Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A Walk In Giverny by La Fleur by Livvy

 It was about a year ago that airlines started canceling flights and travel came to a stand still. I for one am having a hard time restraining my travel bug as we march toward summer holidays. But when I recently tried A Walk In Giverny by La Fleur by Livvy I was mentally transported to a vacation from three years ago when I went to France with my husband to celebrate a wedding anniversary. 

This is the enchantment of perfume; that scent can magically send us back to another place and time. Olivia Larson founded La Fleur by Livvy in 2013, and since then the self trained artisan perfumer has released fragrances that are all about journeys and travels. This can mean both journeys in living life as well as travel to specific locales. Her mission is to create 100% botanical fragrances, but with A Walk In Giverny she introduced a multi-media perfume to her collection, although still keeping a high percentage of natural botanicals. This was done in recognition that some customers desired perfumes with more sillage and longevity.

Olivia for the first time has partnered with Andrej Babicky, a natural perfumer, to create A Walk In Giverny.  Together they will be producing more perfumes for the newly launched Impressions Collection. Olivia created this collection as a homage to the French impressionist painters. She says, "I admire their passion, their zest to continue to paint despite not making a living, but their art would soon become an inspiration to all."

A Walk In Giverny opens with notes of bergamot and rhododendron. It is sparkling and radiant, much like a chypre-type fragrance but in a softer form. It imparts warm fuzziness, sort of like the feeling you get when you step into the afternoon sunlight for a stroll through the garden.

On a side note, I can't remember ever seeing rhododendron listed as a perfume note. It sent me scurrying to my friend Google. Evidently the plant has suffered the same fate as many varieties of roses. As it was bred for hardiness, the magic that produces a fragrant plant was lost. But there are still old varieties that have the scent, as evidenced by this New York times article here. The rhododendron's scent, depending on plant variety, is described as anything from "a heady floral" to "a spicy clove-like fragrance". I am guessing that this may be what gives A Walk In Giverny that initial lift and fragrant frisson. 

This chypre-esque mood lasts for some time but other notes begin to float into my space. Again, this is reminiscent of a stroll through a garden, where the breeze brings various aromas but they form into a muddled bouquet. When I first applied A Walk In Giverny I messaged Olivia, "Is there lavender here? I don't see it listed?" Heart notes are listed as jasmine, tuberose, geranium, carnation, black currant bud, and hay. Not lavender.

Olivia replied, "No lavender. It could be the jasmine and geranium. Both have a floral yet herbaceous green note."

When I looked at these notes before trying the perfume I expected a lot of loud florals. What Olivia has done is capture the spirit of the garden. The beauty of nature vs perfume is that nature teases us. It gives us whispers of scent. It will send something so beautiful our way that it can stop us in our tracks to determine where is that scent coming from. Then poof, it's gone, an ephemeral fairy scent. When wearing A Walk In Giverny you truly get that experience of many scents being blended into a fragrant whole. It is as if Olivia and Andrej have harnessed the more herbaceous and green elements of all these florals to make this perfume, and the hay note certainly contributes to that effect. When I thought I sensed lavender it wasn't the floral note I imagined, but the more herbaceous aspects that lavender perfumes often portray.

Base notes are patchouli, labdanum, fir balsam, styrax, violet, orris, opopanox, benzoin, and synthetic musks. Olivia also blends a vanilla in house from Madagascar vanilla beans. These resinous notes lend structure to the soft chypre feeling, and give the feel of the encroaching forest surrounding the floral gardens. 

I look forward to seeing what other Impressionists Olivia and Andrej will memorialize with scent, but for now excuse me. I need to return to my olfactory walk through Monet's garden in France!

Top photo a Monet painting from Giverny era. Thank you to La Fleur by Livvy for providing me with this perfume sample. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Fragrant Snapshot: Maison Christian Dior Ambre Nuit

I couldn't begin to count the number of niche perfumes I've sampled over the last few years, but one area of fragrance I've neglected are the classic brands, especially their more exclusive lines. A fantastic giveaway-with-purchase at Dior tempted me to do something I almost never do, blind buy a perfume I hadn't sampled. I love amber scents, and Ambre Nuit had a lot of good reviews so I took the plunge. Although I don't recommend blind buys and almost never do it, this one was successful.

The opening of Dior Ambre Nuit features bergamot and grapefruit which blend with the amber, and I get a vision of polished wood floors, but in a lighter gold-toned honey hues. The scent is bright and slightly sharp, but as the amber increases, it buffs away the rough edges of the citrus notes. Amber has a cushioning, enveloping note and I slowly feel myself being surrounded by this protective cover of warmth. Some reviewers speak of a strong rose presence but I honestly don't smell it, other than as a grace note.

The amber is appropriately the star of the show here, and it is a beautiful. It starts out rather sparkling and transparent, but then deepens. I smell spices, smooth and warming. No spice notes are given in the description other than pepper but I smell a woody cinnamon. The amber is deep and beautiful, with characteristics that are creamy, salty, and resinous. There is a slight smokey, incense smell  that makes this feel meditative and deep. I have a few amber perfumes but what I like about this one is that it is not overwhelmingly syrupy and sticky. Amber is by its nature a heavy note, but here Dior makes it feel silky and billowy. 

As you may have heard, we had a cold snap event this past week in Texas. I found that Ambre Nuit kept me wrapped in a feeling of warm comfort and sensuous beauty.

Both the photo and the perfume are my own.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sana Jardin Part 3: Celestial Patchouli and Nubian Musk

I come to the review of the last two perfumes from Sana Jardin in this series, Celestial Patchouli and Nubian Musk. I call these two Earth and Sky. Even though patchouli is an earthy substance, when used in perfumes it sometimes can remind me of the vast dark universe, all the unknown out there, and maybe the creators at Sana Jardin agree, having given this patchouli the name Celestial. Nubian Musk on the other hand, opens dry and dusty as the earth. But as dissimilar as these descriptions sound, I found them to be the proverbial "brothers from another mother." Although they have differences they share a strong DNA, and I have a hard time deciding which I prefer.

Celestial Patchouli opens with coriander seed but quickly the patchouli makes itself known, along with the nagarmotha, both supposedly base notes but unable to be restrained. The patchouli feels almost tobacco-like, wet and green, and the nagarmotha or cypriol oil adds both earthy and spicy notes. The dark notes are strong, but also a little fruity. Leather, another base note, is evident. It as if the perfume is turned upside down, beginning with the ending. 

If Celestial Patchouli stopped there it would be a nice patchouli forward perfume, but not that different from many others. But an hour or so into the wear, the heart notes of rose, osmanthus, orris root, and iris begin to peep through. They are subtle; there will be no big floral rush. But I sense them each in turn; a winey rose, leathery osmanthus, and dry rooty iris. The notes are elegant and slightly austere, stars twinkling in the darkness. One thing I love about the scent is that these notes keep reappearing: the earthy patchouli, the iris, the rose, and so on. It eventually fades to the base of woods, leather, and patchouli, and a dusting of warm and spicy cinnamon.

I was curious about the name Nubian Musk. I had a vague notion that this referred to Africa but there my knowledge ended. It turns out the Nubians were an older civilization that predates the ancient Egyptians, and lived along the Nile River in an area that today encompasses southern Egypt and Sudan. 

Musk perfumes are often a big yawn for me, but this is musk in the more animalic sense of the word. There is grapefruit oil in the opening, but I don't really smell it more than an instant. There is vetiver and I smell it almost immediately, very dry. There is nagarmotha in this perfume also, but here it has a medicinal smell for the first few moments. I don't see any notes listed that would account for the anamalic bent to this fragrance, but it is there, obvious but not overstated.

Later there are very faint notes of rose, sandalwood, and vanilla. They give more body to the fragrance but you won't get a strong whiff of any of these notes. Jasmine is also listed, and I don't smell any floral that could be jasmine, which makes me wonder if maybe they just harnessed the indoles and this contributes to the more musky aspect of the fragrance. What is more apparent to me is a green patchouli note, along with the musk. I really enjoyed wearing Nubian Musk as I found it to be a more interesting combination of notes than is sometimes found with musk perfumes. 

As these two scents wind down, they begin to have a somewhat similar smell to me. I like them both but if I had to choose I'd pick Celestial Patchouli as I am a patchouli lover.

I have really enjoyed trying all the scents from Sana Jardin and will be adding a couple of them to my collection in time. I'm happy that these beautiful fragrances have contributed to improving the life of the women flower harvesters in Morocco. If you would like to read more about Sana Jardin or read reviews on the other fragrances in the line, go to Sana Jardin Part 1 or Sana Jardin Part 2.

Top photo is by and can be purchased at their website. The Sana Jardin discovery set is my own.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sana Jardin Part 2: Tiger By Her Side, Sandalwood Temple, and Jaipur Chant


As discussed in Sana Jardin Part 1,  Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed founded this luxury perfume company in 2017, and part of the business plan is economically empowering the women flower harvesters in Morocco who pick the blossoms that ultimately are transformed into perfume. In Part 1, I looked at three vibrant floral perfumes. Today I'm writing about three perfumes that remind me of India, a place very special to my heart as I spent the first four years of my marriage there, and I call them The India Trio.

India is a land of contrasts, timeless beauty next to absolute squalor. A cacophony of people, crowds pushing and jostling for position. Noise, constant honking horns, a regular assault to the senses. It is a love it or hate it type place. Despite what may sound like negatives, I've never felt as alive as I did those four years I spent in Bombay (now Mumbai). These three perfumes I'm highlighting today all bring back olfactory memories of a time that now seems like such a distant memory.

Tiger By Her  Side

Rose is a pervading scent in India, paired with saffron or sandalwood, or as it is here, with patchouli. When I smell rose and patchouli it takes me back to that heady scent combination that I often encountered in India. It is a common combination, yet here, it manages to be exciting and different. The opening is bright with bergamot and spicy notes of coriander seed and cinnamon bark. The cinnamon is warm and yummy, a note I particularly like in perfume. Heart notes are rose, benzoin resin, and patchouli, and it is a sensuous and velvet smell. What makes it different for me though, is that the fragrance still holds a certain lightness, not transparency, but something akin to that. It is not as heavy and weighty as this scent combination sometime can be. 

Base notes are labdanum, olibanum, and vanilla. The scent at this point smells to me like an ambery rose, grounded with patchouli and this spicy thread of cinnamon. It is voluptuous, yet bright enough that I could see wearing this in warm weather, not true of most rose and amber combinations. It is a special scent, and even if you think you've seen this done before, you might be surprised if you try it.

As an aside, I love the name, Tiger By Her Side. It was inspired by the Ancient Egyptian High Priestess who was so powerful that she could walk unharmed alongside a tiger. And don't let the "her" in the name dissuade you guys from trying this. It is definitely unisex.

Sandalwood Temple

Sandalwood is very sacred in Hindu worship and because of that, there is now a shortage in India and Australia has taken over as chief sandalwood producer. The sandalwood can be burned as incense in the temples, and it is ground into a paste which is placed on the foreheads of devotees to calm the mind for meditation and prayers. Sandalwood has a creamy, milky aspect which does make it a calming scent.

Sandalwood Temple wears on my skin as a straight up sandalwood scent. There is bergamot, neroli, and orange flower water in the opening but for me and my skin, I go straight to the woody notes. There is cedar wood, guaiac wood, and sandalwood, and the later is enhanced with a faint vanilla note, which ups the creamy aspects of the sandalwood. The perfumer added vetiver oil to this scent, and at times I got a faint whiff of smoke which I can only attribute to the vetiver.

I find this a very pleasant and easy scent to wear but it is faint on my skin, and I prefer my perfumes to be a bit more apparent. Sandalwood lovers will find this a very nice take. I wore it to bed for a couple of nights, and it was a beautiful scent to drift off to sleep with.

Jaipur Chant

Another lovely name, and an ode to one of the most beautiful cities in India, the Pink City of Jaipur. When I went to Rajasthan Jaipur wasn't my favorite, that honor went to the mystical city of Jaisalmer. But Jaipur does "wow" one, with its Amber Palace, City Palace, and the wedding cake confectionary building, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). Ladies in vibrant pink and gold saris and elephants with elaborate painted pink trunks help create the illusion of "The Pink City" and make it a memorable stop in Rajasthan. 

One can't explore far in India without running into someone selling flowers, which are used as offerings in religious ceremonies, or simply to adorn women's hair, the white petals of the tuberose a stunning contrast against their black silky hair. In Hindi tuberose is called Rajanigandha, which means fragrant at night.

Jaipur Chant is founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed's ode to a religious ceremony she took part in when visiting Jaipur. Tuberose is a flower associated with love and strong emotion due to its strong floral scent. Tuberose can be divisive, a love it or leave it type scent. I'll say from the outset that I find Jaipur Chant to be quieter on the spectrum of tuberose perfumes. The tuberose is there, of course, but I find it less sweet and pungent than many of the tuberose perfumes in my collection. The perfume added clove oil to the opening notes, and although I don't get a strong clove scent, it does give the tuberose a more spicy and almost smoky feel, like you would find if you were in the busy temples. It is a bit more contemplative than one would normally expect from a tuberose perfume.

I find it a good representation of what one would actually find if you were attending one of these ceremonies. The floral scent is there, but it doesn't blast you; it creeps its way into your presence, almost a background scent, lovely and soft. This makes this tuberose feel more unisex, and it would be a good perfume to try for those who don't like the full on tuberose smell. I actually  find it to be a very restful and contemplative take on tuberose and it is different enough from the other perfumes I have that feature that note that I could see adding this one.

For more about Sana Jardin scents go to:  Sana Jardin Part 1 and Sana Jardin Part 3. 

You can shop for the beautiul painting featured here at: Sana Jardin samples were gifted to me. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Sana Jardin Part 1: The Flowers -- Savage Jasmine, Berber Blonde, and Revolution De La Fleur

 See bottom for illustrator information to buy prints.

The idea of empowering the harvesters who pick the flowers that make the perfume that ends up in a bottle on a shelf three thousand miles away is not an untried idea. A few others have combined trying to do something good with making something beautiful. I received a  Sana Jardin discovery kit of perfumes for Christmas this year and let me state at the start, in case I lose you, I could be presented with a bottle of any of these eight perfumes I've sampled and I would be happy. More than happy! It is rare for me to like every single fragrance in a discovery kit but here we are. Are the scents totally groundbreaking? No, but they've taken high quality ingredients and made beautiful scents that rise above the standard with perfumes of similar notes, in my opinion. 

First, a short brief on Sana Jardin's history. Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed's early career was spent as a social worker in the United States, and she came to the belief that what these women needed was a way to have economic freedom, not charity. Amy was widely traveled and had a friend that lived in Morocco, where she learned to love the country and appreciate its beauty. She eventually formed the idea to create a luxury perfume company centered around empowering the women who were the pickers of these orange blossoms and roses in Morocco, and helping them to set up a business that would sustain them after the short picking season was over.

Amy Christensen Si-Ahmed with some of the Moroccan women pickers.

She calls this business model Beyond Sustainability because even after the picking season has passed, and when the women normally were out of work, they have been trained to set up micro enterprise industries by using the waste by-product generated from the harvest, which used to be discarded. The women use the by product to produce orange water and candles, among other things. The nose for the perfumes is Carlos Benaim.

The Sana Jardin line currently has eight perfumes but I am going to discuss them in three parts which I have titled: The Flowers, The India Trio, and Earth & Sky.

Living in Asia for nearly twenty years, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Bali. It is a beautiful spiritual place where no detail is too small if it brings beauty. Flowers are used abundantly to please the senses, and the these three floral perfumes took me back to that place and time that I've missed so much, especially in the past year of staying put. 

Berber Blonde

Garden in Medina

Perhaps this scent,  Berber Blonde, could be considered the backbone of the brand. It is a flower synonymous with Morocco, and this is where Ms. Christiansen Si-Ahmed found her inspiration. I've always thought that in some ways, orange blossom is orange blossom is orange blossom. In other words, it is a beautiful, easily distinguishable scent that does not change character too much. That is true here in that the orange blossom sings, joyous and ebullient.

Orange blossom is such an uplifting, happy scent. It is impossible to smell it and not smile. But as a perfume, how does it distinguish itself? By having a scent that is pure, strong, and long lasting. It is basically neroli oil and some musk in the dry down, but the sunny aspects of this scent have a lot of longevity, and it is such a beautiful quality of oil. Even though orange flower has a strong scent that is somewhat sweet, I think it is a floral that works for men. Have those who study depression ever considered scent therapy? This would be a good place to start. Sunshine in a bottle.

Savage Jasmine

A wedding dress in Bali composed of jasmine flowers.

Jasmine is my favorite flower scent, so perhaps it is not too surprising that Savage Jasmine is my favorite of the Sana Jardin florals, although I love them all. But this jasmine! It captures the magic of sitting on a patio in Bali as dusk drops, a fountain tinkling delicate music and perhaps a gamelan toning in the background, the carved stone statues casting weird shadows in the dim light. Like a curtain drop, the smell of night blooming jasmine infuses the air like a lover's spell.

I've been saving the photo I found above to use with the right perfume, and this is it. Can you imagine being married next to a river in Bali, rice paddy plateaus framing the background, birdsong in the air, and as you walk to meet your beloved you are in a cloud of jasmine, as your dress fashioned from jasmine blossoms moves gently with your movement.

There is not a lot going on here but jasmine. There is clove in the top and some musk and tobacco in the base, but really, jasmine is the star of the show here and it is some of the most realistic to life jasmine I've ever smelled in a perfume.

Revolution De La Fleur

A young Balinese girl wears a headdress of flowers for a ceremony.

Revolution De La Fleur is as its name suggests a beautiful profusion of floral blooms. There is a very clear frangipani note in the opening, but a cascade of distinct florals follow. Interestingly, they each seem to have their moment, as if entering the stage for their curtain call curtsy. This is mostly a white flower bouquet, but a note of rose underneath seems to ground the exuberance of the other floral notes, which include ylang ylang, jasmine, and neroli.

This is an uplifting floral bouquet and the longevity is pretty tenacious. It brings me back to so many happy memories, day-tripping through Asia. Anyone who is looking for a new floral scent reminiscent of tropical beach vacations, look no further.

These three Sana Jardin floral perfumes are distinguished by having the scent of pure and strong ingredients, and I would be happy to add any to my collection. In the next post I will look at the scents that remind me of the years I spent in India. Here at The Fragrant Journey, my favorite perfumes are those that take me back to happy memories in time, often on foreign shores, and these three scents certainly do that in spades.

For more about this brand see Sana Jardin Part 2 and Sana Jardin Part 3

Top painting: This beautiful painting is from the website She is known for "illustrating detailed, colorful windows into the worlds of women everywhere." Go to her website to view beautiful paintings and rugs for sale. I'm in love with her work!
Thank you to Nick and Nina Lesiuk for the Sana Jardin perfume set.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Eris Green Spell

Back in the summer of 2020 I signed up for the crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo run by Eris Parfums to produce a new scent, Green Spell. My reasons for participating were: 1) I have a lot of respect for what Barbara Herman has done with her Eris brand, 2) I saw that Antoine Lie was the perfumer and I love everything he's created for Puredistance Perfumes, 3) Green scents are a favorite of mine, and 4) I was in a city that was quarantining, and joining in with this project on another continent seemed like a fun idea, to in some small way help birth a new perfume.

I should have known better than to have preconceived notions as to what Green Spell would smell like. Ms. Herman has created her brand with perfumes displaying a bold presence. Her initial fragrances: Night Flower, Belle De Jour, and Ma Béte, gave more than a nod to fragrances of yester-year and didn't shy away from animalic notes. I expected Green Spell to follow suit, something in a vintage vein à la Ma Griffe, Vent Vert, or Bandit. All I needed to do to correct this erroneous impression was go to the website and read the words of the perfumer, Antoine Lie:

"Green Spell by ERIS is a blast of happiness, an homage to nature that is sparkling and joyful."

This scent is about nature at its absolute greenest. We all interpret scents according to our own life experiences, and Green Spell did trigger an immediate memory from my rusty brain files. In the early 90s I lived on the island of Borneo and it was an ecological wonder. Our little town hovered on the edge of the ocean but you didn't have to go far to be at the edge of the jungle; it encroached everywhere. I had young children so couldn't disappear for days at a time, but I knew friends who would go on week long expeditions where the guide would literally chop his way through parts of the jungle with a machete. Sadly the beautiful rainforest is disappearing and since I lived there more than half has been plowed to make way for palm oil plantations. But at that time we did get to experience going deep into the jungle and it was exhilarating. It was a green wall, and once you entered its space, it breathed and throbbed with energy like a living being, which it was.

The New Yorker: The Lost City of Z

That sense of fresh, vibrant green is what I get in the opening of Green Spell. The notes used are a collection of all the freshest and sharpest: black currant absolute, galbanum, violet leaf, narcissus absolute, vetiver, fig leaf accord, and tomato leaf accord. Normally a green perfume will feature a couple of these; black currant and violet leaf are the ones I see most often. Here we get the whole kitchen sink and the results are a green scent that is bitter, alive, and biting. The tomato leaf especially is evident to me and adds a particularly fresh stringent note. 

After an hour or so the fragrance noticeably softens. The bitter notes fade and Green Spell becomes a softer ode to the color green. The scent gives a feeling of brightness, freshness, and new life from Mother Nature. For me, as I am very influenced by seasons, this fragrance will make the perfect entry to spring, but for those tiring of snow and cold, Green Spell might give you fresh hope for the spring to come.

Here is a video from Eris Parfums on the introduction of Green Spell.

Top Photo: Perfume sample my own.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Silver Bells Redux: Silvery Scents


The first year I started my blog I did a Christmas post on Silver Bells, using aldehydic perfumes as an expression of cold metallic bells and their ringing sound. It is one of the most-read posts I ever published, I think in large part to the beautiful art I selected as a lead in. This year I'm having another look at Silver Bell inspired perfumes, with only one repeat perfume. I'm concentrating more on the color silver itself this time.

I love to wear Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory when the weather turns sharp and chilly. I live near a train yard, and in the summer the sounds are distant and muted, but in the winter cold there is a sharp piercing shriek of metal on metal when the train brakes. Something about the air density in cold temperatures creates this clarity. This sharp sound is the effect Silver Factory gives when I apply it on a cold day. 

Andy Warhol Silver Factory came out in 2007 and was the first of five scents based on the life and career of the famous New York-based artist and social phenomenon. This was in the early days of Bond No. 9 and they were doing some edgy perfumes back then, before they started introducing such a steady stream of perfumes at a rate almost impossible to keep up with. Perfumer Aurelien Guichard was responsible for this fragrance, as well as my other favorite from the house, Chinatown. 

Top notes are lavender, bergamot, and grapefruit; middle notes are incense, iris, violet, and jasmine, and base notes are resins, cedar, and amber. One of the marvels of this perfume is how it transitions. It goes on sharp as a knife blade, and the colder the weather, the more biting that effect will be. This is not a perfume that flourishes in hot weather, in my opinion. This effect does bring to mind silver: silver knifes, silver bells, silver train tracks, silver cars with snowflakes adhering to their shell like metallic armor. 

After such a cold opening, the scent begins to warm up. A delicious and fairly light incense note mixes with the resins and amber to provide warmth and fragrant aromatics. The iris definitely plays a part in making this scent feel so chilly at the onset, but like the other florals, it is well blended and doesn't stand out unless you are familiar with the note. I only drag this one out in winter and every year I am re-amazed by how much I love it. 

Another scent that makes me think silver is Clinique Wrappings. You will only see this scent offered from the Clinique counters at Christmas time, and even then, you may have to hunt for it. Like most of my "silver scents", it blooms in winter but can smell heavy in warm weather. Wrappings offers aldehydes on steroids, and it is these sparkling, cold notes that make me think of cold, metal silver bells. I wrote about this one in the article from 2016 linked above, but I will quote one sentence which gives the essence of the scent, to me: The opening rush smells like frigid air. The green smells like silvery pine needles laced with snow. It conjures the image of walking through a frozen forest, pine needles glistening with frozen ice glitter. Enjoy this one during the season as there is a reason they only sell it during Christmas. In my opinion it just doesn't smell as good once the Christmas planning and excitement has passed!

The next two scents on my list only remind me of silver in the opening; after that they transition into something much warmer. I will mention them, though, because they do give a different aspect to this idea of silver scents. 

L'Artisan Parumeur Dzongkha was released in 2006 and made quite a stir during a time when inventive perfumes were in shorter supply than they are today. Bertrand Duchaufour was the nose, and this perfume was a part of a trilogy based on his exotic travels. Dzongkha was inspired by a trip to Bhutan, a kingdom in the Himalayas, a land where Buddhist monasteries perch on mountain ledged, strings of prayer flags fluttering in the high winds and bells tolling solemnly, the sound echoing through the valleys below. 

The first moments of Dzongkha feel chilly with that dry feeling of cold air. It is easy for me to picture the somber ringing of the bells. Very quickly though a whole journey of scents begin to appear. The stones that the Buddhist temples are built of and the incense that permeates the walls over time are the basis for this scent. Other notes appear: cardomom and tea, very dry vetiver and papyrus, tanned leather. But it is the iris which for me lives through the opening, the heart, and even the base of the scent. It is dry and rooty. In the beginning it feels chilly and remote, at the heart if accentuates cold stones and metallic bells, and at the base it finally begins to go softer and slightly powdery. 

This is a very unusual scent and it doesn't always work on me. I NEVER wear this in warm weather because then it smells like carrots and celery; remnants of a summer vegetable garden. But when it works, I am climbing high in the Himalayan mountains, the air is bracing, I feel serene and at one with my surroundings. Higher up the mountain I spot my destination, a stone structure jutting out of the mountainside; a place of refuge on this unforgiving mountain.

My last "silver" perfume is actually more gray, DSH Perfumes Kohl Gris. Several years ago Dawn Spencer-Hurwitz who is owner and perfumer at DSH, did a series of perfumes based on color. Kohl Gris was my favorite, and it continues to be one I wear every year in winter, especially around Christmas.

The perfume is meant to represent the smoky, kohl lined eye, and thus is a warm and spicy scent at heart. There is, however, a brief moment when I first apply this perfume when I get a bracing, slightly metallic scent which feels silver to me. This could be from the lavender and pine notes. After that it heats up very quickly with pepper and clove. Then sensuous base notes of tobacco, labdanum, frankincense, sandalwood, and ambergris make this a delicious spicy, smoky perfume. 

I find that iris or orris root is a common element through these four perfumes, as it has a chilly dry quality. Are there any fragrances in your collection that feel silvery to you?

The retro Christmas cards are on Pinterest. The Silver Bells sign is from ebay. Top painting is by Clair Rossiter. Perfumes are my own.