Sunday, April 26, 2009

One viscous, one vibrant

Hoo, doggie.

Nikki Saint Phalle is a viscous beast.  Thick, tarry green, no limit to its depths.  Kind of like a broccoli rabe reduction with a hint of arugula at the edge.  I'm going to have to dip my toes in this pool a few times to see how I end up feeling about it...

...but I think there's a strong chance I'll enjoy the accumulated visits.  (Could the adjective here be anything but "strong"???)  

Meanwhile, wafting up and haunting me from another skin patch, a sample of Crepe du Chine.  Holy cow.  This one manages to be green and floral and bubbly all at once.  Curse you, discontinued scent.  Someday, I'm going to follow a heartbreak avoiding rule:  unless the formula is in production RIGHT NOW, just don't go there.  No sniffy.  Forget the waft.  Turn away.  Do not uncork.

Unfortunately, I did not spare my heart today.  There is this fabulous aroma rising from my elbow crook.  A not too flowery floral, ever so slightly effervescent...not at all what I find when I put my nose to skin.  Then it's green, a hint of bubble, just a little powder at the edges.  

And all in varying degrees in the space in between.  And therein lies the magic.  Once upon a time, a history professor introduced me to the idea of the icon in the Orthodox church--it wasn't the object itself, but the space between the icon and the worshipper that was revered.

Nose down, or nose up, I am in a bit of a reverie.  Perhaps I should root for disappointment on the return visit...and has been such fun.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vanilla and spring air

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

I saw a production of 1776 last night.  It's great to be at the theater...the smell of the greasepaint...the roar of the crowd...if you are in the audience, the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd....

Naw, the crowd smelled fine.  Not going to launch into a discussion of appropriate scents for close quarters with unfamiliars.  (Though I must say, I was wearing En Passant, and it seemed just right, including for that consideration.)  I was struck, however, when John and Abigail Adams are singing their letters to each other, and John asks

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

It rang a few sympathetic chords.  First of all, spring has been a long time coming here in the Great Lakes midwest, and yesterday was notable for being a flat out true spring day, with a variety of birds chirping, sun shining, additional bulbs blooming, hosta peeking up, no jacket required, people in the park, etc. etc.  And the day continued into night, weatherwise, for the very first time.  I was able to step outside during intermission and leave my coat inside.  The air was fresh, but no longer winter crisp.  Today's rain is going to bring the perfect note on top, the smell of wet warmed earth and green growing bursting through.

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

The line also got me thinking historically.  There's been a lot of love going around the blogs for Vanille Galante recently.  Haven't had a chance to try it myself.  Certainly have enjoyed vanilla in other perfumes, like Kenzo Amour, and Organza Indecence.  But vanilla, the pods, the extract, the cooking, the texture...that's what would have scented Abigail.  Abigail there in the northeast, also spending every year anticipating spring.  Abigail, encouraging her spouse to his cause, raising kids on her own on a farm that was failing.  Making saltpeter.  Do you suppose she made saltpeter, and wondered if that was what her spouse now smelled like?  (Of course, he was in congress, not at war.)

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

A lot of us are switching to trying to smell like spring air right now, or at least adjusting our scents to work with the spring air.  And, of course, there is the perennial question of the Signature Scent, the holy grail of the one perfume you could wear always.  That defines you, by reflecting you and/or describing you.  Inviting a discussion about what it means to be described:  does it capture a set of experienceable qualities?  does it translate knowns into an amalgamated metaphor of you?  does it provide something new, something other, which isn't a document of tangibles but of an idea of you?

...spring air...

There is of course a metaphor lurking right on the surface of that lyric.  Does Abigail literally smell of spring air, as she does of vanilla?  Does John think of her smell as that scent idea, whatever the clean fresh growing smell of spring means to a given individual? you still smell of...

I needed this smell of spring air this year.  Of course--is there ever a year when it is not welcome and needed?  But this winter started early, came in hard, and lasted a loooooong time...accompanied by lots of relentless turmoil in my civilian life.  Nothing that shall go in the history books like Franklin, but the kind of thrumming that becomes part of the landscape...until the landscape itself changes.  

Spring, bringer of changes in the landscape.  Visually.  Aurally.  Scentsually.

Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?

Joy in constancy and whose absence leads to longing and nostalgia for the same.  And yet, that spring air also brings the idea of change, rebirths, fresh starts.  To have the ability to experience both in one life...

Thank goodness for spring air.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Polders are not Fjords

If you go to Luckyscent, and click on L'essence de Mastenbroek Eau de Polder, you will see that you are helpfully offered other scents you might like.  (The usual routine:  "If you like Jingle Bells, you might like White Christmas / The Christmas Song / Bell Jamboree.")  Among the suggestions for Eau de Polder fans: Geir Ness Geir.


That's like saying if you like South Pacific, you might like The Year of Living Dangerously or March of the Penguins.  Sure, all are stories whose geographical setting helps inform the action.  Yet, they are very different stories and realizations.  Likewise,  Eau de Polder and Geir are both supposed to be inspired by specific landscapes.  Contemplate the official copy for each:  
  • Geir:  "feel the Power of Norway which captures the cool freshness of crisp Norwegian mountains and the warm, sensual scent of exotic herbs and spices"
  • Eau de Polder:   "L’Essence de Mastenbroek is a perfume that expresses, in a variety of aromas, how life is in the polder of Mastenbroek..."     Luckyscent reveals the chosen aromas to include grass, hay, and herbs. (Story here; Luckyscent notes here.)
But inspiration is a conceptual link; in execution and experience, these two scents are nothing like each other.  (You can find how I felt about Geir Ness' women's scent, Leila, in an older post.)  It seems I embrace the polder...and leave the power of Norway to someone else.

I find Eau de Polder to be a wonderful embrace of sun, grass, hay, sweet...vaguely herbal in a garden and not medicinal way.  Remember, I'm the one who loves Bois Blond, who enjoys a well done amber, who gets pleasure when things like violet are anchored in the dirt and grass or hay are a bit warmed by the sun.  So anything that's sweet, viscous, and from the earth is a likely candidate to please me.

Yesterday, I tried Eau de Polder for the first time...but I've a feeling it's going to be one of those that always translate into "happy spot" when applied.