Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ballet Inspired Perfumes Part Two

In Part One of ballet inspired perfumes, scents to wear to the ballet and specifically in this festive season the Christmas performances of The Nutcracker, three perfumes from the Les Parfums de Rosine line were featured. In this post we will look at four more perfumes inspired by elements of the ballet.

Keiko Mecheri Lady Pointe opens with one of the most distinct blackcurrant notes I have ever smelled in a perfume. It is uplifting and very fruity but not at all sweet. There is a touch of citrus in the opening but the rose comes in to mingle with the blackcurrant note fairly quickly. There are also notes of orchid, suede and musk, but what I am mostly noticing is a grape- jammy rose. In the final stages of wear notes of tonka bean, incense, oakmoss, patchouli, and sandalwood combine with the rose to render a darker air to the perfume. I particularly notice the tonka bean which gives a slightly powdery gourmand note, once the intensity of the intoxicating black currant and rose notes have dissipated. Lady Pointe conjures images of red ballet shoes and purple-skinned black currants. This perfume is rich, dark and unexpectedly fun.

With Penhaligon's Iris Prima we move away from the rose-based ballerina perfumes and on to iris. Iris can be an austere, proper note which perhaps suits the theme of ballet dancers and the endless hours of practice and fierce dedication required to make a mark in the profession. The iris starts off very similarly to Prada Infusion d'Iris on my skin. I get the quiet, grey iris note and the starched smell that often accompanies iris perfumes. There is a touch of pink pepper in the opening which gives it an initial ping but that quickly disappears. The perfume also has notes of leather, sandalwood, vetiver, amber, vanilla and benzoin. I smell the iris with the softest touch of leather. The leather is a super soft and pliable note and it is an easy comparison to imagine it the the well worn leather of the ballet slipper that we are smelling. For me this wears like a winter companion to the Prada Iris, the leather note providing a darker hue to the usually light iris note.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Prima Ballerina has a very different take from the perfumes featured thus far. For one thing, it does not feature a leather or suede note to indicate the ballet toe shoes. Also, there is no sandalwood, a nod to the wooden stage and practice studios, that features in the previous entries. This interpretation is an aromatic perfume featuring the rose note. Strange Invisible Perfumes is one of the early originators of botanical perfumes and based in California. This scent opens with a lime note which gives the very pretty and true rose note a citrus lift. It also has notes of sage which give a light herbal quality to the naturalness of the perfume. I would say that this perfumer is not trying to draw a hyper realistic scent picture of the ballet performance including elements of wood, leather and sweat, but is instead trying to relay a portrait of the romance of the ballet and the beauty of the ballerina dancer. I find this scent to be very feminine.

The final perfume inspired by the ballet is Amrita Aromatics Vaganova: a Bittersweet Ballet Floral Botanical Perfume. It features notes of ginger, rosewood, tuberose, sandalwood, cedar, rosin, and satin; altogether a most romantic list of ballet inspired notes. Even if I had blind tested this, I would have guessed it is a natural perfume. It has that bright organic presence that naturals often show. Ananda Wilson says about her perfumes, "Know that when you purchase a natural perfume, it is an intimate engagement in the wild natural world and will not offer the predictable, cloying, or forceful type of experience that commercial perfumes often do." My experience wearing this perfume: I smell the opening brightness of the ginger. Woody notes of rosewood, sandalwood, and cedar give a nod to the scuffed practice floor, and there really is a dustiness that gives the aura of the rosin that the dancers dust their ballet shoes with to prevent slipping. The tuberose note never becomes apparent to me. And although I didn't confirm this with the perfumer, I am assuming the perfume's name is taken from the renowened Vaganova Choreographic Institute in Leningrad, the highly competitive school for the Kirov Ballet. This perfume was beautiful and very personal; like many naturals it wears close to the skin and longevity was about three hours.

Are there any other ballet inspired perfumes that you wear?

Nutcracker Ballet photos from George Balanchine's New York Ballet production. Red ballet slippers photo from Pinterest. Samples are my own collection.


Undina said...

The only ballet-related perfume other than those that you've mentioned that I can think about is The Vagabond Prince's Swan Princess but I wasn't impressed by it when I tested it.

You've piqued my interest with Keiko Mecheri's perfume: I love black currant note and keep looking for perfumes that feature it. The Vagabond Prince's Enchanted Forest is a good example but I wouldn't mind finding something with the similar note but less sweet.

Cynthia said...

To me the black currant (or grape) note was strong. It's definitely one you need to test first, as it's quite distinctive.