Thursday, April 28, 2016

Imaginary Authors, Part Two

The scents I'm reviewing today are the ones I consider the "manly" ones. I don't shy away from wearing some men's scents but I would consider these Imaginary Authors perfumes on the more masculine end of the spectrum. 

Cape Heartache

“If you are looking for the pieces of a broken heart, you might try rifling through the twigs and needles on the forest floor.” - Philip Sava
Picture a cabin with smoke curling from the chimney in the depths of a dark forest, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. This is the inspiration for Cape Heartache. Its list of notes are indicative of a woodland stroll; fir, pine, hemlock. But there is one note on the list that is out of context: strawberry. The first time I tried Cape Heartache I smelled the forest with the pine needles and firs. The smoke smoldered softly in the background like a campfire burning low but I never smelled anything remotely resembling a strawberry. Skin can be fickle, though, so I thought I'd give it another try. This time I smelled the whole cabin in the woods scene but I also got the faint whiff of strawberry. On my skin it is very quiet and gives the fragrance a slight lift or lightness, but the note flits in and out. I don't know if this is a big strawberry note on others but on my skin it is a background note, just adding a creaminess to the pine and fir notes which take precedence. The notes are interesting in that they seem to appear, disappear, then reappear; first woody notes taking center stage, then the smoke, and then the interesting berry note. I enjoy this more every time I wear it. I find it likable and an unexpected combination of notes. 

The Cobra and the Canary

This perfume starts out dark and woody and the smell reminds me of vetiver, but as this note is not indicated I believe it may be how I am interpreting the hay and orris. The Cobra and the Canary smells dry, a little muddled, and earthy on my skin in the opening stages. About thirty minutes in the lemon note brings a brightness to the scent.
“We were driving faster than dammit, headed due west for a place called Anywhere But Here.” - James Spundt
Notes of leather and tobacco flower add a softness and slight sweetness as the formula settles into the skin. A note of "asphalt" is listed and contributes to the story of two farm boys who take a road trip to California, zipping past the hay fields on the country back roads in a fabulous antique roadster. The perfume actually lives up to the story line with the smell of hay, old leather car seats, and the hot pavement spooling a ribbon like path to the big world beyond the border of  their little town. About an hour into the wear the harsh opening has totally disappeared and the scent is smooth and warm as a sunny day in the country.

Bull's Blood

Josh makes the statement on his website that he views "scent as art and art as provocation." The scent Bull's Blood provoked one of the most extreme reactions I've ever had to a perfume, so in that regard he achieved his purpose!
“A man who has killed is a man who knows passion.” - Devante Valéreo
Have you ever tried a perfume that left you feeling deeply unsettled? Here is a podcast for you science geeks that discusses what makes scent memories so emotionally evocative. Often the memories are pleasant flashbacks to childhood; I've experienced a few of those. This was the first time that the memory was a dark one. When I first smelled Bull's Blood its opening was cold, metallic, brash, a bit astringent, and yes, there was a slight metallic ting reminiscent of blood. I had a visceral feeling of dread, then suddenly my mind flashed to an incident in my childhood that I had not thought of in decades. I was at my church on Wednesday night for children's choir practice. For some forgotten reason I stayed later and was alone, going down a dark cement stairwell. I tripped at the top and literally bumped down each step on my chin, leaving a smear of blood staining the steps from top to bottom. I remember the acrid smell of the blood, the warmth of it down my dress front, and the awfulness of my face glimpsed in the mirror  when I went to grab some paper towels to stench the flow and clean up the mess. (My Mama trained me well!) The memory was so strong that I've been unable to try the perfume again, even though I very much doubt I would have a repeat reaction! This is why I say Imaginary Authors perfumes did provoke an extreme reaction in me, even if it was not perhaps the expected reaction.

All this is not to say that the scent smells bad in any way. The imaginary novel is a lurid tale of seduction set in the world of the Spanish bullfights.  Bull's Blood accurately dipicts the dusty arena, the fierce, sweaty, animalic smell of the angry bull,  home rolled cigars, and a floral rose note drifting from the ladies in the stands. The rose is pretty much subdued by the dust, dirt, and animal fur. Floating above all of this is the disturbing (for me) smell reminiscent of blood. Josh calls it Bulls Blood and why not? He has certainly created that effect. Is this a perfume that I personally could ever wear? Never, it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. But as an art concept it is a fascinating journey into the artistic mind and creativity of Josh Meyer.  If you read reviews on Fragrantica there are extreme reactions, positive and negative, to this perfume, so even though my reaction would not be common, it does seem the most provocative of the line. 

Notes listed are patchouli, rose, costus root, tobacco, black musk, and Bull's Blood, a veritable witch's brew. The patchouli is a particularly dirty fetid one, probably made more animalic by costus root, which can simulate fur or hair. Although Josh has created the bull fighting arena and performance with this perfume,  I could imagine another story concept that might fit the notes equally well. Imagine a vampire who has just risen from his moldy grave and goes in search of his first victim, the dirt still clinging to his cape.  A real Halloween scent! This really fired up my imagination!

To read other reviews see Part One and Part Three.

Painting above by John Zaccheo and can be purchased at Samples my own.

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