Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pissing off the yogis: Guerlain Samsara


Last night I had to go directly from a yoga class at my local YMCA to a dinner with my thesis adviser and my husband, so I dabbed on a few drops of my favorite dinner perfume, Samsara, that love-it-or-hate it child of the eighties.

It was only when I was sweating my way through my seventh sun salutation that I realized that the samsara was radiating off my body in waves because my body temperature had gone up. I was a little embarrassed. Although I love Samsara, many don’t, and the peace-loving essential oils or bust crowd assembled in that room probably was not appreciating my parfum de choix. I was perfectly happy, of course. The sandalwood and vanilla was going nuts, and I was enjoying my little fantasy journey beyond the confines of the utilitarian gym space filled with grumpy yuppies.

Then the irony of the whole thing struck me; here we were, a bunch of overworked white professionals, trying to snag a moment in our days to seek enlightenment, and here I was, bringing everyone down with my inescapable cycle of death and rebirth, my samsara, the very thing from which real yogis are trying to liberate themselves. The sheer ridiculousness of the whole affair struck me, and I almost cracked up, but I saved the moment. I’m sure that would have made me even more popular with this crowd. I mean, two people in the room were actually wearing t-shirts that identified themselves somewhat self-righteously as vegan.

My final moment of near-humiliation came when the yoga instructor, after having walked by my mat, suddenly announced: “I encourage everyone to check out the sign when they leave the room” and my mind reeled in horror. That sign had just been put up, and it asked everyone to bring their own mats, refrain from wearing heavy jewelry or wearing strong perfume, and to come on time. Oh shit. But thanksfully, she continued: “Everyone should start bringing their own mats, and if you need help finding one, just come talk to me after class…” Thankfully, she must not have caught the little greenhouse of jasmine, vanilla bean, tonka, and sandalwood screaming out of my every pore in my corner of the room. Phew. But next time, I’ll wear something a bit more sedate, that won’t prevent nirvana in its very name. LOL!

Bvlgari Thé Blanc

I have to sit in a graduate seminar on Chaucer and Gower today, and it’s a tight space; I’ll need to wear something that is super close to the skin and unoffensive; most of my colleagues are of the modern perfume-haters school. I guess I will choose one of the least offensive—and least interesting—frags on my shelf. Bvlgari’s Thé Blanc will fit the bill. It is pleasant yet not far-reaching, wears well, and doesn’t smell anything like white tea (LOL). At times I enjoy its nondescript, expensive soapiness—it smells less like perfume and more like a good shower. And it certainly won’t distract me from my profound cogitations on Middle English poetry ; ).

There; I put it on. I will report back later to let you know whether I am still pleased with my nondescript self when I get back from the university today.

Back now: no one noticed. ; )

Tea and Fragrance, Part One

I have been thinking about two of my favorite teas, and wondering if an analysis of their properties might not get me closer to understanding my own fragrance preferences. They are as different as night and day, but equally wonderful in my mind. The first, Russian Caravan, is a deep, extremely smoky, black tea. It smells like tea and smoke in the most fabulously romantic way in the pot, and has a deep blackish brown color. There is, in my opinion, no other tea that goes as well with as many savory foods. Its smokiness makes it perfect for brunches with meat and eggs—it tastes absolutely lovely with sausage, bacon, and all that, for its depth of flavor matches or even exceeds the foodstuffs, and it complements the meaty, creamy flavors of breakfast so well. I love it with a bit of milk with some fat content, for it rounds out and enhances the smokiness of the tea and eliminates any potential bitterness.


The other tea is very different from Russian Caravan, but no less exotic. China Rose is a lovely black tea with rose petals in it like Jasmine tea. The rose petals are magnificent with the black tea, which is itself quite delicate, and the whole thing, when steeped, has such a rich yet delicate, romantic smell that I wish I could bottle it. I love this tea alone, or with fruit, or, perhaps especially, with cardamom flavored deserts.

OK, so this tells me I love intriguingly nostalgic, classic romantic florals with a hint of greenness and bitterness, and deep, exotic, smoky things that take me somewhere else in my head—but still go well with food. Um, that sounds exactly like my tastes in fragrance. I will have to give this more thought; what other teas do I love, and will they help me understand myself even more? This will be a project in self-discovery….
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My favorite Fragrances right now (note to self)

-Guerlain Vetiver
-Chanel Bois des Iles
-Estee Lauder sensuous
-Cade
-Tea Rose
-Burt's Bees Bay rum
-L'occitan Pour Homme
-Zents Earth
-Guerlain Samsara
-Pacifica Waikiki Pikake
(March 31, 2010)

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