Featured Fragrance: Chopin

Chopin-edp.jpg

26219701_1146895255412801_2516308094735124458_n

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

 

 

 

 

Ambers, Chypres & Fougères

muraya-paniculataEach of my perfumes reflect the year and season in which it was born. I love the idea that change is ever-present, it is an inevitability of life and therefore, we do not need to keep smelling of the same fragrance… year in, year out. The freedom to express the diversity of being alive in the world, moving through the wonders of change through natural perfume is, for me, sheer bliss.

Teone Reinthal Natural Perfumes are intensely lush florals blended with dark, earthy aromas and are composed in 3 fragrance styles: Oriental Ambers, Fougères & Chypres. The mesmerising experience of wearing these fine fragrances is like enjoying a slow walk beside the drifting, hypnotic magic of Murraya Paniculata in a summer rain-shower at dusk.

cropped-tincturing-muraya-paniculat2.jpg

PERFUME WIKI NOTES:

Chypre is the name of a family (or concept) of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top-notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum and a mossy base-note derived from oakmoss. The term chypre is French for Cyprus, and goes back to Francois Coty who created his famous perfume Chypre in 1917 from fragrance materials that came predominantly from Mediterranean countries. Coty’s Chypre became the most typical representative of a whole family of related fragrances, although perfumes of similar style had already been created throughout the 19th century. The chypre concept is characterised by the contrast between the fresh citrus accord and woody-oakmoss; often patchouli is considered an indispensable element as well.

Perfumery Amber – the base of many oriental perfumes (Shalimar, Coco, Opium, Youth Dew, L’Ambre Des Merveilles etc) is a sweet, rich accord of labdanum and vanilla – so called, because the golden color of the blend resembles the semi-precious amber jewel. Sweet and voluptuous, perfumery amber is quite versatile, and whenever one encounters a fragrance named Amber or Ambre, it is likely to be a warm, vanilla and labdanum based blend. Labdanum, a resinous material obtained from the Mediterranean species of rockrose (Cistus ladanifer or Cistus creticus,) smells rich, leathery, smoky and sweet. Its warm incense undertone lends it a dusky, sombre quality, while the top notes are reminiscent of freshly cut wood, offering an interesting bright counterpoint. Although a beautiful and complex material, it is heavy and opaque, with a tendency to easily overwhelm other facets of the fragrance. Yet, rounded out with vanilla and other sweet woody notes, labdanum based accords become radiant and sensual.

Fougères are made with a blend of fragrances: top-notes are sweet, with the scent of lavender flowers; as the more volatile components evaporate, the scents of oakmoss, derived from a species of lichen and described as woody, sharp and slightly sweet, and coumarin, similar to the scent of new-mown hay, become noticeable. Aromatic fougère, a derivative of this class, contains additional notes of herbs, spice and/or wood. The name originated with Houbigant Parfum‘s Fougère Royale. This perfume, created by Houbigant owner Paul Parquet, was later added to the scent archives known as the Osmothèque, in Versailles, France. Houbigant re-introduced this fragrance in 2010. Perfumes of this type are especially popular as fragrances for men. Many modern fougère perfumes have various citrus, herbaceous, green, floral and animalic notes included. The most common additions to the basic fragrance blend include vetiver and geranium. Bergamot is often present to add sharpness to the lavender top-note. (with thanks to Wikipedia)

Although I have produced many, only a precious few do I call ‘mine’. Each tells a story that deeply speaks to me of qualities such as gentleness and love, power, pure animal instinct, creative self, vulnerable self, pristine moments of quiet reflection or the full stride of confidently commanding centre-stage. The aromatherapeutic element of natural perfume supports each of my moods, the ups and downs of my own life force.