Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hermes bel ami

Hermes bel ami is a gorgeous surprise! The citrus at the top is perfectly calibrated with the spice and the woods below it, and smells so refined. I get a little dirt topsoil note too-probably vetiver, that grounds this and makes it spread out. It reminds me--in the best way-- of sweat, bitter and salty, and I can imagine being very turned on by a man who wore this. What blows me away about this is that it smells so complete, so perfect in its way, both craggy and rounded. A contradiction in its very nature. I guess that is what leather is; something that is smooth yet durable and edgy at the same time. I love the idea of a perfume paradox.

Serge Lutens Clair de musc

musk deer I just tried a tester of this straight musky scent and am impressed with it. I then checked online reviews, and was somewhat surprised to see so many people put this down, saying pretty much the same thing, every one of them--an unexciting, well-behaved musk. Suspicious, I checked my copy of Tanya Sanchez and Luca Turin's Perfumes, the Guide, and sure enough, he gave it two stars, and, you guessed it, said it was an unexciting, well-behaved musk. this just goes to show how much of the perfume-connoisseur business is, like other things like wine tasting and art appreciation, an Emperor's New Clothes deal. If one of the big players says something, God forbid someone thinks otherwise!



Quercia Marina

Today is another grey day, complete with rain, so I decided to wear something powerful today that will stimulate my imagination. Acqua di Parma's Quercia Marina seems to be the ticket. I love the salty masculinity of this juice. It is powerful, yet well-constructed. I smell cedar, of course, lots of it, and a bunch of bitter herbs, violet, and maybe some vetiver. I bet my dad would love this one. I love it too. I intend to get a full bottle (soon, because it's apparently discontinued) and wear it on days I want to be powerful and send masculine signals. Definitely a contender for the 'job interview' category. I wonder why this was discontinued. I guess it smells too natural for the power-hungry business dudes this is probably supposed to appeal to. They are probably wearing Hugo Boss!
Florence
I love how Italian this smells too. I am starting to identify a specifically Italian aesthetic in perfumery--a tendency towards more tonic, herbal smells, less sexy than the France, but also, perhaps, more gorgeously historical. I mean, stretching back into the past of cologne, before modern perfumery was around, even before Napoleon bathed in cologne water. I get the sense of a deep history of perfume chemists in a Santa Maria Novella or an Acqua di Parma, of a tradesman dropping off bespoke bottles of a certain formulation at the back entrance of Lorenzo di Medici's mistress' townhouse before trudging back along the filthy Florentine streets to get back to his apothecary.

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