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A Perfume Sampler

May 3, 2012

Here is a sequence of entries from Perfumes: The Guide, mentioned in the previous post. I wouldn’t say they are entirely representative, all are by Turin with none by Sanchez, and he does not often go quite so far in the evocatively poetic direction as in the first entry, but they give you the idea. This book reminds me of how reading music reviews used to make me feel, before I got jaded; the enchanting suggestion of entirely new worlds of aesthetic experience.  

Sacrebleu (parfums de Nicolai) **** dusky oriental

If you travel at night on Europe’s railways, near big stations you can sometimes see lights the size of a teacup nestled between the rails, shining the deepest mystical blue-purple light through a filthy Fresnel glass. They appear to be permanently on, suggesting that the message they convey to the train driver is an eternal truth. Since childhood I have fancied the notion it may not be a trivial one like “Buffers ahead” but something numinous and unrelated to duty, perhaps “Life is beautiful” or some such. Sacrebleu has the exact feel of those lights, a low hum that may be eclipsed by diurnal clamor but rules supreme when, at 3 a.m., you know you are looking into your true love’s eyes even though you don’t see them.

Safari for Men (Ralph Lauren) ** aromatic fougere

Sufficiently trashy to be wearable if the effect you’re after is “Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug.”

Safran Troublant (L’Artisan Parfumeur) **** saffron vanilla

A simple test to detect a non-native French speaker is to have him or her say “un bon vin blanc.” One or the other of those nasal vowels is bound to trip you up. I imagine many people will be pointing to Saffron Troublant rather than asking for it. Just act familiar, and call it ST. It is based on a very novel and interesting idea, an accord of rose, vanilla, and saffron I have never encountered before. What is odd is that the saffron, though not particularly milky on its own, has a cream-like effect on the other notes and gives this fragrance the caressing, almost moist feel and color of the best chamois leather. Seemingly uncomplicated, but high art at heart.

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