Hello again, and welcome to Winter.





Apologies for the absence: I have been up to all kinds of things, both good and bad, but can’t write about them right now for various reasons (this unforthcomingness is not in my nature but has been thrust upon me).






I have succumbed to my natural biorhythms. Every year, I go in familiar waves, and now the student evaluations are over – them rating us, not the other way round, I can lay my performing monkey aside and drift back into reveries of Christmas and New Year. It has been a good term, actually, but although my colleagues will be gearing up heavily for the final push before exams, I will be hiding away in Kamakura, nesting and writing, and finally having a breather after what has easily been the most eventful and memorable year of my life.






Anyway. To Perfume. I have backlog of scent I would like to write about, and will take my time with them. But today is a lovely crisp, sunny day after what feels like weeks of cold damp relentless rain ( I hate, hate rain unless it comes at precisely the right moment) and a green, forested perfume seems like a good way to inch my way back into Narcissus conscious again.





I recently received a sample set of perfumes by January Scent Project, an East Coast independent perfumery outfit by artist John Biebel, who creates the perfumes and designs the artwork (I really love the presentation of this brand) for a set of fragrances that are unusual, at times even freakish, but which have a certain plaintive, medicinal man-o’-the-woods sanctity running through their veins : you can feel that nature and space are very important for this person; alongside a certain goth sensitivity, heartfulness, and rebellious originality.





Eiderantler, which sounds rather like a Cocteau Twins b-side, is curiously described as an ‘ivy fougere’. It has not an ounce of sweetness, at least not initially, but has a frank delicacy to it of woodland branches and fresh air : green leaves, ivy, moss and balsam fir wreathing through  an oak, lavender and fine hayed vetiver scent that creates a discreet aura of stepping through undergrowth and inhaling cold, clean air. It would be too ‘deliberate’ and self-serious for me, perhaps, but it was the perfect match for our friend Skyler who stayed the other night with their partner: androgyny was a requisite in the perfumes I chose for them and this one rung all the bells : for the fact that it was ‘bold yet quiet’, and seemed to have ‘revelations waiting to happen’. Living in Hawaii (the sound of which, all those tropical flowers on the air, makes me really want to go to Honolulu – if I can only put up with the music, which I think would drive me bananas), they were shivering in the cold of Japan on Wednesday morning as we tried to heat up the place with kerosene, but determined to go hiking nevertheless; stopping off at temples, whose solemness and ancient gravity is only augmented by cold raindrops on tall trees;  unnerving, at the marrow level, in its judgmental austerity ; the dark-leaved ivy of the Eiderantler – on the skin – a numinous allegory.








Filed under Fougère, Green

21 responses to “EIDERANTLER by JANUARY SCENT PROJECT (2017)

  1. Just to clarify a bit about what I mean by all this ‘secrecy’: I am not putting on airs and graces or being self-important, but since the book came out and I was in Vogue etc (and guess what: I might even be WRITING for Japan Vogue soon!), although obviously my ‘profile’ is not huge, it has definitely got bigger, which means that there is a direct clash with work in terms of what I can write about : pre 2017 I was 100% bold and uninhibited. I still am, but have to watch what I put up now I am googleable.

    Having said that, we are going to Osaka tomorrow for my birthday weekend – I am going to make a pop video (!) and it will be craven and marvellous. I might not be able to resist writing about it, who knows.

  2. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    You must have been a cat in your previous life, to hate, hate the rain!
    I do too and it is the dominant weather condition of the last winters: instead of angelmaking snow this dismal dreary dripping poor excuse of a shower!!

    Googleable sounds ominous: and are you a W(ellknown) J(apanese) or B(rit) or both?
    My sympathies! Fame strides where angels .
    Happy birthday and your present sounds delightful after the peeks and parks I have been privileged to watch (not sure if this english??)
    The walk through the woods with your friends sounds absolutely the right way to lose and loosen …

    And as this is very much a letter instead of a comment, cher M Ginzain,
    I remain your most true, faithful, sincere admirer

    • And I yours. I love your elegant, untainted soulfulness

      • Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

        Recently I have been fascinated by the Tigerlillies, baroque, gothic, pre-punk, anarchist, pro- a- lot , klezmer , chanson de la vie etc.
        Favourites: Hipdeep Family (poem by Edward Gorey) and Gutter.
        Highly recommended when fed up with the more brutal aspects of human civilisation.

  3. Tara C

    Perhaps you can create another, more secret blog, under another name, where you can continue to publish freely? It would be a shame to lose your free unbridled style that we appreciate so much.

    Anyway, congratulations on this new development in your career!

    • Tara C

      Oh, and a very happy birthday to you!

    • OnWingsofSaffron

      But you‘d have to let us know: spill the secret hideaway site once! Perhaps via some perfume clues for the cognoscenti!

    • Yes, Tara! Exactly this. The world CANNOT have a restrained Neil. We need Neil to create a world we understand, can join and revel in.

      • Wow what a thing to say – thanks very much.
        Restraint will never be my forte, so don’t worry too much (I do prefer this Japanified version of myself though, to the utterly unrestrained creature of youth who would literally throw himself at the foot of a tree in melodrama…I WAS too much at that point; the current nutter is still a defiant fuck (my brain has a massive middle finger at the centre that can never be erased) but hopefully a tad more mature and objective.


  4. Hope you will be celebrating a most spectacular birthday.
    The weather sounds horrid, I as well despise the rain.
    The fragrance sounds interesting. John is a fabulous guy, he is dear friends with one of my dear friends, Ida Meister, who is wonderful lady! John’s scents do have an otherworldly quality to them, almost as if they were crafted for those in the realm of Valhalla.
    You will have to share your thoughts on the rest of his releases.
    I am curious about all this secrecy, but am sure you will share when the time is right.

  5. emmawoolf

    Good to have you back, dear friend. (Also love the presentation of these scents: what a green! Exquisite.) Look forward to hearing more about the weekend. Oh, and perfume, when you have the time. I’m all about the mass market these days: about to check out the new Jo Malone/Zara colab. Have you heard about it? x

  6. David

    I totally understand about the secrecy and having to lower the profile a bit. I will miss it, though! Good luck with all your new projects. Happy Birthday!

  7. Robin

    Happy birthday. Damn I missed you and your writing. The last bit, describing the temples, was worth the wait. Gorgeous.

    Vogue? Glad they can recognize your desirability. I hope it happens. You may well be recovering from your wild Osaka weekend. Do write again soon(er).

  8. Happy birthday Black Narcissus (:-))
    Just to say I really enjoy your blogs, insightful inspo info,
    so please keep on doing it x
    PS Here’s to 2020…

  9. Hilly

    Happy Happy Birthday Neil. Have missed your writing very much too but do hope that the good is outweighing the bad (or that the bad is the good kind of bad)

    And am silently applauding ‘Cocteau Twins b-side! .

  10. I am there! such beautiful evocative writing again, thank you, I needed that atmosphere. I can see, smell and dream it all at this very moment.

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