my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Or et Noir

The perfume reviewer's Perfume Reviewer, Victoria of Bois de Jasmin (please access her blog through the link at right) -- and a fellow rose lover -- shared Caron Or et Noir ("Black and Gold") with me.

This is one of those fragrances that intimidates me. A dense, dense chypre of a vintage style of perfumery, it is very difficult for me to do one of my "here are the notes, here are the emotions they elicit" reviews of this. It just has too much substance ...

I put it on in the early evening last night ... and the heaviness of the initial scent was a bit alienating.

It's as if the perfumer is a painter, laying down a thick impasto of the oil colors he will later access for his image ... and then he (or time) strips away layers and layers until the most essential and beautiful image remains.

Many things are going on in that initial dense layer of scent. Per Victoria, the notes are Bulgarian rose, centifolia rose and geranium; Anatolian rose, lilac and carnation, oakmoss and woody amber.

Out of this heavy swirling cloud, my chemistry first pulls out the roses, oakmoss and geranium ... and it is heady. This was what first presented itself last night. As the evening progressed, the oakmoss (agent of chypre-ness and density) and geranium receded and the roses moved forward.

But the most surprising element to me was the spicy carnation that -- about two hours into the wearing -- asserted itself. All of a sudden. Lasted for about a quarter of an hour and then the roses and a touch of amber reclaimed the scent.

What was that about?

I don't know -- but it is an example of how extraordinarily complex this perfume is. Complexity throughout ... and then, as it fades, elemental beauty.

V, again, thank you.

painting: Madonna of the Roses, Bouguereau 1903


Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Good. Now you don't have to feel so guilty!

11:02 AM

Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I am only glad to share! Or et Noir is such a magnificent scent. I feel moved whenever I smell it. You gave it such a beautiful tribute. Thank you very much!

11:29 AM

Blogger katiedid said...

Beautiful, and I love the picture you chose to accompany your words.

3:55 PM

Blogger AP3 said...

You sure are good at describing perfumes! Makes me wish I had a better sense of smell...

7:20 PM

Blogger Tom & Icy said...

Wow! That made me dizzy!

10:04 PM

Blogger actonbell said...

This almost sounds like a great Cabernet:) You write so beautifully.
*Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

10:39 AM

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

What a great job you did on reviewing that! :-)

8:04 AM

Blogger Diane said...

What gorgeous thoughts, what a fascinating and perfect pictorial accompaniment. Your writing and the picture--now that's olfactory synergism!

10:46 AM


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