June 19, 2011

Patchouli Part 2 - New Perfume Creations


Monica Miller the PerfumePharmer, organized an incredibly voluptuous experience via the mails by sending a number of us helplessly enthralled perfume-aholics a slew of blind-labeled original all-natural perfumes, composed of at least 25% patchouli, and  asking us to pick three favorites. 
It is an ongoing festival of patchouli, and the perfumers participating are among the finest of natural perfumers, but even so, everything was labeled strictly by number alone.  Interesting too, how the color of the liquids varied, from gold to reddish amber. I felt like a character in a fairy story set an impossible task.  Among the 13 were so many beauties of surprising variety it felt like trying to pick Ms./Mr. America from a classroom full perfectly beautiful teenagers. Each one is beautiful in their own way.
So what can you do in such a situation except go with your personal predilections? I went with the brunette style of perfume beauty because it suits me the most.  To my mind brunette beauty covers a wide field.  It can mean you want to bring out the inner Ava Gardner, crossed with some wild pre-Raphaelite artist/model type of lady, or alternatively the elegance and restraint of an Audrey Hepburn ballerina persona.  It was incredibly hard to choose because there were so many that were outstanding in this type alone. Because I had to decide, the three I picked were dark, deep, and rich versions of patchouli that were so beautiful they all reached into realms similar to those of sandalwood and aoud, but perhaps those ingredients were also present in the ones I chose.  Which were #2, 3 and 14. (I know, one number short deliberately because 6 and 9 are hard to tell apart graphically).
This effort to rehabilitate the reputation of patchouli more than succeeded with me, and others too as this project presented at one time a wide range of styles and treatments showcasing alternate sides of an element that has a reputation of overpowering all others.  These were all compositions that were identifiably and definitely patchouli predominating but with the balance and detail of true perfumes.
Good patchouli is dreamy.  One of the most intense ways you can get the full experience is to try it on a day of warm and overcast humidity.  Hence the Summer of Love theme, calling both to the past and the present.  During the week, after a couple of rainstorms, with some sun peaking out to partly dry the streets and reviewing the full range of the patchoulis I was sent, this atmosphere expanded them like clouds around me. Later days of dryer sun and heat called certain more astringent aspects up to the front.  It is also very true you become more aware of how your mood and state of mind affects your perception of a perfume when you don’t know who made it or exactly what’s in it from a provided list of notes.
Be that as it may, #2 has an expansive, celestial quality arising from a soothing depth.  There is a soft powdered precious wood aspect after the initial strength of the hypnotic liqueur burns off.
#3  a heavy sunlight thickly dappled on dry hay, a little herbaceous, with a wild edge to it, perhaps the warm fur of an animal lying down beside you.  Sun on dark hair or fur, is what I mean.
#14 has a sacred hint to it, like myrrh mixed into amber and a reference to a bit of fine sueded leather.
There are more than three that I loved and I will get into them next.  It will be very interesting to find out if there are any that show up in the top three repeatedly and who the perfumers are for my favorites.
There will be a giveaway in the next posting, so come back and be sure to keep an open mind toward all perfume elements, especially patchouli.  You never know what a material can be until it passes through the mind and touch of a perfumer with a real feeling for it.
For more posts and links to others on these perfumes, please see the Perfume Pharmer.
Pix above, Ava Gardner in her heyday, Audrey Hepburn too, and Jane Morris by DG Rossetti, check the live links for more information.

14 comments:

Monica said...

*big patchouli smiles* HOW am I going to keep from telling the perfumers you picked THEIRS <3 Too much fun, and thank you. It is wonderful for ME to know more about the perfumes...and have YOU sniff them...and be "spot on". Girl, you got a GOOD nose!!!

Carrie Meredith said...

Your numbers 1 and 2 are the exact same as mine, and my number 3 was #13 instead of your #14, so we are *almost* on the same wavelength! I feel like I might perish from the suspense of waiting to find out which perfumers are responsible for which scents, but I think I have a good idea about a few of them. :)

Flora said...

I also like #2 and #14, but I am still evaluating for my final 3 - this is a lot of fun and it's testing my olfactive powers to the max! :-)

chayaruchama said...

It was SO difficult to choose only 3...
I loved # 4 as you did, and actually, all of them.

Lyrical, suave Lucy.
SMOOCH .

Lucy said...

Monica, many kudos for organizing such an interesting party! And the packaging you sent everything in with the tiny steel roller applications was beautiful, not to mention the silver bullet flacons. I am thinking it is a personality thing entirely, you gravitate toward what is best for you, perfume wise, though it was so difficult to choose. There were more that called out to me but I am sure it will be very informative once all is revealed.

Lucy said...

Carrie, I loved 13 also! So we are even closer in taste than it appears.
The only way I could do it was to separate the testers out in stages but on the last pass several were were so close as to feel like I was had to be a bit draconian and force the limit. Your post was so perceptive!

Lucy said...

Flora, yes, it's actually quite the learning experience, getting all these at one time and the wide variations on the theme of 25% patchouli, it definitely teaches you the versatility of an element, be it ever so strong in itself.

Lucy said...

Chaya/Ida, your sophisticated taste is always so revealing and enlightening, and I learn so much from your remarks and understanding of the perfumes.

lostpastremembered said...

You had me at Ava Gardner. Anything that conjures her voluptuous wild sexuality and beauty... well, I want some please!

I think patchouli has had such a bad rap for so long. All I thought of was those horrid acrid incense sticks that assault your nose on St.Marks when in fact patchouli has a dark mystery and complexity.

I smelled the patchouli plant recently... really haunting but without the darkness...interesting to compare(you can buy it, you know!).

Beautiful job, Lucy! I feel I know patchouli better now!

Lucy said...

Hey Mz. Lost Past/Deana, that would be inspiring, to get some fragrant plant materials together. My window box is exposed to very harsh conditions so I wonder if it could handle the fragrant plant materials. I will look into it...and hope you tell me more the next time we meet.

AbsintheDragonfly said...

I have found this a fascinating look into the minds of the reviewers! It's amazing how some of you are very close, and what you talk about when you are describing the perfumes!

Thanks for sharing your inner self Lucy!

Amanda

Lyn Ayre said...

This is the best suspense 'novel' I've ever read. Who dun it? I'm very happy to be a part of the great mystery of Patchouli. Your comments are wonderful to read, Lucy. Thanks for sharing.
Warmly, Lyn

Lucy said...

Amanda, I am also curious to read more posts on the favorites and others, you are right, it does reveal more about the writers than usual...

Lucy said...

Lyn, I can imagine how intriguing it must be when you find out which is which, especially when one of your perfumes is in the line up. That Monica, she knows how to get everyone's ears to stand up...