Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Caron L'Anarchiste, and other smoke

Would you like some tobacco with that?

The other day, I was driving down a city street, and saw cigarette smoke foofed out the window of the car ahead of mine. I wondered if part of the cloud would make its way to me, as it often does...and indeed it did. Good, I thought; I had a plan.

I had recently read someone musing how certain perfumes would have smelled in the era of rampant cigarette smoking, and in fact speculating that perhaps some vintage scents were designed for just such an experience. In other words, they were constructed with the assumption you would almost always experience someone's perfume through a cloud of smoke. And there was I, ambling through city traffic, with a fairly fresh shot of Chergui on the back of my hand. I was ready. What if.....

Zonk! There it was. A layer of cigarette smoke over the dense comfort of Chergui. And you know what? It had a certain appeal. I am not a smoker; not only am I frequently nauseated by the smell, I play a wind instrument, so there's no good end in taking up what would probably be a bad addiction on my part. But. There I was, inhaling the Chergui through the cigarette smoke, and nodding my head. I could see the appeal.

My ruminations went in the direction of incense + Chergui....

Not that day, but today, I tried Caron L'Anarchiste for the first time. Tobacco. Not the plant-y tobacco of Fleur de Narcisse, but cigarette smoke. Something bright inside, but a dense cloud of tobacco at the opening. As it settles in, the tobacco pulls back, and the something bright is denser than you originally thought, a bit sweeter, a hint of spice, as if the time spent with the tobacco allowed some sort of apple juice to be mulled into a flavored, thicker beverage. With tobacco still swirling around the edges, natch. Eventually, the tobacco gets sucked back into the mulled brew, popping its head to the surface every now and then. [time passes] Oh, this is not a good evolution. Tobacco = gone. Sharp bright apple, also spice = gone way inside. What is this outer juice that's left? Smells like... after-shave.

Nonetheless, I may have to adjust my expectations of what scents to pull out for fall. Next post, I'll continue rummaging in the men's cabinet, and pull out Caron Third Man.

13 comments:

Nathan Branch said...

Oh! I think you're going to love Third Man.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

How interesting- I never thought about the effect cigarette smoke would have on scent- I guess traveling in Europe right now, where so many more people smoke, it affects things... I was thinking my Narcisco Rodriguez smelled differently yesterday...

Perfumeshrine said...

Great post: there is perhaps something to be said about classical perfumes being more simpatico to smoking. Then again most perfumers did smoke back then!

The next to try this way are -per my intuition- Fifi (a natural for this sort of thing), Ambre Narguile (should be interesting!), Barbara Bui .

Lucy said...

Personally I find the cigarette/cigar scent when it is first lit, or burning, is the one that first hits me as extremely seductive. It's the burn of the tobacco, and the last of the match/flame together. I think you are right and the combination of certain perfumes and the culture of smoking would be something that went together well. Watching Mad Men I am reminded of just how much people used to incessantly smoke.

The smoke from an exhale is the stuff that gives me an instant headache, and has that unpleasant scent edge to it. I think it is the part that contains the toxins. I smoked for many years, and loved it. It was so hard to stop. I smoked while I painted, while I had coffee, it was associated with so many thoughtful and delightful things. But it turned a corner and of course I had to stop. Now if I walk past a smoker I say to myself, thank god, it's not me. But I do love a tobacco scented perfume, still.

ScentScelf said...

Nathan, I'm feeling lucky...

ScentScelf said...

Daily, I wondered if cigarette smoke was still easily found there...and now you've got me thinking about changes in locale and the potential effect on scent. Hmmm....

ScentScelf said...

Helg? Hi!
I see where you're going with the Fifi and the Ambre Narguile...hmm, I don't know Barbara Bui, but I shall investigate!

Yes, one does start to ponder the historical context that might have affected a creative "nose"...

ScentScelf said...

Lucy, I think you have a point about the exhale smoke being the irritating component. I do hate being next to a smoker...but during the (short, social situation-instigated) time I did smoke, I had no problem inhaling my OWN smoke.

I really need to check out Mad Men. Too many people I find interesting find it interesting...

Lucy Fishwife said...

Hi! As a smoker (sorry) I am totally the wrong person to comment - although I have found that certain scents "suit" it - incense (Comme des Garcons "Avignon"), scents that are smoky anyway like "Tea For Two2 by l'Artisan Parfumeur, and of course the slightly odd "Jasmin Et Cigarette" by Etat Libre d'Orange. Some things transcend it, again heavy smoky smells like amber and vanilla - and I can say with full connaissance de cause that smoking and l'Eau d'Issey DO NOT MIX and indeed may cause migraines...

Divina said...

Have to second Ambre Narguile as well as Jasmine et cigarettes by Etat Libre d'Orange. A tiny drop of pure atlas cedar essential oil undreneath will add a smoky quality to florals sprayed on top. mmm! As for pure sweet tobacco instead of smoke, I really have to recommend Neil Morris' Burnt Amber!

ScentScelf said...

Lucy F.,
LOL at the Issey/smoking mix; will be sure to avoid should I ever lapse into "social smoking" again. I agree, at least based on what I've noticed so far--it is the amber and vanilla that are well suited to a smoke chaser or layer. Methinks musk + smoke might lead to headache for me as well.

ScentScelf said...

Divina,
What an interesting idea...a drop of atlas cedar, eh? I'm going to try that soon.

Qwendy over at Notes on Cake, Shoes, & Perfume recently shared a trick using ambergris...my life may soon be full of a drop of this, a nick of that.

:)

Jenavira13 said...

Okay, I really need to try this. Thanks for creating a lemming smell need! :-P