“How could I live without powder?”
The above quotation is by a philosopher, American mountaineer, and ‘ecstatic skier’, presumably in reference to powder snow. But it could just as easily refer to les notes poudrées – textural elements that add a delectable depth, as well as hovering, pressed aerial qualities to a perfume; talcumy; soft; the palpable frisson between the felt interiority of the warmth of the body, its scented emanations; and the ice-pure exteriority of the wintry air.
I know nothing about Amis De Paris, a rare Japanese perfume that D picked up for me from an old junk store recently and gave me for my birthday (along with the vintage Mitsouko eau de toilette; pictured ). But it is lovely: in some ways slightly reminiscent of Shalimar, as well as the delicate powder -puff evanescences of Emeraude de Coty (1921) and Chantilly d’Houbigant (1941): but, also, as the lemony grain particles evaporate suavely to a more vanillic-fougère territory, evocative of the more androgynous, beard-nestling fragrances such as Canoe/ Brut/ Ambush by Fabergé. Definitely a perfume with an amiable, open-hearted quality – but also a vein of mystery.
The Mitsouko – I am not sure which decade this edition is from – is a light, unmusty, bright and soothing iteration of the classic, cheerful; without the dourness and severity that you can sometimes encounter with the mulchier, fusty editions waiting cantankerously in brooding ancient parfum; today I feel that it is calling me. At the moment, I am in vetiver-drenched mode – various preparations left lingering on coats and trousers and sweaters and underclothes just like last year (or was it the year before? time has irrevocably changed) : I think, in any case, as a counterpoint, I will wear both of these this evening when we go out to Kamakura to buy food and wine for Christmas dinner. The air from the sea and mountains will be clear; it will be chilly: these perfumes will offer protection.