A little over a month ago, I met The Fragrant Man via the blogosphere. The world of scents is such a mystery to me, and always has been. I find reading the thoughts and insights of those immersed in the perfume industry to be both intriguing and educational – mostly because their expertise is in a subject to which I have intuitive, spontaneous reactions, yet know so very little about. My questions are so many; What is it about perfumes that make some people adore what others abhor? Why do they smell radically different on different users? How is it that your olfactory senses can send you reeling with the powerful memories they provoke? And, why do I find it so damn difficult to find a fragrance that truly is trued to my senses, body chemistry, and preferences? Why do I even have those preferences in the first place?
While I still don’t know the answers to those questions – if there even are any answers shorter than a dissertation – I have made a some vital discoveries in the process. The realities of niche perfumists mirror those of artisans and sustenance purists the world over. For their rare and exotic ingredients, they battle everything from climate change, species extinctions and the subsequent shortages of materials, to corporate giants strong-arming the competition and pushing often harmful chemical substitutes over naturally harvested essential oils, and then lobbying for legislation that conceals any cause for liability. The despicable tactics of the mono-corporatist giants echo those of Monsanto v/s the smaller, individual organic family farms and co-ops, and the political stranglehold they and many others have on our health, and environment. I find it endlessly intriguing and encouraging that there are those around the world, who will make it their life’s mission to grow, and sustainably harvest, Mysore Sandalwood trees from root cuttings in Northern Australia – a climate zone comparable to that of its origin – India – where the few trees left are now protected. And I’m inspired by the Afghan farmer who recognizes the value of growing and producing roses for top quality rose oil, as opposed to poppies for heroin. The quest for quality and sustainability reigns supreme, and those who value it know it is worth every penny. The stories of fragrances are many, and often tie into – you guessed it – my number one obsession, plants! Funny how everything is connected, isn’t it?
Long story short – based on some vaguely articulated preferences, Jordan kindly suggested I try four perfumes. The arrival of my samples coincided with the blooming of my oriental lilies, which made thinking in a straight, analytical way even more challenging than it usually is. What you’re about to read is the lily post I wrote as the inspiration to write my first fragrance review was smothered by their overwhelming presence.
I remember the day I first met Anna.
She was quite lost on The Fragrant Journey. Bewildered by choice but not finding any personal resonance in traditional feminine fragrances; she was experiencing fragrance dissonance. I reached out to her with some suggestions in response to her comments on Ori Fishler’s Private Collection. Let’s catch up with her now.
annamadeit July 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm ·
I really enjoyed this! My knowledge of the world of scents is so limited. When I find one that works well on me, I tend to hang on to it for years, until my body chemistry changes, or I tire of it – whichever comes first. To see a collection like that just amazes me!
Jordan River July 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm ·
It is an amazement. Thank you for wafting on in. What is that vintage scent I smell?
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