January 2, 2012

Soivohle – Violets and Rainwater, & Green Oakmoss

Heinrich Kuhn 1908
These are perfumes that keep quite a few tricks up their and your proverbial sleeves.

They unfurl at their own pace, are as delicate and changeable as a mood and yet come on at the start with forthright strength and straight-forward honesty. But you need to be quiet and pay close attention. They transmute and shape-shift. They are perfumes that may even be best appreciated by those with a well-developed introverted side to their character. Quiet types who like trance perfumes that encourage giving themselves up to all the nuances.

This is a perfumer who starts with idiosyncratic concepts, favorite physical/mental states, then mixes those energies up from perfume materials, while staying entirely grounded in respect for what the perfume materials can do to a sensitive person. I would say they are the physical evidence of love for the lusciousness of certain aromatic sensations. One of the most independent of indie-perfumers, Liz Zorn has gone her own way and has grown into true originality, experimenting with accords and strengths of perfume to bring both natural materials and aroma chemicals into a modern marriage.

These two perfumes are in her mixed media demi-absolutes category, which are perfumes of predominantly natural essences that also contain man-made aroma materials, in a higher than usual concentration (18-22%) of eau de parfum.  Hence their staying power.

Violets and Rainwater  is as changeable as fast moving weather.  It opens with pure sweet delicate violets over a mist of clean skin-scented musk, settling down on freshly watered earth. These violets are still growing, watered by rain. After a few minutes all softens down to a fresh creamy child's skin scent, wrapped in crocheted cotton, lacy enough to let the cool air through (possibly the  iris note). A trace of violet continues to hang in the distance as well as a trace of moist earth but all eventually resolves itself into an aura of delicious skin as soft as pale suede. The closer you get, the stronger it gets, of course. It really absorbs into my skin and bonds with it. Yet the sense of youthfulness is not immature. It’s a delicious fragrance to wear after a warm bath and to relax in before going to bed, and nice to wake up to. It has the tenacity to still be there in the morning.

Notes: Parma Violet Flowers, Violet Leaf from the Absolute, Fresh turned Soil, Rainwater, Iris, Light Patchouli, White Musk, Labdanum Absolute and a hint of Centifolia Rose

Green Oakmoss – is a green chypre floral, again not what you’d expect – an ultra-refined nectar sweetness over powdery bark and bergamot that puts sparkling highlights on a green mossy heart. All pleasantness and grace, due to a floral element that does not identify itself except to exert its influence to smooth the edges of the composition together. The fragrance stays a glittering green that is dry and astringent in the sparely elegant way a chypre must be, for some time. Then a darker mossy muskiness makes itself known which must be the touches of vetiver and animal musk accord which are still somehow not in the least dirty.  No, simply coming to the fore to present themselves after the brightness of the green dims down to a modern interpretation of an oakmoss accord. It’s cedar water moistening this earthiness. If you’ve ever gone swimming in a cedar water lake you know that kind of water I mean, earthy and a little dark even in the sun. *

Notes: bergamot, clove, tuberose, geranium leaf, carnation, oakmoss accord, leather, animal musk accord, vetiver, patchouli, labdanum, woods.

I recommend spending some time browsing the site. There is a section of natural perfume accords and aroma chemicals/materials with precise descriptions for those of us who are curious or who might want to experiment or learn more by physically handling the materials ourselves.

Please see my other posts on Writing Lyrical Poetry and Riverwalk.

Tom's River New Jersey is Cedar Water

* The term “cedar water” is used in several different ways, but most generally, it refers to water of a rather unique composition found in areas such as the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. This water has a distinctive dark color and earthy scent which reminds some people of cedar, explaining the name. (from WiseGeek)

This line comes in three sizes, 11ml $35, 32ml for $95 and samples for $4 (scroll down to bottom of page

Above top photo - please see this site on the photography of Heinrich Kuhn, an innovative photographer with unique techniques of photography from the early 1910s. Another original who experimented with delicate materials.

Second photo from demi-absolute page of the Soivohle site,
Third photo of Tom's River cedar Water photo from a trout fishing site.


JoanElaine said...

Both great perfumes, especially Green Oakmoss! I love the how the tuberose plays against the dry, mossy green notes.

Besides smellind good, I like Violets and Rainwater because it's not a shy, prim violet. To me, it's a "living" perfume, a snapshot of a wet garden blurred by an artist's brush.

Lucy said...

JoanElaine, brilliant, you know these well

dabney rose said...

I do so dearly love the Violet, and knowing Liz, I bet she has captured it authentically.
I may have to climb out of my 'natural box' and try this one!

Lucy said...

She'll make it worth your while, Dabney.

lostpastremembered said...

Both of these are glorious... love the descriptions... more like word riffs on scent... but violets and oakmoss are huge favorites of mine... actually getting parma violets to plant in the spring to see if I can capture the scent!

Lucy said...

Dear lostpast,
I believe violets are notoriously impossible to capture as naturals - has to be done via accords or with the aroma chemicals, but, you will have the highly scented plants alive which are my favorites too. Thank you for your kind words!

dabney rose said...

I have done this very thing; planted Parmas and right now have some I'm laying in enfleurage... definitely worth whatever it takes!
AND I ordered some samples heehee :)

olenska said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
olenska said...

Ah, you've caught me. Not only with your sensitive descriptions of the two perfumes (both now on my wishlist), but because you invoked the spirit of Pine Barrens cedar water, my favorite life-force elixir. Plus, Toms River = my hometown ages 6-20! <3

Lucy said...

Ah Olenska, I have such fond memories of swimming in cedar water as a child. My friend's mother would take us in the car up by your way and there would be these lakes in the woods, I was so fascinated by that water.