Friday, July 23, 2010

Pairing: Bonne chance, gentiane + Ninfeo Mio

The other day, two new things in two of my favorite categories.

One:  Gentian liqueur.
Two:  Ninfeo Mio perfume.

Within a block of each other.

Sprayed the Ninfeo Mio first, in a tiny cute shop tucked away on a street leading from the Metro stop to the D'Orsay museum.  Could have predicted enjoying Goutal's version of a "bracing" opening--refreshing, but not so much a hard slap as the quick schmack! followed by the 'not really painful but you can tell something violent led to' relief of cold water splashed on hot pavement.  The bergamot is part of that.  A lemony bergamot that is quickly pulled back by some dryness, dryness which doesn't remove the citrus, but makes it behave differently.  The kind of thing DH calls "peppery."  (Sharp generally = "peppery" in his book, especially if bergamot is involved.)  Quite pleasing, if you go in for that sort of thing.  And I do.

Later, it transitions into a smooth herby gently sweet something.  Which I want to experience again.  And plan to.  And perhaps will describe better then.  But meanwhile, I was distracted by...

...gentiane.  On a cafe menu.  I've been enjoying this business of the public aperitif; back home, I'm like some lady in her dotage, sneaking a nip of the sherry when cooking.  You see, nobody "does" aperitifs in my local circles.  I'm working on changing that...but for now, if I'm enjoying an apertif, it's generally just me and my gardening companion The 70 Pound Dog, sitting out on the patio, staring at the plants and trying to conjecture what I can cook in 30 minutes or less that will seem like it was something I gave serious consideration for part of the day.  (The old days of no time to stop to breathe seem to have their most serious vestiges in my cooking habits...)

Here, my spouse joins me, and we join others, and there's a whole shelf of things to choose from.  Not always gentiane, however, so I took my chance.  And it was bitter herbal tonically good.  Fabulous color, too...not the hyper fluorescence of absinthe, but something that the good forest might have conjured.

Those herbs?  I fancied I found them in the drydown of Ninfeo Mio.  Tucked away among a layer of gentle floral.

This is one corner of Paris I'll be able to enjoy in my grotto, whether I am alone or with company.  Give me a ring if you're in the neighborhood; I'll set you up.  A slap on the wrist and a sharp in the glass.

If you don't like 'em, you can always swap for Shalimar and a vanilla creme soda.


Ines said...

What a wonderful way to enjoy Paris!
You should come visit Croatia - people are going to look strange at you here if you want to skip aperitif. :)
After all, we are a Slavic nation, enjoying alcohol is part of our lives. And before this starts sounding very strange, what I meant is that everyone around me drinks exclusively for the enjoyment of the beverage in amounts that don't lead to inebriation.

Ines said...

Forgot the P.S. part in my comment. :)
I sent you an email at the beginning of the week - is everythink ok with your email address or perhaps you are not checking it but enjoying the Paris to the full? :)

flittersniffer said...

Glad you are getting into the aperitif habit - very civilised if you ask me. Sun over the yard arm and all that business.

Ninfeo Mio was not so much a thwack on my skin as a constant little needling, much as I imagine the administration of botox to feel like. Some pretty notes in there - but can't get past the "hypodermic herbal" aspect.

La Bonne Vivante said...

OOH, I am even more jealous than I was before! What a lovely trip you are having!

ScentScelf said...


Croatia is now officially on my "want to" list. :)

LOL at your clarification...I get it! It's not a sloppy drunk habit, it's just a lovely generally practiced rite that nobody would give me an extra glance for if I indulged. And, I would.

Cocktail culture has enjoyed a couple of resurgences here, but the have been ironic or highly self-aware, the latest being largely connected to a show called "Mad Men." We are a nation of temperance and of all-night keggers--extremes. Me, I'd just like to mix one up and enjoy part of the night before retiring at a comfortable hour.

So now, in addition to mining you for Croatian words, I'm going to have to ask what a typical aperitif (or drink of any variety) would be...

ScentScelf said...


Don't be jealous! Okay, be jealous. Just don't be mad. :) I mean, how can I deny what a great opportunity this is? It *is* lovely, and I feel quite fortunate.

ScentScelf said...


Sun over the yardarm indeed! (Do you think my clothesline will serve as a reasonable substitute? Do you think if I start moving it about the yard to serve my inclinations it will still count as a fair measure of when 'tis fair to start?)

Ick. "Constant needling." That does not sound pleasant. Smiling at the Botox reference...for some reason I always thought of those injections as a sort of inside-out administration of Novacaine. But prickly little toxins do make a lot of sense...

...I'm glad that wasn't "my" Ninfeo Mio! I remain on alert for the next trial, however, and shall report back.

Ines said...

OMG, what did you start? :)
The most common aperitif would be rakija - used generally as a cure for many things; sth's wrong with your stomach, have a shot; you have a headache? - rub some on that place and have a shot (can be applied to any body part)...
Rakija (rahkeeya) is usually made out of grapes (but any fruit can be used, most often plums and pears - pears make for the best rakija called Viljamovka, I think that is from the Williams pear). There are different varieties of it - usually you add something to the one made from grapes (if not, then it's called loza).
If you add herbs - it's travarica (trava= herb), you can make sweet liquour from it using honey, cherries, green chestnuts, etc. Anyway, depending on which part of Croatia you visit, you will get offered a different type of rakija, but believe me, you will be offered some anywhere you go. :)
People here are especially proud of making it and will try and make you try it whenever possible.