Category Archives: Narcissus

BRACKEN by AMOUAGE (2016)

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I was never an ‘outdoors man’ even if I have always been something of a nature boy. Yet it was still strange that as a young child I somehow ended up being a cub scout. I don’t remember how or why I would have been enrolled in such an unsuitable organisation, with its toggles and songs and uniforms and ‘manly pursuits’, but I do know that I detested every moment of it except for our time in the woods and the forests when we went camping, and were forced- sorry, encouraged – to make bivouacs out of ferns and bracken and branches and twigs; tents made purely from the forest’s provision that you could hide in, close yourself off and inhale; a smell I will never forget.

It is said that the ‘fougere’ is an imaginary accord, as ferns have no smell, but this is not true. If you crush these filigreed, ornate and primeval plants between your fingers there is in fact a most distinctive, fresh, ancient, milk sap that I have always loved, the very essence of woodland and a window to another world. While I may not appreciate the beauty of mountains and grand vistas and rocks and great valleys, I have always adored the sylvan; the magic of the forest clearing and the trickling, hidden stream.

Amouage’s inquisitive and eccentric, ‘neo-hippie’ perfume from last year, Bracken, taps into this alternative, paisley green world of the great outdoors with a very original – if difficult – scent that was created to evoke memories, or at the very least, the stylings and ideals, of the flower power era: meadows of daisies, swaying pampas grasses, and love in the undergrowth – and I must say that I have never experienced anything else quite like it.

I will admit that our first impressions were poor. In fact Duncan recoiled in horror when he sprayed some on (he tried it first for me….”Oh my god…….it’s Toilet Duck!!!!”, and passing his hand over for me to peruse, before scrubbing it off at the sink, I will admit I did burst out laughing as he had nailed it completely in two simple words: suddenly, I had a flashback to the green toilet cleanser of my parent’s house when I was a boy; the urinous, central tang of chamomile and narcissus working with the citrus green, herbal notes of the top accord enough to provoke that remembrance exactly).

Trying the perfume again today, I see a more panoramic view. This is a very full, outspreading, complex, citric, green (fern accord) sharp, fruity (wild berries), floral (lily) and gently mossy composition that although quite odd, is also in another way quite beautifully harmonious. It definitely does have soul and spirit. Like Penelope Tree, the offbeat sixties model pictured here and the ‘alternative Twiggy’, it is the kind of scent that one in a hundred will fall for, but when they do, they will smell fantastic.

The evernew green of my childhood adventures – away from the tedious and moronic bondage of the cub scouts, I would spend my summer holidays playing in the woods all day long with my friends on our bikes, ‘our place’, where we made a secret cabin on an island in the middle of a bog where we could hide out from the adults; it was illegal to be there, we had cut our own hole in the wire fence of the private golf course the woods backed onto, but the heart pounding terror when someone was coming only added to the excitement and the sense of being trapped within a story; great lungfuls of searing fresh air, panting in mud and grasses, bluebells, great ferns….. none of that is really represented here (the closest I have ever come to a true ‘bracken’ like accord is perhaps English Fern by Penhaligons, a gentle, powdery scent from an entirely other era I find soothing and quite dreamy and evocative of the beautiful nature of England). But what is good about Bracken – such a risk-taking name for a perfume I think – is that for once I am smelling something bold and new, not that common these days in perfumery, whether it be niche, or otherwise, on every level from the concept and realization of the fragrance to the execution. An adventure.

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Filed under Fougère, Fruit, Green, Narcissus, New Beginnings

NARCISSE NOIR by CARON (I9II)

 

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Narcisse Noir is to Caron what Shalimar is to Guerlain, or Nº5 to Chanel : the perfume upon which the house’s fortune was first established, that made its name, and that subsequently became a legend in perfumed history.

 

The destinies of these three very diverse creations were not to be similar.While Shalimar’s timeless vanillic beauty still feels relevant, purring and sexy, and N°5 – a beautiful, shimmering, and feminine creation – is still relentlessly promoted as the juggernaut that powered Chanel and one of the world’s bestsellers even to this day, Narcisse Noir, a shadowed and exotic creation, has completely faded into obscurity, known only to perfumisti, those who have worn it for a lifetime, and the dwindling number of people who still frequent the dusty old Caron boutiques on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris or New York’s Lexington Avenue.

 

Despite the very particular beauty of this perfume, it not difficult to understand why it would have faded from favour. Narcisse Noir simply smells of another age and time; of boudoirs, dressing rooms, heavy velvet drapes and black lace and crinoline; of dark colonial exploits and influence – I have always felt that this perfume smells very Indian – and, more importantly perhaps, a different kind of sensuality: this is not, by any means, a perfume made to seduce in the traditional light and floral manner by being virginalized, fluttering, and coy. Rather, the vintage parfum and eau de parfum of Narcisse Noir are, comparatively, mannish and challenging; deep,solidly assured: the erotic aggressive to your passive.

 

Essentially, this sunless, stygian floral is a rich narcissus/boisé/animale blend, based, so it is claimed, on an essence of Persian black narcissus, a prominent, citrus-glinted, tainted orange blossom, and heavy, civet-touched sandalwood and vetiver over the classic Ernst Daltroff mousse de saxe base, the musty and antique-smelling sediment in many classic Caron perfumes that is, in my view, the reason that these perfumes, though compelling, now simply seem too old fashioned to the average modern consumer.

 

This depends though. Nao, the dancer seen standing next to Duncan in my piece on Sunday night’s shenanigans, The Soft Touch, was immediately quite intrigued by this perfume when I offered it to her; an instant reaction of hai, this has fukami, depth, and definite fuinki- (atmosphere): she could feel the history and the stories rising up from it from one inhalation and I love it when certain perfumes gain such a reaction, suggesting their intrinsic appeal and beauty, no matter that they are over a century old.

 

In fact, the versions of this perfume I have – one particular vintage extrait and an eau de cologne ( whose box’s motif forms the header on this blog, along with a fresh narcissus flower from our garden – there was never going to be any other name for this website: narcissus, hyacinth and f*** being my three favourite words in the English language) – are not anywhere near as potent or as impressive as the bottle of Narcisse Noir I remember my friend Claire having at Cambridge: an eau de parfum that was wonderfully dense, compressed and above all, really definitively sultry in its strength and sillage: I once took her bottle when she wasn’t looking and heavily sprayed the inside of my flute case with it (which later became embarrassing when I would then have to open it at the trio practice I used to do at a baroque recorder cafe just down the hill from where we live – the smell lingered for years).

 

It was bewitching, though, this scent – the oil of jonquil interwoven with that malingering orange blossom and narcissus, but always, always with that plush dark carpet of animalic woods and musks underlining it that smelled like the smoke of Indian incense. It was a perfume that made you wonder, that drew you in even as it scared, and I can imagine it having been enormously seductive in the smoky atmospheres into which it debuted all those bygone decades ago, when the perfume was so current and successful that Caron could compete with Coty and his like in America; Caron’s big perfume: the scent of Gloria Swanson’s tragic Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.

 

 

 

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And on the subject of film, is this not in fact also the drowsy perfume that becomes the fatal undoing of the nuns in Black Narcissus, Powell & Pressburger’s brilliantly high-nerved thriller from I947, set vertiginously up in the Himalayan mountains; that strange-pitched and hysterical film about a group of sisters cloistered on a cliff-side convent, unravelling as warm, perturbing and sensuous winds form a mind-turning constant and the nuns’ precarious religious conviction gradually comes undone through their contact with the locals and the presence of men?

 

 

 

Is not perfume itself, in this masterpiece, the catalyst that leads to eventual madness and death as well as ecstatic liberation? Scent is the unavoidable presence that insinuates and lodges itself into the minds of these susceptible women on the fateful day that an Indian prince – almost impossibly sweet and pure of intention – enters the convent for English instruction – always in sumptuous jewels and white robes – and provides distraction from God. But it is his perfume – called Black Narcissus – that forms not only the title of the film, but also, seemingly, the central component that makes the nuns succumb to their vulnerable humanity and to the elements, the scent of his perfume emanating serenely but disconcertingly from his handkerchieves and making them then unable to think clearly.

 

 

 

 

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Can this perfume not be seen as Caron’s Narcisse Noir itself? The direct translation of the French from the name of such a famous perfume seems much too obvious to be a coincidence, even as it gains an extra magic layer in its starker, Anglicized transformation. Surely they are one and the same, and indeed, this perfume does really smell wonderful on a man: swarthy, royal; elegantly poised. I can imagine how the nuns must have felt when he walked into the room. Duncan, dressed as Echo on Sunday night, trying desperately to distance Narcissus from his mirrors; the gentle swathes of Narcisse Noir drifting from his person; and me,’The Black Narcissus’ in the audience, looking, reacting; inhaling him.

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Filed under Narcissus

NARCISSUS, YOU STINK

 

 

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I have just come in from a Sunday night lesson, the last one before one particular class takes their entrance examination for a prestigious bi-cultural school, and I am feeling guilty and worried: although the other Japanese teachers have been going in every day since November (no: every day, literally every day, poisoning their spirits and bodies), this is the first time this year I have gone in on a Sunday, and that was only because there are two boys who are very borderline and who could really benefit from my lessons and I just couldn’t not: tonight I went through every tense in the English language, did the subjunctive, countable and uncountable nouns, a myriad of linguistic things, until it was 11.10 pm and last trains were looming and their energies were draining and we had to call it a day.

 

I feel guilty because I should have done more, should have gone in on more Sundays to help them further, but I have already been going in on Saturdays (my days off!) and giving them seven hour lessons, which always leave me feeling depleted with worrying levels of mental toxicity…..

 

The fact is that I am an extremely, extremely sensitive type: porous, absorbent – I take in everything and it AFFECTS me inordinately in my soul: I have tortured sleep when I teach too much and I simply can’t understand how the other teachers can endure such a work schedule, how their families can accept it, how they can survive, physically and mentally, for years on end: I have even had counselling on the subject with a very expensive Tokyo psychologist, been told that they are they and I am me, and westerners can’t be expected to put up with such conditions ( my job is very cushy in comparison, very) and, essentially, just try to care less and switch off.

 

I am lucky. In any given year I have more days off than on, and I love teaching, in many ways, for the spontaneity, the energy and the connection with young people, and for the fact that I have enough free time, can concentrate on perfume and writing and playing the piano and having fantastic days out in Tokyo wandering the streets and going to the cinema, before I return to the working week – which is always exhausting nevertheless for me, even as it stimulates.

 

One day soon I am going to write a book about my years in Japan, and all of these experiences, because it is all in me, floating on the surface, and also in the depths, and whatever preconceptions you might have about Japan are always, and I mean always, wrong: the place is far more nuanced, beautiful and deep than you might imagine (the school is a kind of joyous place despite the long hours; the kids seem to love being there); the Japanese produce such a positive energy even as it depletes: it is a constant, sadomasochistic push pull of trying and doing your best and making an effort even in the face of adversity (look at the earthquake two years ago and how they pulled together), while equally punishing in a way that can only be described as sick (and yet, as any person who has lived here will tell you, all highly and completely addictive). Yesterday, after another all day lesson, though, I felt quite ill.

 

And we had a dinner party in the evening in Yokohama with my Japanese sister as I call her and her husband. But it was one of those things where a bunch of J-stiffs, nervous, awkward, and so CRAP AT BREAKING THE ICE gathered together in a house that was too bright (oh lord, don’t people know the value and the importance of the right light) and it took about three hours to relax (thank god for alcohol….without it Japan simply could never function…..), but still…. those first couple of hours…the BLEEDING EFFORT REQUIRED TO JUST GEL AND RELAX…

I love Aiko and her family to death, but after a day of, well, ‘Japan’ it was the last thing I needed and Duncan and I got completely wasted to cope and try to blend and feel good.

 

 

But not wasted enough it would seem..

The taxi back from the station was expensive but necessary (there was no way we were walking up the hill yesterday: I just have, and there were narcissi everywhere, which I am coming to in a minute), but as we got out I saw that our little local pub, or izakaya, was still open (yey!) and I insisted we go in…

 

This place, Yamaya, or ‘mountain place’, opened shortly after the earthquake, and it has been an amazing hub of social activity that has completely transformed the neighbourhood I live in, essentially quite a chichi residential area at the top of a valley (when you walk down the hill there are all the most exquisite zen temples in Kamakura: I absolutely love where I live ), but there is nothing, really, in this area –  only a 1960’s Showa-era shopping street – we rent our house from the fruit and vegetable store’s owners, the Mitomis, my Japanese parents, whose daughter’s house we went to last night).

 

The opening of the izakaya brought a whole collection of eccentrics out of the woodwork and it has been fabulous: where everyday culture here can be so fucking draining with its rules and regulations and keeping oneself under control, there is an incredibly libertarian, utterly unfettered openness and feeling of fun in that place – we are all like family, you can plug in your iPod and play your mixes, and last night I had so much crap to get out of me, so much poison to exhale, that only more poison would do ( I swear that if someone had come out with syringes of heroin I would have taken them): I was smoking even though I don’t smoke, we were drinking beer til it came out of our ears, and it was wonderful: I felt so myself, so released, in an environment so human, with friends and local weirdos who I have all the time in the world for, and as Duncan and I crashed home (and I mean crashed, the house was like a bomb site this morning) it felt like a huge, delirious, fuck you middle finger to this world that I sometimes truly feel I CANNOT ABIDE.

 

I had a lesson from 7 this evening, which went on til late, as I said, woke up at 2.30 this afternoon with a monster hangover, D still fast asleep and groggy as a chameleon, and I had a long, long bath in coconut oil and essential oils of cardamon, cajeput and ylang (my heart beat wake up remedy), and then thought fuck it, today I am wearing perfume, I am slapping it on, and wore a large amount of Vanilla Del Madagascar by SS Annunziata: boy was it wrong; as you might know if you have been reading the narcissus, we are basically not allowed to wear perfume to work ( I know, me working for a company that forbids scent), but it is never enforced, and I have recently been wearing Eau Duelle by Diptqyue in subtle (for me, anyway) amounts: though I am displeased by the bitter, pepper/incense opening – which seems so tedious somehow – I love how it develops and lets me wear my favourite note, vanilla,  in a covert way that no one is going to find objectionable: delicate, light, lovely….

 

 

The woozy, boozy vanilla tonight, coupled with the bath I had had, which left me weirdly scented (plus the smoke on my suit from last night in the bar), my boozer’s breath and garlic from some Vietnamese noodles I had, concealed under the synthetic peppermint of gum, all made me smell quite foul I realized, as I stood at the blackboard, self-conscious, feeling myself reeking…

 

Still, it wasn’t a proper day at school (BECAUSE IT WAS SUNDAY NIGHT FOR CHRISTSAKES), and only the hardiest stalwarts were there, and anyway I think my kids enjoyed the lesson, as did I ( I could have gone on all night once I hit my stride), and I didn’t see any undue wrinkling of noses – though one girl did have a slightly grimaced expression……lesson: never mix your work and private life; never mix your weekend perfumes, where my Vaniglia smells quite gorgeous (it IS my scent now) and your daily, sanitised, laundry musks: I felt, in a way, like a marauder in my own life, sabotaging my own smell.

 

 

I stank.

 

 

Coming home and going up the hill, which is my silence, my solace, an ancient valley turned suburb, but with such spirit it nourishes me on a daily basis, I came across two kinds of narcissus: one, with yellow eye-centres, beautiful and haunting, like a portal to another world.

 

I keep using the word ‘piercing’ in relation to this type of narcissus, but it is the only word that works for me: the smell of this variety (pictured at the top of the page) kills me and contains so much condensed emotion I honestly can’t explain it to you, I can’t: I find it heartbreaking, as though the flowers and that smell contain Japan, and all the feelings I have for the place, itself.

 

 

 

 

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The other flowers, these white ones here, stink. There is no other way of putting it. They are the most animalic, cowshed flowers I have ever smelled: close your eyes and inhale thecowpat; open them and see starry beauties with bad breath, decaying at the edges, exhaling their foul florality by the roadside in moonlight; as I wearily make my way, in their drifting, pungently placid scent, back home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Flowers, Narcissus, Psychodrama

CARON INFINI (1970)

 

 

 

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Infini is probably the vintage perfume I have found the most at flea markets in Japan:  I have had bottles and bottles of it. Some of which I have worn myself; many given away as presents, and far, far, too many that I have spilled. 

 

 

I grew up being told I was the clumsiest boy in the world and it was/is true (I even, and I can’t quite believe I am writing this), managed to drop and empty out two thirds of the most perfect Je Reviens parfum the other day, the one that was used to write my delirious review of that unearthly creation…….

 

 

 

Tragically, Infini has had a similar fate….the bottle you see in the picture has a stopper that comes off ridiculous easily and    oops..……..see, smell, that gorgeous golden liquid splash down and stain the tatami mats….I have done this so many times now that it no longer surprises me, yet to people who know how beautiful this perfume is in its vintage form, reading this must be like a pain in the spleen, lip-bitingly frustrating: such a terrible, terrible  waste……………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I know, I know, but there is also something so horribly decadent and deliciously nonchalant about not caring..)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I tell a lie. Infini may not be the absolute most common perfume I have  come across at the flea markets, but it is certainly one of those that I have bought the most and that have given me the most pleasure (the honour of most ubiquitous vintage perfumes on sale would probably go, in descending order, to N°5, L’Air Du Temps, Miss Dior, Madame Rochas and Diorissimo).  All those perfumes are well-know masterpieces, however, which in their heyday were in such high levels of production as emblems of ‘French Perfume’ to bring back home to Japan from trips to Paris that you would expect some unwanted bottles to eventually resurface. Infini is no way near as globally well-known, so I can only surmise that there must have been a surge of interest in all things French and futuriste at the beginning of the 1970s (around the time of the space age metallica of Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne and Courrèges) which Caron managed to exploit in the lemming-like fashion-conscious Japanese market. Perhaps this was the big Tokyo hit of 1970  (the year I was born, incidentally, and another reason I love the scent) : the burgeoning, post-war, and by all accounts quite electrifying,  Bubble Era of newly prosperous Japan. Rich, beautiful, knowing women in furs, trailing its delicious, dry, woody floral chic down the boulevards of Ginza…… a perfume marketed as an expertly blended liquid perfection to stretch, beckoningly, into the infinity of the air behind you…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caron’s futuristic project, to bring the house of its powdered, spiced, and sometimes fusted shadows,  was apparently fifteen years in the making, as the perfumers in question attempted to find the most indefectible equilibrium of sharp green florals; woods; aldehydes, and musky, skin-lingering animalics, the result – unseamed, flawless – being in my view one of the finest scents ever made – elegant, refined, and mesmerically beautiful. A perfectly balanced, multilayered perfume.

 

 

 

 

 

I highlight that word because so many fragrances these days are more like simple accords : blocks of scent or smells ( I would even include a lot of my favourite perfumes such as those by Serge Lutens in this classification: scents I wear for their instancy and aromatic appeal, but which possibly lack a certain psychological complexity…..)

 

 

 

 

 

Infini was different. It was the last of a dying breed …the late progeny, direct descendant, and final refinement of the floral aldehydic innovations of Ernst Beaux’s N° 5, and more obviously, the aforementioned Madame Rochas. The Caron take on this well-loved theme and bears resemblances to these richly orchestrated jewels –  perfumes to be treasured, loved and worn for a lifetime because they had souls – but to my mind it is even better: deeper, more androgynous.

 

 

 

 

Intense woods (sandal, and a beautifully rich, dry cedar); vetiver, patchouli, and subtle, erotic animal undertones in the perfume underlie a gentle, light-fused masterpiece of floral construction:  jasmine, rose, tuberose, and, notably, a top note of yellow narcissus blooming hypnotically in the head notes at unusually high strength (backed with a sharp floral bouquet of muguet, iris, and night-blooming hyacinth), all layered, effortlessly, with fresher notes of  coriander, neroli, peach, bergamot, and aldehydes; fusing into a captivating, yet very understated and subtle perfume that lingers for hours and becomes part of your being.  It is an archetypal feminine urban feline in fur, yet  beautifully warm and sexy on a man also ( I love it on myself in summer in  a white shirt…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Note: as a person who has known many bottles of Infini, I can tell you that in the vintage they vary hugely –  a testament, I would say,  to the number of natural oils in the blend. Sometimes there are no green notes: no narcissus or hyacinth or even vetiver; at others all is simply faded musty,’old perfume’ smell. The new version, still available from Caron boutiques (editor’s note: I thought so, but having just checked the Caron website it seems to have been deleted from the catalogue: how sad!)  is recognisably Infini in its basic template but lacks the sex. Thus, angling for an e-bay purchase of this perfume is always a gamble: you never know how close the perfume will be to the original (oh to have smelled it! Even my best vintage purchases are up to forty years old, so undoubtedly lack the punch of the green notes and hyacinth that must have featured in the head notes of the original……)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the many different concentrations of the scent that were originally released, though, my own personal favourite by far is the parfum de toilette (see my almost empty bottle below….)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the bottle that made me fall in love with Infini and one that I am desperate to find again. At that point (about fourteen years ago) I didn’t even know of its existence, but of course knew the name Caron, so bought it, on a whim, when I found it at the flea market, for my collection, just to have. Just to see.

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t believe, as the notes settled into me, how much I was enjoying it, how beautiful it was.  I felt like an angel in the sand dunes; released…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Floral Aldehydes, Flowers, Narcissus, Perfume Reviews

TOM FORD JARDIN NOIR COLLECTION: JONQUILLE DE NUIT (2012)

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There is something about the idea of narcissus and jonquil absolutes that thrills: flowers not only captured, but intensified a dozenfold by the process of plucking, extraction and distillation:  the awaiting perfumer receiving in his hands a potent, green barnyard funk of human breath and decay and that toxic, overpowering glint of volupted angelic flora that emanates from these starry yellow eye-heads like a gas leak:  a scent that goes from high to low; from foul to fragrant; from death and the earth to the very stars…

 

 

My favourite narcissus/jonquil notes in perfumery are perhaps to be found in Caron’s woody floral/aldehydic Infini, which in vintage (1970) has this material, high up in the perfume as the mouthpiece of the scent, to cinch the body notes of roses, tuberose, cedar and vetiver. When Helen was here one time, we picked the wintry narcissi coming up the hill and placed them next to Infini on a bookshelf by the bed, the smell of the flower quite distinctively featuring in the blend alongside and above the rich, woody aldehydes. You could hear it singing.

 

 

Real, wild narcissus extract is also an erotic and essential component of proper Je Reviens (see my review), while jonquil  is also a key component in the wonder that is Vol De Nuit (Guerlain, 1933), one of the most opaque and elusive perfumes ever to exist, and a scent I find it almost impossible to describe, suffice it to say that that the addition of this precious floral essence suspended with galbanum and spice above the powdery orientalia make the Guerlain masterpiece a mysterious, floating, scent of pure enigma.

 

 

For those spring-slaking enthusiasts searching for more pronounced notes of fresh narcissus, Parfums de Nicolaï’s green floral Le Temps D’Un Fête is raved about by many perfumists, though I myself do find it a tad pissy, while for floraphiles yearning to be overcome by pure and new narcissus flowers, there is L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Narcisse: fresh bouquets of these flowers harvested and sequestered in a limited edition ‘special harvest’ every now and again and presented in bucolic wooden boxes.

 

 

The truly unafraid, committed narcissists will also want, I think,  to know about the existence of Santa Maria Novella’s ‘triple extract’ Narcissus, which has to be smelled to be believed. I experienced it once at the boutique in London, and I can tell you it is the most concentrated, urinous, indolic, foul-breathed flower to walk this earth, housed in a cruel, triangular golden bottle like a cruel Mayan sacrifice: a beauteous and thrilling shocker.

 

 

 

The thing is, when we think of the narcissus, we yearn to be pulled in by the flower’s own hypnotic sway; its living, breathing force field of sun-filled purity and endless dark mirrors. In a jardin noir, in a night garden of ‘fatally beautiful flowers,’ the narcissus, the jonquil, or even the sleeping daffodil, should intoxicate. We want Aubrey Beardslyian tendrils, a narcissus that will thrill our latent senses; violate us into semi-consciousness.

 

 

 

 

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The obscenely overpriced ‘Jonquille de Nuit’ (never have inverted commas seemed more appropriate), fails, utterly, to deliver what we expect and yearn for from a perfume with this name. It has deservedly been met with almost universal disappointment in the perfume universe (apart from those who are involved in Tom Ford’s hypnotically purple ad copy), and I can hardly be bothered to even describe it, to be honest; but as many of you who have clicked onto this site will be searching for this narcissus in hope of sensual salvation, I will try to lift my weary fingers up…. tap something – something into the keyboard.

 

 

Jonquille De Nuit 

 

An amorphous, generic, floral musky ambered base (reminiscent of my grandmother’s toilet circa 1978), overlayered, cynically, with a high class air freshener accord of ‘flora’; a few scintillating hints of flowers (narcissus? angelica?) that are briefly, very briefly persuasive, before it then flattens to an ineffectual, rudely synthetic scent that then all wilts into a faceless nothing on your skin…so cheap, so…..un-narcisse.

 

On the plus side, as a room fragrance, as a high class, deodorizing spritz, I must say I have quite been enjoying Jonquille de Nuit  (he coughs), as it gives a freshness, a brightness to the space, especially in the white-walled ‘videodrome’ – where I watch all my films – which is currently going through a white floral olfactory theme. I am happy to come home to this pleasantly interior designed artifice.

 

 

Nevertheless: with all the sensual promise inherent in a magical ‘Jardin Noir’, which should be enveloping, empoisoning and gorgeous, the forcefully unjaded perfume critic can only sigh resignedly at this Great Bulb Swindle (these flowers have never come into contact with the earth, I can assure you); feel resentment that such a piece of rubbish has wrecked quite a promising piece of writing; and, stumbling about in the chemically perfumed dark, on flowerless grass, not a pollinating insect in sight, realize to his child-like chagrin that he has unwittingly, intrepidly and foolishly, just stepped into the wrong Glade.

 

 

 

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Filed under Flowers, Jonquil, Narcissus, Perfume Reviews