Saturday, April 14, 2007

After My Own Heart

I spent the weekend in Jerusalem, and on my Friday’s twilight stroll, I found a bush of lilac in full bloom. The scent of fresh lilacs is dreamy yet also awakening with its subtle green twig nuances. The delicate aroma of the lilac branch I picked ealier, as well as my reunion with my lilac-lover friend Zohar made me crave a spritz of Ineke’s After My Own Heart.

Ineke’s perfumes, unlike their longish titles, are minimalist and calculated. The lilac-bouquet named After My Own Heart is an alphabetized representation of the emotion of longing and romance: a burst of lilac flowers, twigs and all, softly brushing against a blushing cheek in an anticipation for caressing kiss. A promise of love, the buds of passion invoked by hints of indole (I detect distant jasmine and cassie here...) and the luscious juice dripping off freshly picked raspberries. As the crushed twigs and rubbed petals lose their freshness, they make room for rosy and powdery accords, gradually sweetening into a dry out of musk, vanilla and heliotrope.

Lilac perfumes, and particularly ones that capture the imagination as well as the scent of these delicate flowers are sparse and few. Lilac absolute, if it can at all be obtained, is not at all comparable to that of the fresh flowers. Therefore lilac perfumes relay heavily on the use of synthetic compounds that reconstruct the aroma of the fresh living flowers, usually by the means of the headspace technique*. The challenge with lilac as with other flowers that don’t yield themselves well to distillation is to create a genuine impression of the flower that does not feel too artificial and imposed. I’ve smelled this happen with Olivia Giacobettie’s En Passant, where the lilac is chilling, powdery and reminiscent of the blooming twigs and crushed leaves on a foggy day. Ineke Ruhland’s After My Own Heart gives lilac a different interpretation, less abstract and aloof than En Passant. It’s a romantic, dreamy lilac, creating a fleeting yet sensual presence of petals, powder, fruit and musk.

I'd like to conclude with the "transcript" of the little poem in the image above (from Ineke's website):

After and before
Today and tomorrow
Sand becoming a wave
What was it I saw at the top of the world
as I fell asleep last night?
I tried putting lilacs in your dreams
You smiled in your sleep
I hear your words like the wind
whispering in my ear
the most enchanting words
after my own heart

* According to, nowadays, lilac is often produced with the headspace technique. (E)-ocimene is the most dominant in the makeup of the scent, yet it is the furanoid terpene aldehyde , AKA lilac aldehyde, benzyl methyl ether,
1,4-dimethoxybenzene (hydroquinone dimethyl ether) and indole which give lilac is characteristic odour. The other important odorants which give lilac its characteristic smell. Benzyl methyl ether has an intense fruity-etheral scent which is reminiscent of the top notes of ylang ylang. Lilac headspace also contains minute amounts of anisaldehyde, 8-oxolinalool, cinnamic alcohol and elemicin.

** To read another review of After My Own Heart, visit Legerdenez

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