scent of incense powder that was beguiling and befitting her generally mysterious atmosphere. A perfume lover, embroidery teacher and couture maker, she told me that recently, rather than her usual French classics – she loves Ricci Farouche in particular – she has taken to wearing traditional Japanese incense in special powdered forms, as skin scent; and invited me to come round one day this month or the next to sample them myself – an invitation I am definitely going to take her up on. It sounds like the way to also perfume myself, come my month-long planned hibernation this December.






I proffered Gold Leaf to her, a new, very gilded, rich, mellow fruit of an autumnal ambered chypre to her that is beautifully blended, enigmatic and sure to be very popular addition to the Dawn Spencer Hurwitz  line of perfumes that covers the full spectrum of the fragranced alphabet; although I personally don’t enjoy East Indian or Australian sandalwood notes on my own skin, so would not be able to pull this one off myself,  I agree fully with Tora who sent me the sample that this perfume somehow takes her to the edges of a memory she can’t quite place; locating you in a ‘nostalgia of the present’.






The teashop, down a side street in Kamakura with a traditional room at the back, was a tranquil little place, selling glassware, wooden furniture, and all kinds of tea related paraphernalia; there were even gold-leaf covered chocolate ganaches placed on ceramic trays in the entrance which I thought was an odd coincidence. Rumi had found Gold Leaf a tad too sweet given her current more austere predilections, but after we had finished the scene – which, despite the dark sardonic comedy of D’s script – with the students learning various techniques of crying, from the one single tear rolling down the cheek of each attendee, to full wailing, but which despite the hilarity of those filming and watching left all the actors looking curiously, genuinely desolate by the end, I offered the sample of Gold Leaf instead to Michael. On him it smelled very complex, burnished, a little too ‘mature’, perhaps, I thought at first, but he was immediately intrigued by its obvious elegance, and the concept that perfumes really do differ tremendously depending on the individual ( an idea that he said he had never really  considered before). As the day of filming continued in different locations, the scent began to feel more at home on him, perhaps more pleasing, ultimately,  than the less emotional Liquid Illusion, whose name I hadn’t initially realized the complete aptness of until immersed, Saturday morning, in D’s strange, captivating, and poetic, vale of tears.
























Filed under Flowers, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE, Psychodrama, Voyeur

12 responses to “LIQUID ILLUSION by JULIETTE HAS A GUN (2018) + GOLD LEAF by DSH PERFUMES (2019)

  1. What examples do you have of perfumes smelling so utterly WRONG on some people and so RIGHT on others?

  2. Robin

    When I spelled off the owner of a niche perfume house in Vancouver over holiday breaks, I would constantly be amazed by how different nearly every fragrance smelled, depending on the wrist that wore it. A couple come to mind. Montale Dark Purple smelled vile on my own skin, sickly sweet and over-ripe and sour and screetchingly synthetic all at the same time. On a customer’s skin — she liked the name — it was gorgeous: warm, fruited, like a modern Quadrille. Another time, a woman, probably in her seventies, plainly dressed, chic, short grey hair, quite fabulous tortoiseshell glasses, wanted something to wear out in the evening. I was thinking an Amouage of some kind. Bingo. Memoir Woman had just come out in its sleek black bottle, and it was perfect. On her it seemed almost austere: dry, spicy, woody, cerebral, nuanced, utterly elegant. The next day, on another customer, the Memoir smelled like a hot mess of rotten wormwood, wet dog and clove cigarettes. One of Ric’s friends makes any modern fragrance smell like an ambroxan bomb. Ric’s skin turns most half-decent fragrances into a walk in the country, full of fougere-y freshness no matter what the genre. So there you go.

    Very interesting post, by the way. And what’s this about a “month-long planned hibernation this December”???!! Describe, please. Sounds vaguely sinister.

    • As I am sure a lot of my posts do to many people! No – I just really want to do NOTHING over Christmas and New Year, and I happen to have a month off this time so am going to RETREAT.

      I love these descriptions of perfumes on different people (I had almost forgotten about Quadrille – I have a bottle somewhere….a peculiar perfume that one…) : this is exactly how it is.

      I meant to comment the other day when you said about Ric wearing Fougere Illuminee – for some reason that struck me as something very beautiful, even though I am yet to smell that scent. Really, I think I should have probably given the Gold Leaf to the perfect recipient, as it is really quite nice, but even imperfectly suited perfumes can have their own appeal. Like me in Mitsouko or Parure – not quite right, somehow but I sometimes wear them in any case.

      • Robin

        ” . . . imperfectly suited perfumes can have their own appeal.” Exactly. I mean, that Memoir Woman doesn’t smell as good on me as it did Ms. Tortoiseshell, but I think it might one day if and when I achieve the same stylish gravitas. Ah, there’s another point. Part of the compatibility, for me, is based on personality, or style. Ms T. carried off the operatic assertiveness of Memoir in part, I think, because she had such a definite personal style herself. Same — or, more like similarly — with Ric, who is always so squeaky clean in his Canadian lumberjack way that it rubs off on whatever fragrance he wears. In that way, influence/synergy is as much psychological as chemical. All very interesting.

      • Absolutely. Unless bearing and character IS chemistry. I think this is why I wear 19, as it confers on me a dignified aura i otherwise don’t have ( I should probably have just stuck to Elephant).

      • Robin

        “Unless bearing and character IS chemistry.”

        Good point.

  3. Tara C

    Egoiste smelled delicious on an ex, but I figured it just melded perfectly with his natural skin scent of cinnamon sugar. Most perfumes, unless they are musky and smoky, smell vile on my husband. Fresh scents in particular veer in the most repulsive way.

    As for me, I love sweet and resinous scents, but had to stop wearing L by Lolita Lempicka because it smelled so nauseatingly awful on my hairdresser. Same with L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore. I have smelled things on others that were magical on them and didn’t work on me at all. So skin chemistry really is a thing, despite what Luca Turin says.

  4. David

    I have tried some of those incense powders that are worn on the skin. They, unfortunately, stain clothing (at least the ones I have tried). The ones I have tried also have a skanky element, which I love, but my husband hates. It’s so interesting about chemistry and how fragrance smells different on people. I can’t wear anything aquatic. But I like it (in small doses) on other people. Here in Brazil 212 by Carolina Herrera seems to be the most popular for men. I could never wear it, but it does smell sexy on hot men….maybe I forgive any scent on a hot man haha

  5. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    I do so like vaguely sinister, even or maybe lurkinglly, in perfume..
    Very intrigued by the film: does Rumi shed her many layered kimono’s with the oncoming tears? I don’t mean a strip tease: just shedding shells or skins to reach the core? Guessing wildly!
    Have a good hibernation and don’t forget the chocolate, w(h)ich (always forget the spelling) for me accompanies the winter season

    • Rumi only seems to be in this scene as the Tear Teacher – the students have to pass through many crazy classroom scenarios, of which this is one. When the film is finished (deliberately trashy, a D movie, but hopefully with a higher aesthetic behind it), I will put it up on here.

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