On Friendship, Art, Perfume and Hamsters
One of my dearest friends is someone I've never seen. In a world of cyberrelationships, that's not so unusual. But it does force you to fill in the blanks.
What I know is that C lives in the Rocky Mountains, is the wife of an attorney, has three really amazing daughters that she homeschools (that was shocking to me, for some reason), that there once was a much-beloved hamster in that household nicknamed "Hammie," and that C is an artist in so many ways.
She and I write at least once every day, and most often a number of times. We are the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas of our own quirky little world. She is the out there talented one and I am the domineering power behind the throne. Heh.
We will retire together with our friend T (another exceptional artist and the nicest of the three of us) in an apartment at the Aged Elms Home for Shady Ladies, where I will serve real eggplant lasagne to T and something with soy cheese to Gertrude. We will own many high end, hard to find fragrances which we will hoard until the bottles turn bad. FUN!
C is aggravatingly self-deprecating and I'll get rolled over the coals for anything I say that smacks of hyperbole (did I mention she can be provoked into temper? She can. Be careful). I'm keeping this as factual as I can.
Sure this post is about friendship, but it's also about PERFUME.
And C is a perfumer. She calls it her "problem with essential oils," you know, like other peoples' "problem with heroin." They just can't help themselves and neither can she.
C has a fascinating ability to make strange connection between dissimilars. And I think I once read a definition of art as being just that: the synaptic leap between unexpecteds.
For instance: her Patchouli Girl fragrance with the shock of its underlying lavender. Or South Garden with something hot and strange that pulled decadent New Orleans into my chilly Seattle environ.
Most often I don't have the ability to discern notes out of her frags, they're that well blended; I just get emotion.
I don't care that C says that she isn't a perfumer. She is. And I'm going to tell you about something that proves it: her Wild Series. (In a bragging aside: my signature fragrance really IS a signature fragrance: C created Mireille Green Rose for me and shared it with T, too ... and it is a treasure).
But about the Wild Series, an exploration of rose, jasmine and iris with nuanced variants of neroli, bergamot, rose absolute, black rose, french rose, wild rose, jasmine, gardenia, iris and african violet.
My brief descriptions below do slight justice to the amount of thought that goes into C's fragrances. So I include her own words in adjunct:
The black, wild and french rose oils are attars. I decided to blend them with my regular, beautiful rose absolute to see how much richer I could make the mid rose notes. I wanted to see what they would do to jasmine and iris notes as well.
Last month was the first time I used attars with essential oils in a perfume. They're a bit uncontrollable at this point because I don't know them well, and I don't know what's blended into them. I would say that French rose is a middle of the road rose scent with sweet nuances and some depth...also a predominant powder affect. The Arabian wild rose is a tea rose type, clear, true and bright.... much like the scent of a big voluptuous yellow rose. And the Black rose is very deep and mysterious, multi-layered, "eastern" and long lasting.
My initial impressions of the Wild Series ...
#1 Achingly beautiful rose, intense but with something cutting into the sweetness. Sneakily seductive.
#2 Drier yet soft. I think this is more predominantly violet. A calmer, dignified fragrance.
#3 Rosy jasmine and a hint of indoles ... a softer side of jasmine. Gentle. Subtle.
#4 Jasmine with a passion. Truly indolic. But not nasty indoles. Nice indoles. (How does she do that?) Tropical. Humid. Dense.
#5 Very rosy to me and I'm suspecting a bit more violet as well, playing sweetly against the rose. Ladylike. Elegantly subdued.
#6 (This one carried a warning: "I don't like #6. See if you can smell the difference." Poor #6. Rejected by its mother.) There is something sharp in there but I don't know what it is. Must think more about it.
#7 I get a greenness and am thinking bergamot and neroli got their turn in this one. Brisk, stimulative.
Remember, each is a play of rose, jasmine and iris ... nuanced differently and with supporting players in different roles. This is art.
The most astonishing -- and irritating -- aspect of this to me is that C does it only out of love and compulsion. I want her recognized for it, in terms of fame and riches. And I do believe that day will come. These are just too beautiful -- they deserve a wider, cash-carrying audience.
If Gertrude won't self-promote, that means Alice B. has to.