Saturday, January 11, 2020

Serenity Now: Parfums Dusita Le Pavillon D'Or

If you've read my most recent posts, I mentioned that 2019 was not the easiest year. My hope for 2020 is a year of serenity and spending time with those things that give me happiness and optimism. There is no better perfumer than Pissara Umavijani to reflect these qualities, and no better perfume with which to christen the new year than her newest, Le Pavillon d'Or.

Ms. Umavijani goes to a contemplative and serene place with this newest introduction. She again uses one of the poems of her father, Montri Umavijani, who was a lauded poet in Thailand, as an inspirational springboard to interpret into scent. She states that Le Pavillon d'Or was "inspired by a very human quest for happiness and inner peace," and "to evoke the sheer joy of serene self-confidence and peace of mind." 

When a perfumer chooses to illustrate a color, in this case gold, it is always interesting to see their interpretation. Previous incarnations of perfumes with the name gold have often chosen the path of glitz and glitter, big and bold for a wow effect. Ms. Umavijani takes Le Pavillon d'Or in the opposite direction, choosing to illustrate gold as a more precious thing, softly glowing and fine.  I have read that Ms. Umavijani was inspired by three lakes and the feeling of contentment they gave her. Here, gold is not measured in dollars and cents, but as the highest quality of  tranquility one can achieve when finding happiness in non tangibles and inner contentment. Ms. Umavijani has chosen to make a perfume to represent happiness and inner-peace, or as expressed in one of her father's poems:
To be able to live more happily in just any confinement." Montri Umavijani
When I first read in other reviews that Le Pavillon d'Or opened with notes of mint and honeysuckle, I admit I was a bit confounded. Mint didn't fit into my mental image of what gold should "smell" like. But this is not the mint that I pluck from my garden to flavor my ice tea. This is actually wild menthe citrata, of which I knew absolutely nothing. Just as when I wrote a review on Erawan I had to research one of the ingredients, liatris, it was the same here. Menthe citrata is a hybrid of mentha aquatica, which is found in waterways. Did Ms Umavijani smell this plant as she sat beside the lake or did she pick it specifically for its properties?

In any case, it seems she found the perfect note to cast this spell of well-being. Wild menthe citrata, also called bergamot mint, is described as a complex and uplifting fragrance. The Philbee Aromatics website describes the process of collecting the mint to make a distillation as "a completely uplifting experience", and Hermitage Oils website gives this effusive recommendation of the oil: "The aroma is simply divine,...this material is bright, cheerful, uplifting, inspiring, clean and refreshing." I go on about this note only because it was not the scent I expected from something in the mint family. It's not the mint of chewing gum but appears as a wet green scent throwing herbal aspects, intertwined with a slight mint aroma for lift.

The mint and a honeysuckle extrait combine for an altogether sweetly seductive opening, a smell that demands the release of tensions and is calming to the mind. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention what to me is the bedrock of the fragrance, notes of orris root, fig leaf, and a slightly powdery note that feels green or yellow, but never like white powder. These notes hum quietly in the background, and the featured notes dance in and out, adding interesting facets. The orris note is not as evident to me, it gives an austere woody note which is subdued on my skin. The fig leaf is more evident with a sweet green scent, supporting the herbal notes. The powdery note was the most interesting to me, because it made me picture floaty yellow mimosa blossoms; this is not a face powder scent. To my knowledge there is no mimosa in this perfume, so this powdery note must be influenced by all the green notes in Le Pavillon d'Or. 

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Then we get to the heart notes. Baronia, a rare and expensive absolute in perfumery, adds rich fruity floral notes. What I find most intriguing is the addition of Frankincense Green Sacra. Again, I had to research how this differed from the frankincense I was accustomed to smelling in perfumes, and again I found effusive prose as to the positive mind bending aura cast by this ingredient. Nature's Gift, a supplier of oils, describes frankincense green sacra in this way: "Green sacara is a lighthearted delight, full of sunlight and sky. It is the happiest of our frankincense oils." The scent of this oil is described as having aspects of resinous honey, candied lemons, and sweet amber infused with wood and floral notes."

Again, Ms. Umavijani has utilized a note prized for its rich and uplifting smell as well as its mood boosting effects. White thyme oil adds delicate herbal nuance to the scent and is also prized for it's calming nature. Eventually, hours later, the scent drifts into soft notes of rum-spiked vanilla and sandalwood, like sinking into a plush feather bed.

Out of all the scents Ms. Umavijani has created, this is the one that most reminds me of her outer persona. Since she came on the fragrance scene in 2016, Ms. Umavijani has reached out to her customers and even small bloggers like me. In all her dealings she shows herself to be kind and thoughtul, and as beautiful on the inside as out. To me Le Pavillon d'Or portrays in scented form this  grace and beauty. It seems that 2020 has debuted with a lot of outward clamour. With Le Pavillon d'Or you can for a time drift in a world as soft and muted as one of the tender watercolors Ms. Umavijani paints to illustrate her various perfumes.

I find that as time goes on Ms. Umavijani's perfumes are becoming more nuanced, more layered, more surprising. I eagerly await the next. And I think that in 2020 there are going to be more than a few days that I will anoint myself in this veil of calm to breathe in its beauty and remember— it is the precious moments in life that are truly gold.

The whole time I was trying to describe the perfume in words, this song which is one of my favorites, kept drifting into my mind. It's more than the lyrics of "fields of gold", it's the tender, beautiful mood the song sets that remind me of Le Pavillon d'Or. Enjoy!

Photos from, you tube, pinterest. Thank you to Pissara Umavijani for my perfume sample.