vendredi 20 janvier 2017

My Top 10 for the Winter of 2017: Scents of comfort and fortitude


Perfume feels like a very frivolous topic to address on this particular day, given the obscenity of what is unfolding in Washington as this post goes up.

Yet… Our focus on scent is less trivial than it seems. Smell is a sense that people mostly use to detect and reject -- food that’s gone bad, but also the cooking of others, the smells of others. As perfume lovers, we’re able to go beyond that gut-level, “this isn’t me/us” rejection. Not just because of our fabled fascination for skank, but because we’ve learned to embrace notes we didn’t care about initially. We’re willing to approach them, spend time with them, “see” them differently. Go past our prejudices. Find out more.

This openness, this willingness to engage with otherness through the most intimate of our senses (along with taste) could stand as a metaphor for the open-mindedness we need to counter the rancid stench of toxic masculinity that is creeping over our poor planet. We also need the curiosity and love of knowledge that yielded the teeming culture we’ve created around perfume. Disregard for facts starts with the B.S. we get fed to make us buy stuff. It ends in post-truth.

In the short, cold days of winter, we crave warmth, comfort and light. Today more than ever. So here’s a mix of the new and old, to fight the cold and help us stand up. Scents of comfort and fortitude. As our dear departed Leonard Cohen sang in Anthem: “There’s a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in.”

Monday January 23rd
Just adding this whiff of the Women's March, from a piece by Laurie Penny:

"Inauguration Day stank of limp rage and lukewarm hotdogs, lost-looking people shivering in American flags, the crowd too thin to keep each other warm. The Women’s March smelled of paint and glue and, not unpleasantly, of lots of nice ladies sweating lightly under sensible knitwear, realizing that they have more power in numbers than they ever guessed."  


Little Bianca (Mizensir)
Smells don’t cheat, little Bianca. They speak to the heart, in a language that always tells the truth”, writes Alberto Morillas in the press release for Little Bianca, the rose cologne he composed for his granddaughter. A simple, luminous scent that brings together “everything I love, simple, beautiful scents so you’ll recognize what is true and essential”. This includes Paradisone, a gorgeous upgrade of hedione, which smells like the souls of all the white flowers that died for us and went to heaven. But the main ingredient is love.

Cologne pour le Soir (Maison Francis Kurkdjian)
Often neglected in favor of its more outrageous variation Absolue pour le soir, this powdery, honeyed, incense-infused scent is as softly comforting as its inspiration, the benzoin-based Papier d’Arménie.

Ambre Éternel (Guerlain)
Despite its name, this isn’t the creamy vanilla and cistus blend called “amber” in perfumery, but a gauzy aura of frosty, carroty iris layered over incense-infused orange blossom. A touch of sweet smokiness lingers like the faint memory of a log fire on a woolen scarf.

Close Up (Olfactive Studio)
Perfumery’s Riot Grrrl Annick Menardo finds the sweet spot connecting amber, cherry and tobacco on the toffee-to-coffee continuum. Anise and green coffee provide the link with the licorice-y tonka. Caramel-smooth, toasty, incredibly long-lasting and unexpectedly tough.

Oeillet Bengale (Aedes de Venustas)
The pepper-sparked, incense-fuelled carnation explosion set off by Rodrigo Flores Roux has been a winter mainstay of mine since it came out. I’d warm myself up with the Mexican firebrand at the Women’s March if I were in Washington tomorrow…

Blackpepper (Comme des Garçons)
As a (symbolic) antidote to pepper spray: after the initial blast of the titular ingredient, Antoine Maisondieu’s dark blend unfolds into a marquetry of faux noirs ranging from the dark-chocolate smoothness of tonka to the matte amber of clary sage, by way of flint, dust, leather and tar. 

Encre Noire (Lalique)
Vetiver is the most vertical ingredient I know: the very definition of an olfactory backbone. Deftly faceted by Nathalie Lorson, Encre Noire brings out glints of flint and bitter chocolate. 

Cuir de Russie (Chanel)
Remember that scene at the end of Casablanca? Captain Renault (Claude Rains) bins a bottle of Vichy water, ditching the collaborationist French government (then based in the spa town of Vichy) to go over to the Resistance with Rick. Given the current circumstances, the scene popped into my mind as I reached for Chanel’s classic… But I’m hanging on to the EDT version I bought days after Obama was first elected. The new EDP version, while lovely, tones down the cool sheen of aldehydes and that slight stable-y funk, while amping up the musks. In either version, this olfactory emblem of women’s emancipation in the 20s is still pretty badass.

 N°19 (Chanel)
To remember that spring does come back, eventually. Because I need a scent with a backbone. A scent that is irrefutable. I’ve got a couple of vintage bottles in the fridge, along with a recent-ish extrait that’s still glorious.

Aromatics Elixir (Clinique)
I recently caught a patchouli-laden whiff of this in an office and thought: this classic American fragrance is unimpeachable

For more seasonal round-ups, see the usual suspects:


The picture above was taken by me in Montreal.

39 commentaires:

  1. Tee hee - Elixir unimpeachable! Unlike a certain other ..... Thanks for making me smile on this dark day.
    Jillie

    RépondreSupprimer
  2. What can I say? I'm not big on escapism -- people had a whale of a time in the cabarets of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 30s, and look where that got them. But we need to turn to things that are beautiful and true (and humor) to make it through.

    RépondreSupprimer
  3. Thank you for writing this. As democracy in my country (Brazil) is falling apart in the hands of white rich men as well, I've had the same thoughts: first that perfume might be too frivolous a subject for now, and then that perfumistas constitute an international community that fosters peace and cosmopolitism, something not to be under estimated in these dark times. So I' wearing Nez à Nez Marron Chic to get this spine straight and reading Angela Davis as I sip some truly strong coffee. Winter is coming, but love and humanist values will prevail. (Btw, have you read Chantal Jaquet's Philosophie de l'odeur? It's outstanding.) Xoxo

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. I'm glad this finds an echo with you. I've only been once to Brazil (to interview eco-warrior artist and anti-Nazi fighter Franz Kracjberg), but I've been following the events there in dismay. And, yes, I have read Jaquet. Slowly but surely, my shelf of academic studies on perfume is building up!

      Supprimer
  4. Amazing list!
    Thanks for riding this, its like you took the words right out of my mouth when it comes to the state of the world today. Have a fragrant day ahead!

    RépondreSupprimer
  5. Here in the States on inauguration day I'm wearing Back to Black and am dressing accordingly. If I had any La Fin du Monde I'd be tempted to wear that. However, tomorrow I will be wearing Luctor et Emergo, wearing my pink pussycat and demonstrating for truth and justice with my family, friends and hundreds of thousands of others. I suspect that I will be making a lot of use of your excellent list in the coming months, as well as some Jasmin et Cigarette which for me is greatly reminiscent of what I smelled at demonstrations back in the 1960's and 1970's. Who would think after all these years and so much progress that we would have to be marching again? Your message and your photo are spot on.

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Kathryn, in my heart I'll be marching with you... Over the past few years, I've been getting angrier over that wave of petty rancid rancor that's been pushing back tolerance and sanity. I suspect here in France we'll be out marching too -- hopefully before the worst happens.

      Supprimer
  6. Great post for this winter of our discontent... hoping France fares better in her elections than the US did. I am really looking forward to sniffing Close Up. Cologne pour le Soir is a favourite of mine too.

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. I hope so too. And, yes, I do think you might like Close Up -- it's quite a sillage monster too, and with the half-life of plutonium, but very deftly done.

      Supprimer
  7. Denyse, thank you for your wit and your list. I needed it tremendously today, and maybe the next four years. I had to get out my black cylinder of 70's First.

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Alanna, my 70s First is long gone -- along, it seems, with all the promises that decade made. I'm happy this post helped a little. We're going to need a lot of comfort and fortitude in the years to come, if we're going to resist and push back!

      Supprimer
  8. I like several of these and need to try the others on your list. In general, I've been wearing Jacomo Parfum Rare Coeur de Parfum often this winter.

    I wore L'AP Fleur d'Oranger 2007 to the Women's March yesterday. I'm not sure what was more heartening: seeing the endless river of people pouring into the Mall in DC to stand up for human rights, or learning about the sister marches all over the world. You're so right about the conjunction between openness, curiosity, truth, beauty, and, I think, justice. nozknoz

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Nozknoz, you're right about justice... You know, I was just thinking about all these Hollywood movies where the hero is a loner fighting against the establishment trying to stifle the truth (or in cahoots with the bad guys). The poor deluded f***wits embracing "alternate truths" are just following that narrative...
      I too followed the demonstrations worldwide, and was heartened to see that *ocean* of shocking pink pussyhats. There needs to be a follow-up, and it needs to be worldwide. But just going out there and being together has made is feel stronger.

      Supprimer
  9. I enjoyed your winter top 10, and I'm reminded that Cologne pour le Soir is on my list of scents I must try someday. And thank you for th elink to Laurie Penny's article. I needed to read those words right now.

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Tiffanie, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We need every bit of comfort and beauty to give us strength to #resist.

      Supprimer
  10. There are some stinks to which one shall never get used.

    RépondreSupprimer
  11. Encre Noire is my favourite. Thanks for your list :)

    RépondreSupprimer
  12. %100 Guaranteed World Wide Delivery-Safe and Secured Payment Methods
    [url]Buy Firearms online,Buy Glock pistols online,Buy Glock 17,Buy Glock 19 online,Buy Glock 22 online,Buy Riffle Firearms online

    beretta for sale

    glock 30 for sale

    glock gun store

    beretta 92fs for sale

    sig sauer p938 for sale

    RépondreSupprimer
  13. %100 Guaranteed World Wide Delivery-Safe and Secured Payment Methods
    [url]Buy Firearms online,Buy Glock pistols online,Buy Glock 17,Buy Glock 19 online,Buy Glock 22 online,Buy Riffle Firearms online

    beretta for sale

    glock 30 for sale

    glock gun store

    beretta 92fs for sale

    sig sauer p938 for sale

    RépondreSupprimer
  14. %100 Guaranteed World Wide Delivery-Safe and Secured Payment Methods
    Buy Firearms online,Buy Glock pistols online,Buy Glock 17,Buy Glock 19 online,Buy Glock 22 online,Buy Riffle Firearms online

    Email: sales@gunmonster.com
    Phone | Whatsapp: +1(573) 684-3328

    RépondreSupprimer
  15. Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work,If anyone interested similar one's have a look here thanks

    shih tzu puppies for sale near me

    listateacuppuppies for sale online

    buy shih tzu puppy online

    RépondreSupprimer
  16. Need help to make the major shift to a new ERP?, Nevas Technologies can help support your current Microsoft Dynamics NAV Environment irrespective of the version that you are on.We Provide Functional, Technical, Production support and Infrastructure (Server Maintenance, Finetuning, and so on…) services for your current Microsoft Dynamics Navision application. We also provide upgrade services of your old MS Navision version to the latest Dynamics Navision 2016/2017/2018 versions if you are not ready to upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central or Unified Operations.

    RépondreSupprimer
  17. Great blog with some wonderful articles. Glad to find your blog.
    스포츠토토

    RépondreSupprimer
  18. Thank you for publishing a very informative post. Every post of yours is very awesome, we feel satisfied by reading it. Please keep writing such post further. 파워볼사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  19. This article is quite interesting and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for sharing this article with us. 바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  20. Thank you for sharing this information. I read your blog and I can't stop my self to read your full blog. Again Thanks and Best of luck to your next Blog in future.
    바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  21. All your hard work is much appreciated. This content data gives truly quality and unique information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very beneficial tips are provided here and, Thank you so much. Keep up the good works.바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  22. 토토사이트
    안전놀이터

    Thank you for posting this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment.
    I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook.
    Thanks again for a great article!

    RépondreSupprimer
  23. 토토
    먹튀검증

    I am sure this post has touched all the internet users, its really really pleasant piece of writing
    on building up new webpage.

    RépondreSupprimer
  24. This is the perfect post. It helped me a lot. 바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  25. Great information you shared through this blog. Keep it up and best of luck for your future blogs and posts. 바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  26. Great & nice articles with a lot of information to read. 바둑이게임

    RépondreSupprimer
  27. Thank you for sharing this useful information, I will regularly follow your blog. 바카라사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  28. You made some good points there. I did a Google search about the topic and found most people will believe your blog. 먹튀검증

    RépondreSupprimer
  29. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?토토사이트

    RépondreSupprimer
  30. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you 메이저안전놀이터

    RépondreSupprimer
  31. Really informative post. I personally thought the written post is well suited and trouble-free for me to go after provided guideline. visit this site to find out more메이저토토

    RépondreSupprimer