Every time I think I have a handle on the incredible Guerlain lineup of fragrances, the ground shifts beneath my feet, I smell something again, for the first time, for the latest in the string of revelatory times, and my perspective changes. I then see the quality of one category of fragrance completely differently—all other iterations of genre pale in comparison to the one brilliant Guerlain creation. Such was my experience tonight with Nahema, a Guerlain I know well, own in several forms, thought I understood….I was wrong. Tonight was a hot rainy day, followed with a humid overcast evening. I put on Nahema and she radiated from my skin. I finally understood her, because she was part of me, or was I part of her? It didn't matter, really.
There she was, a shifting whorl of impressions, now a lavender, now a cinnamon, now the smell of damp sweat, now the physical incarnation of the idea of the dark tang of love at midnight. never a rose in the sense of a rose is a rose is a rose, but a ROSE, like the platonic ideal of the idea of rosiness. I have heard a legend—I am not versed enough in the technical aspects of perfume creation to test its veracity or not, but I like it for the idea’s sake, for the power of legend--that this, one of the greatest of all roses, has no actual rose in it. I like that idea, like the notion that it is, like a pointillist painting (although this swooping oriental rose of Nahema has absolutely nothing to do with the stilted and blocky precision of pointillism) not at all rose when seen up close, but when one steps away, an incredible image emerges, something that boggles the mind a little.
Don’t forget to enter in my giveaway of Tauer perfume here
1888 Lawrence Alma-Tadema - The Roses of Heliogabalus courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Giovanni Ricciardi, olio su tela 2006 http://www.giovanniricciardi.it courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.