Living in a warm climate and with summer approaching fast I find myself turning to lighter, citrus fragrances. My love for weird smells keeps poking me and pointing me to strange directions though. Grain de Plaisir is part of the “Les Aromatiques” collection, a collection of fresh herbal fragrances that also includes Garrigue, a dead ringer for Green Irish Tweed and Cool Water (yes, there is a third heir to the throne of originality). Grain de Plaisir (Seed of Pleasure) is one of the most daring fragrances in the market. Francophones will recognise this seed (grain) as celery. The idea of using celery in a perfume is quite strange but it has happened before. Never has celery been put in the centre of composition like this though. Grain de Plaisir opens with a thick, strong lemon note, the kind of note most people would associate with Lifesavers candy (or Lemon Pledge). The lemon here is un-etherial, un-apologetic and very culinary. Like grating the zest off of 10 lemons. Oily and bitter. Soon after the first impressions the curious celery note comes into play. It is hard to describe how exactly this smells. It is not the smell of celery seeds, not even the smell of celery. It is the increment of flavour added to a sauce when celery is thrown in to the mix. The end result is not foody but it is herbal. Like a garden of aromatics. The thick citrus and herbal celery are joined by a bitter pine smell. It is not very complex but it is very unusual. Although the composition is bitter and earthy it manages to infuse a strange happy vibe. It is like the happiness one feels when digging in the garden, pruning shrubs, getting their fingernails dirty with nature. Simple, raw fun.
Notes from Fragrantica: lemon, mint, celery, myrrh, lavender, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, resin
Notes from my nosee: lemon Lifesavers, celery, pine
The second fragrance that I have recently discovered is Eau d’Hermès. Created in 1951 by none other than Edmond Roudnitska, it is a piece of olfactory history by anyone’s definition. And reformulations aside it smells like it. Nothing out there smells like this. It opens with a greasy bergamot note that comes hand in hand with earthy cumin. This opening is the most challenging part of the composition. It is not fresh or clean like an Eau should be. It is dirty and sour like no one would expect and with a vinegary vibe. Soon after the weird opening accord hits you with its individuality the heart notes come into play adding warmth. Cinnamon, cardamom and tonka are the unlikely continuation of the rude opening walking in on a bridge of geranium. The cinnamon is hot, peppery and is the most prominent of the spice notes. Up to this point there is nothing in the composition to justify naming this an “Eau”. But soon after the heartnotes establish themselves the entire composition takes an unexpected turn. It starts to soften, becomes rounder and more mellow. A delicate slightly powdery leather starts to develop leaving the strange opening behind. Eau d’Hermès becomes a light, airy composition that manages to incorporate the plush leather note in a delicate way that reminds me Cuir de Lancome. All in all It is remarkable scent that transcends perfume genres and styles. It starts citrusy and spicy to end up luxurious and soft. From aggressive opening to delicate base. It is old fashioned in the same way that Bandit is old fashioned: it showcases that there was a time were perfumers took their audience with them on an adventure, rather than recreated the familiar.
Notes from Frgrantica: cinnamon, lavender, bergamot, clover, cardamom, tonka, vanilla, jasmine, geranium, birch, leather, sandalwood, cedar
Notes from my nose: bergamot, cumin, vinegar, cinnamon, cardamom, tonka, leather, powder
______________________________________________________________________________________________celery image via http://www.kimberlysnyder.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/200-calories-of-celery1.png caedamom image via https://encrypted-tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSl858uLmUTk4F6TV05cswTF-9Df-Zn19xB2lQtFqReFd9SKPUK