Sometimes I wake up and my brain has already, instinctively, reached out for a particular kind of smell: I know upon opening my eyes that only that smell will do. And yesterday it was cherry. Something sweet, light, and fruity. Reminiscent of freshly plucked cherries, the stalks intact, but also that deliciously cheap and artificial, cerise-coloured drink from my childhood: chip-shop cherryade.
I have two scents in my collection that happened to fit the bill perfectly (…the joy of a large collection and being able to pinpoint the specific in mood by reaching into ones cabinets!): G by Romeo Gigli, an early nineties concoction that fell by the wayside rather quickly (possibly because of its luridly overdesigned harlequin flacon) and Elizabeth Taylor’s cheerful, fulsome Diamonds and Rubies, which I have in perfume extract and which complements the greener, more bracing Gigli perfectly (wearing the rubies on my wrists and spraying the Gigli liberally elsewhere as I headed out to Tokyo on Saturday, I enjoyed their company throughout the day immensely). Both perfumes were released within a year of each other and comprise a very similar basic accord that is pleasing and somehow serotonin-boosting when you are in the mood for easy comfort.
Despite the complexity of the notes contained in G, the perfume comes off as simple and buono, a warm yet fresh fragrance with a gorgeously Italian optimism: two different themes fusing deliciously with each other after initial apparent frictions. The vanillic cedar of the base, with its clean, gentle orchids, wisps of sandalwood and oakmoss, is far from apparent in the Milanese zest of the opening: an inventive, herbaceous scherzo on pineapple, citrus, green notes and a curious dose of fresh tarragon leaves that is quite frankly delightful. Cloves, not listed in the official notes but apparent to my nose, cleave to the floral heart (cyclamen, jasmine, rose and orris), but the tarragon remains throughout like star anise in a fragrant compote de fruits. When spritzed, G de Gigli is immediately happy and uplifting, but subtle: it lasts for hours yet remains close to the skin like a flower-patterned silk.
A more American riff on morello is Elizabeth Taylor’s Diamonds and Rubies, which is also constructed on a ambery cedar base with lashes of orchid, but which is richer, more powdery and, well, Elizabeth Taylor than the Romeo Gigli: a thick-waisted embrace of sweet cherry liquor: heliotrope, ylang, orris, cyclamen and bitter almond; red rose, benzoin and peach. The base of the scent is significantly erotic, in a mature, experienced kind of way, while the opening – tender, as fluffily romantic as a puffed up angora sweater, has the blow-dry glamour of a pressed, immaculate Floridian dame: soignée, not a hair out of place on that dandelion head: yet benign, loveable; sweet.
I have tried Diamonds & Rubies only in parfum form, but can say it is surprisingly enjoyable and well-made: recommended for those who like an ‘occasion’ floriental. Although I wear these two only rarely, I like knowing they are there: scents with a ripe, cherry-lipped goodness. They are both available for a song at online discounters.