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.