Thursday, September 14, 2006

Inbetweening* with Perfumes

Banksy: A guerilla in our midst, originally uploaded by !HabitForming.

Of course, all of this wouldn’t matter a dime if it wasn’t connected to perfume, somehow. For those two or three weeks dangling between summer and autumn, I like to surround myself with rather bizarre scents that don’t seem to make too much sense on the outside, but for me they mean just that – the anticipation of darkness in the presence of light.

Dusky, incensy white florals – there is something indulgent and cheerful about white florals. The ones that are underlined by incense, maybe even a hint of patchouli and spice – are the most intriguing and mysterious; and while very pretty – they radiate an aura of Femme Fatale that is ready to surprise any minute. My favourites of these are Noix de Tubereuse and White Potion – and most recently I also added to these Songes with its sweet, somewhat naïve charm; and Chinatown, with its sophisticated and modern mélange of gardenia, five spice, sandalwood incense and a coarse-voiced murmur of patchouli. Tuberose is particularly autumnal in my opinion, and I also suggest you try other beauties such as Carnal Flower from Frederic Malle. Orange blossom can also be an intriguing autumnal note when paired with dangerous notes such as civet and narcissus – as in Narcisse Noir by Caron. I also recommend Pure Poison by Dior for a modernized take on the marriage between white florals (namely orange blossom, gardenia and tuberose), along with incense and amber. But if you are amongst the fortunate to have access to a Caron boutique, I can’t think of a better scent for the season than Farnesiana. A perfection of cassie flowers and a bittersweet dark Caron base accentuated by tonka bean.

Coumarin compositions – the bittersweet effect of these hay-like compositions make them feel dangerous and delightful at once. My favourites are Yohji, with it’s green galbanum opening and a hint of marine, which dries down to a powdery delight of amber and vanilla; and Yerbamate – another deceptive scents that opens with a dry, herbal and extremely bitter wormwood (absinthe) and sense of soapiness and cleanliness that is very masculine, with notes of mate, lavender and dry hay, but than turns sweeter into a tonka and coumarin concoction. You may also want to try Fou d’Absinthe and Yatagan, from a similar category.

What about the leathers? And the Chypres? I will wait till the leaves change their colours to do so. By than, the scent of Chypre will dominate the forests, as the leaves will dry, fall and start to disintegrate and meld with the wet earth.

* Inbetweening is a term from animation, which is the poses used inbetween key poses, in order to smoothen up the movement and make it more (or less!) realistic.

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At September 16, 2006 8:08 PM, Blogger nancy said...

Ayala, we are clearly thinking in sync. Just today I was reviewing my fragrance collection and thinking about which scents I need to bring into active rotation for these summer-into-fall weeks, and Yerbamate was on my list! I will also be pulling out L'Artisan Mure et Musc and Caron Farnesiana, which I love as much as you do. On a tuberose note, today I procured a sample of Bond No. 9 Fire Island and will be wearing it in the days to come as well.

At September 16, 2006 10:56 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

That's fascinating!
You are going to love Fire Island as well. Maybe it will help us keep summer for just a few more days...
I am not familiar with Mure et Musc but have a sample of the Extreme version, which I will be trying very soon.

Isn't Farensiana amazing?
I noticed that Caron has a couple of more mimosa-ish perfumes - Acaciosa and Mimosa. Have you tried these before? How do they compare to Farensiana?

At September 18, 2006 7:23 AM, Blogger nancy said...

I don't remember smelling a Caron Mimosa, but I have sampled Acaciosa from the urns. If my foggy memory recalls correctly, it was a sweet floral with none of the comforting semi-gourmand quality of Farnesiana, which I have seen described as "violety macaroons."

Mure et Musc edt is one of my all-time favorites and the only berry-musk scent I can wear. It's not jammy-sweet; it's more of a clean skin scent with an occasional whiff of blackberry. (The initial reaction of people who have smelled it on me has been "That smells really clean.") The Extreme version emphasizes the berry more.


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