September 4, 2008
Come to your Senses
I've been on kind of a perfume hiatus for a bit, but was re-energized by my package arriving from the Perfumed Court, of a selection of musk samples. It was exciting to try them all one after the other, but in the end, I find this confirms what I suspected. I wanted to be experimental, and try something I normally would not, maybe expand my parameters a bit, maybe be surprised. I have learned that musk, though ubiquitous in all its forms, is not, as a dominant note, for everyone. Certainly not for me so much. After trying them all, though some were more interesting than others, I am still not very drawn to a strong musk note, no matter how it is enveloped -- in chocolate (Musc Maori by Parfumerie Generale) or salt (L'Artisan Mure et Musc Extreme) or fresh bread (Lorenzo Villoresi Musk). I accidentally slipped opening Narcisco Rodriguez For Her and it came pouring out over my forearm, so I sit here emanating clouds of it around me now. It's evening so that's fine; I will end up sleeping in it. It dries down into a very soft, transparent slightly powdery abstract tone, not like anything recognizable or specific. I decided to see what a little layering might do, to turn the corner of it all, so to speak. So I tried a tiny amount of Laura Tonatto Oropuro on top (which alone is extremely skanky, to my taste). I much prefer the combination to either one alone, they affect each other by blending into a softness that resembles very clean skin. If I really wanted to go all out I could try something meant for layering such as Etro Patchouli or Vetiver or Sandalo on the other arm, (though I ended with a drop of Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche, instead, just to see, because I realized I forgot I left my Etros in a box at work) The combination lifts above my threshold of a necessary beauty quotient, so I am content to wait and see how it all develops further.
I intend to continue to combine the musks in this sampler array, and see how they fly together in various combinations. So far as a stand alone the L'Artisan Mure et Musc Extreme is the most composed, complete and appealing as a fragrance to use on an everyday basis.
Aside from all this mad scientist layering, I wanted to share my interest in a book called "Come to Your Senses - Demystifying the Mind Body Connection" by Stanley and Carolyn Block. Their appealing premise is that you can use the senses to relieve stress and tension. This of course applies to the use of perfume and the sense of smell. The book explains and recommends a simple method of shifting mental focus onto the ambient sensual information all around you as a way to instantly alleviate stress or run-on thoughts or bodily discomforts. For example, stroking the cloth of something you are wearing, and fully experiencing the texture, or listening to the ambient white noise around you, or noticing the temperature of the air, as it moves by your face. This is a form of distraction but at the same time a kind of concentration that works instantly to release tensions. It is related to mindfulness meditation, where if you are as alive as possible to the present moment, calming thoughts and being aware by noticing where you are and what is going on in as much detail and as deeply as possible, you are then most intensely alive and integrated, mentally and physically. This state of immersion is a very restful one and the release of tension frees up energy that can be then be used to recover from whatever is bothering you, naturally.
Above detail from a Portrait of a Princess of the House of Este, by Pisanello, a lady who certainly stands in the midst of many ambient sensual elements...