Sometimes the gloves come off. We just need them to. We simply can’t hold our tongues any longer and so we bust down the doors of nicety and etiquette via a few too many single malts or a wibbly wobbly breakdown and we let loose. To hell with it all…
A beautiful friend has sent me a vast library of fragrances to smell over the last year(ish). Having invested every single brass razoo into TRNP for several years, my days of buying other people’s perfume are long gone. I don’t go sniffing around any more because I wanted to stay clear of what other people are doing while I was in the middle of a creative process. I don’t like to be influenced by the works of others when composing. So my meagre collection of purchased pa-foon consists of oldies but goodies and some gorgeous gifts from the dear-hearts in my life.
But lately I have been on a bender. I am covered with little sppssts and dabs of other cordials made by other noses, and I swear I can hardly recognise my world right now. Excuse me, which way is the front door?
Currently my left arm is occupied by several fragrances from Atelier des Ors and my right arm is a backpacker hostel for members of Teo Cabanel’s tribe. By-passers are shuddering. But I have a salty ol’ nose and I can make my way through the marvelous maelstrom. In fact, it’s a really useful way of discerning certain themes in a perfumer’s work by allocating one whole limb as prime real estate for their wares en masse.
In the last 30 hours I’ve tested around 40 different fragrances created by other houses. Some very high-brow and some less so. At the moment I’m most taken with a couple of works by Bertrand Duchaufour and Jean-Claude Elena. Specifically Timbuktu and Brin de Relisse. Masterful tales of the truth. These fragrances are… well, what they are not is stuff that chicks spray all over themselves in the Ladies room of the nightclub as they check to see if their false eyelashes are still attached and that their tan isn’t running. Oops… that hair extension is coming loose again. Ooh, did you see that guy over there with Jeharsha? He’s totally hot, …Fsssst ..Fsssst ..Fssst Fsssssst …Fsssst… oh, what the hell …Fssssssst.
No, I’d say Timbuktu and Brin de Relisse probs don’t get Fssssssssst’d around too much at all. Duchaufour and Elena create works of art. Scented pathways into lives and journeys and memories. If anyone’s interested to read more, I’ve added in lots of new fragrance reviews in the section above titled…. Reviews written by Teone
Well, what about the gloves, kiddo?
OK… Here’s the point. Having stayed some distance away from commercial perfume for a number of years, I’m no longer culturally attenuated to detect the subtle nuances that separate House A Product from House B Product, and on reentering the big top tent, I’m a little troubled by the savage homogenisation of fine fragrances into such a limited palette of so many recognisable components. I keep finding the same aromachemical bases that deliver minimal variations on this season’s trend.
Yesterday I wandered through the perfume section of David Jones and stopped at the Chanel portal to smell Mademoiselle Intense. The sales assistant condescended to inform me that it contained flowers and vanilla. I sniffed.
Oh, I said, pink Coco Noir.
Oh no, she said… that has patchouli in it.
And this doesn’t? (eyebrows disappearing into my scalp)
No, as I just mentioned, this has flowers and vanilla.
There is a stupifyingly harsh and ugly grunge odour that seems to be so much in vogue in boysy niche fragrances. I don’t know what that compound is called or how it deviates (slightly) from one house to the house next door. BUT! I recognise that there are cheap and expensive versions of it everywhere. People are paying huge amounts of money and wearing the stuff because Ahhh, it’s so very woody, so leathery, it’s oudy or ambery. I hazard a guess that it has no biological connection to anything that ever grew, moo’ed, or mildewed. It’s just tacky swindle juice. Ditto so many roses. Cheap toilet aerosol spray.
Then I remembered… it’s just the perfume industry. We like to cluster by scent-bundling.
Orientals fad: Youth Dew, Opium, Cinnabar, Ysatis, Coco, Obsession, Samsara, Poison etc
Shoulder-pad fad: Giorgio, Tresor, Byzance, Chloe, 24 Faubourg, Amarige etc
Mod fad: Miss Dior, Zen, Givenchy III, Vol de Nuit, Chanel 19, Diorella, Sikkim, Aromatics
Hats and gloves: Chanel no 5, Chant d’Aromes, Arpege, Caleche, L’Air, First etc etc etc
My updated department store field research findings have also enabled me to catch up on what’s hot in the current climate of big business perfume marketing too. So, I have created a brand new taxonomy to help me through the advancing years of my scent-bewilderment and ‘fume-befuddlement (real conditions, believe me).
Fragrances and their target markets have been sorted into the following classifications:
- The Ditzy Teen (Melon, Berries and Bubble Gum)
- School Admin Staff (Ozonic/Acquatic)
- Gym-Junkie Playboys (Leather/Tobacco/Amber)
- B&D devotees (Metallic Oud-anything)
- Yummy-Mummys (Pricey Praline Florals)
- Cougars and MILs (Fruitchoulis & Civetty Chypres)
- Nanas (Violet & Lilac water)
- Great Uncles (Grim Fougeres)
- Hipsters (Price on Application)
Maybe I just should stop wandering into David Jones in my pyjamas.
painting above. Unwanted Christmas gifts and other unpleasantries. TR ©2006
pastel sketch What lies beneath. pastel on paper. TR ©??