L’EAU DE MEZHIN by ANATOLE LEBRETON (2014)

We have been having a tidy up : a spring cleaning kind of Easter. I didn’t even know it was Easter until someone told me (how strange that it is so unfixed and can be celebrated on any Sunday between the end of March and April, something about a Pasqual full moon).

In any case, I just happened to not have yet listened to a record of Benedictine monk echoeing chants from my birthday stash, which was perfectly suited to the day, beautiful and peaceful; and after coffee I then spontaneously set about putting my record collection back together – I am terrible with cases and sleeves – while D went about general rearranging and cleaning away months ( years ) of accumulated mess.


We have been finding and picking up perfume samples that have fallen into ransacked spaces never to be found again until now : I have no filing system, although the records today were systemized thematically and aesthetically for my leafing pleasure. We have also ordered a new antique Japanese wooden cabinet, though, to make the perfume collection more manageable and appealing, which will be coming soon :right now it’s very bohemian but a little too chaotic.

D says I am a hoarder. I am not – I just can’t be bothered to throw things away. Part of me rather enjoys it when big bags of rubbish are ready to be thrown out – I prefer to wait for a moment like this ; I suppose I like the grand gesture. There are two high school girls, for example,,who I have only taught three times in total for a ‘special course’ and will see once more on Wednesday as I dizzily make my way to Atsugi for the last time, but as they ( for once ! I usually keep it a secret ) were obvious fragrance enthusiasts, something transpired during the course of the lesson as one girl revealed “ last night I slept in my mother’s Diorissimo”, I have decided that am going to make them scream with delight by bestowing a couple of Hermes bags stuffed with samples and unwanted bottles on them even though it is flagrantly against the rules just because. One of the two (Diorissimo), is a rather interesting girl who loves Chanel makeup and having footbaths in home grown buckets of lemonbalm and also is soon to be taking her black belt in karate, a kick-ass assassin in magenta enameled nails : I love this combination.

While they can gladly have my samples of Viva La Juicy Noir – I am giving them a lot of duty free type scents as well as odd smoky niche and a bit of oud for shock value and education purposes – I am keeping my sample of L’Eau De Mezhin by Anatole Lebreton. This one had somehow slipped through my fingers and today was the first time I have smelled it. Others in the range I have smelled have been quite sour iris-dusty-waxville – strange and off putting, and I suppose that in some ways this is no different: a kind of sporty Apres L’Ondee Pour Homme if you can imagine such a thing, but I took to its greenness and structure today – it felt right.

I often have a hard time with iris. I only really love No 19, to wear as a full day out perfume, even if many of the plush Guerlains I venerate like L’Heure Bleue are iridescent with the stuff (these I just analyze and enjoy by myself late at night). But with irises, the bases are often either too sweet and vanilla musky or else niche furniture store polyurethane horror (or fake sandalwood) or harsh witchy patchouli as in Le Labo : half of the time I just can’t be bothered.

L’Eau Mezhin is a curious iris scent that is very familiar, but also not. I don’t know if it entirely works as a melodic whole, with the decisive green tang of galbanum, prominent violet leaf – which I consider quite a virile note – flouve, or French sweet vernal grass, pictured above and a sweet note of hay over cassie and a hawthorn laced Apres L’Ondee-ish rich and powdery iris. There is something perturbing, cold, about the trail this leaves, but I enjoyed it cycling in the rain to and back from the shops – oddly, my balance is perfect on my bike, but I was swaying and had to steady myself when I got to the front door – and all the while I kept going back to smell my hand…

The silvery base of this scent is a masculine trope – fougereish implications of oakmoss and tonka with a herbaceous pinch of angelica, but it stays gentlemanly, cool, and cordial throughout; very French – a little like the ending of Caron Pour Un Homme Sport. The perfumer, Anatole Lebreton, talks of ‘the scent of childhood; running about in meadows, a nostalgic stride on the other side of the mirror’, and I did feel that this was a pleasant accompaniment to a very relaxing and constructive Sunday of music, and making the most of the house, that brought back a lot of memories, home cooked food and soulful contentment, listening avidly to my records (and admittedly dancing quite a lot even if it probably isn’t very good for me at this particular moment in time); even, I hear you groan, rather vigorously to the 12” of You Spin Me Round ( Like A Record ). I couldn’t resist the irony.







Happy Easter.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “L’EAU DE MEZHIN by ANATOLE LEBRETON (2014)

  1. Tara C

    I’ve tried several from that house but none of them work for me. Your description of sour/dusty/waxy sounds about right. I’ve not had luck with Jorum, Dusita or Francescha Bianchi either. Ah well, money saved!

    • This is the way, though. Sample first. No blind buy full bottles unless you have money to burn. I think it is actually quite hard to find a perfume that you really love and totally fits. This one is probably not a full bottle number, but it does intrigue me.

      What perfume houses do you like most ?

  2. Nancysg

    Easter cleaning seems somehow appropriate. If only I had the ambition. After moving last year and going through a house we had lived in for 34 years, I am not keen to make anymore decisions yet about what to keep versus toss or donate. Glad the kitty found a good spot to supervise from. Happy Easter.

  3. Robin

    Happy Easter, you two. Three with the cat.

    l’Eau Mezhin sounds really good, actually. So does your Sunday. Just reading about your place, I found myself wondering what it smells like. Incense, I’d imagine, on top, but underneath? Do Japanese houses emit a different smell than English ones? The construction materials, the climate, the humidity and heat, the cold winters: it must add up to something distinctive, unBirminghamesque.

    • I think English houses can smell lovely – pot pourri etc is suited to brick buildings and painted walls; traditional Japanese houses made of wood also smell lovely – Hinoki and incense etc. Ours.. a bit of a pot boiler; sometimes nice, in humid seasons i despair :

      • Robin

        Yeah. Humidity can do strange things, I’d imagine. Hinoki and incense sounds brilliant. I kind of go with the seasons, just like stuff on my skin, so now breaking out the green home scents, candles, diffuser oils and sprays. Summer is kind of a tropical theme — gardenia, jasmine, heady whites, citruses — because it’s aspirational: we wish sometimes for a little more warmth, truly sultry, and those kind of scents almost get us there. Or we can pretend at least.

  4. How lovely to do a nice Easter cleaning, it is as perfect a time as any. I am now at that point, in my collection of fragrances, where it is becoming harder to figure out where things are. I am surprised this has not been the case for me sooner, but it is funny what you find when you least expect it.
    How wonderful that you have two students that are fragrance lovers, truly glorious. I also love that one is a Chanel make-up devotee, whilst doing karate. The juxtaposition in perfect.

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