Featured Fragrance: Chopin

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I’ve never understood the parlour game of ‘guess my age’. In my mind, my age is just a map of when I arrived, and how far I get before I drop off the twig. I’ve earned my right of passage into middle age, and I’m not ashamed of being frumpy one bit. Every one of my 55 years has been an incredible tour of unfathomable wonders. Some years were bloody tough, some sublime, and all of it cherished.

I hardly ever wear makeup these days – I consider it part of the grand theatre of youth. Pouty lips and smoky, glistening eyes look great when you’re smoking hot, but I just look weirdly unnatural and scared to be me when I apply it now. I’m just a bit unsure of how to apply it, or how much, or even how I should try to look. I still know how to style others, and apply make up on actors when I’m shooting film or directing a play, but I just never have enough time or inclination to bother with my own grease-paint anymore.

I have several missing fingers and toes from a birth defect. I played electric bass for many years, and I type and paint and sew and sculpt and throw pottery and draw and pat horses and cats pretty well so it’s not much of a big deal.

What does all of this have to do with perfume?

I’m in awe of retro floral chypres. 294896_102533766515627_8282133_nAs a youngster in the seventies and eighties, I never had the means to venture much beyond the mainstream fragrance world. In those days it was pretty normal to have one bottle of perfume at a time. When that one ran out, you could try another, or go again. Lately I’ve been rediscovering many of my ol’ favourites:- Paris and Rive Gauche (YSL), Miss Dior, Diorissimo, Diorella, Eau Sauvage, Joy (Patou), Fidji (Laroche), Givenchy III, Helena Rubenstein’s Courant, Anais Anais by Cacharel. I kept a drawer full of hippie roll-on oils potent enough to fuel an entire mission to Mars and back. They seem to be long gone and replaced with much nastier stuff. How I loved Temple Bells and Aphrodisia by Spiritual Sky.

Revisiting these treats has stirred up so many memories. Visceral responses to old stimuli – leaving home, falling in love, falling out, touring in rock bands, waitressing, traveling, and leaving parts of me behind. At times, I was carried tenderly through my crises by the continuum of knowing I was OK purely by the way I smelled. Wearing perfume meant I was clean and fed and safe and home (somewhere) and still breathing. Those old fragrances have imprinted my unconscious mind with the cacophony of my past. Powerful markers of my life journey.

I wanted to create a jasmine chypre for my middle aged me. Not an ‘old lady’ perfume (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), but a monumentally great floral chypre that gathers all of the best elements of my youthful memories in a contemporary (more natural) fragrance for now.

Chopin eau de parfum nods to the aldehydes of Rive G, Fidji, No 5 and A.Anais, only generated naturally by bergamot and clary sage. Chopin waves to the sheer luxury of Joy’s heart of jasmine and rose with a massive dose of jasmine grandiflorum and rose damascena. The leathery grounds of Miss Dior and Diorella are reproduced in Chopin with amyris, cypriol and vetiver, and the powdery musk of my halcyon days is created with Orris and Ambrette. Hippie-girl lives on through the plump and creamy base of pure Mysore sandalwood.

Why Chopin? My father is a master musician (4th generation student of Franz Liszt and 2nd generation professional pianist) and my childhood was sound-tracked by incredible music every day. My missing fingers meant I never followed in the family business of mastering etudes or nocturnes. 4 litres of Chopin perfume is my humble contribution to the circle of life.

 

MERMAID

 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Featured Fragrance: Chopin

  1. As women we are required to leave a good looking corpse. Hours and hours, and thousands of dollars spent eradicating the way living a life of laughter and tears, having children, enjoying the best life has to offer, leaves it’s marks on all of us. My scars, my lines, my grey hairs – I’ve earned every single one of them – I hope with grace. My corpse will tell an interesting story. It will be buried with me.

    I love Chopin and the peace it brings me. Surrounded in a cloud of florals held up for review by a oozy base of sandalwood and leathery goodness – it’s become another comfort fragrance for me. It makes me happy, and if it leaves one more smile line around me eyes, so be it. I wear mine with pride.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a macabre thought on the ‘preservation of youth’ mega-industry – all that applied preservative accumulating over the years might prevent some discarded physical selves from decay, depending on what inserts and fillers might be incorporated into the physical structure, making a mockery of ‘ashes to ashes dust to dust .’ How long is reasonable to leave one’s pre-loved corpse to pollute the planet? If this sounds like an exaggeration think again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ugh. I have an entire monologue to offer on the war paint theme. I will spare you the pain of it. Essentially, I’ve never understood any of it and it grinds against all that I am. Not a thing has been changed by that mega blockbuster tome by Naomi Wolf.

    Anyway, trips down memory lane are essential for cleaning out the closet. They act like monsoonal storms.

    Ain’t nothin’ ’bout you is humble! You speak for all of us, in your womanly tones.

    Liked by 1 person

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