October 29, 2014

Slumberhouse: Sadanne, Ore, Sova

Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac
Slumberhouse makes perfumes that are different and original even in comparison to those of the wildly diverse indie-perfumes category.  They stand out and apart even for those with wide experience of the ultra-niche category as unusual perfumes, but they are deeply attractive and addictive nonetheless, for all their individuality. They smell really good, and that's what counts, right? 

There is a mythic, Scandinavian feel to them, as referenced by the names of the perfumes.  Strong and dominated by deep and rich base notes, some might say they are made for men, but those women who are drawn to deep tones in perfume will want them for themselves.  I know I do.  

I have Norne, and have written about it before.  Norne's deep winter evergreen saps and resins and cool air reclaim the fragrance of evergreens away from their commercial overuse to their rightful place as wild and beautiful substances that enhance inner and outer well-being.

Sadanne is a perfume that suits my skin extraordinarily well as it starts beautifully and then just keeps getting better and better for me. I'm sitting here a little surprised at how good I smell after five hours, and with what strength. My skin generally absorbs fragrance which rarely lasts past breakfast, but this miraculously has lasted (and how). The perfumer's primary dedication to his base notes above all pays off for me and I dare say will for most others who feel a pull toward deep dark mysterious perfumes.

Sadanne, unusually for this line, does indulge in a top note of strong and unique character, redolent of strawberries preserved in bourbon. The delicate freshness of this floral-scented wild form of the berry emanates from the skin but that spirit is tethered to the body by the wildness and depth of natural base notes, used in composition to be most of the perfume in itself. 

On first impression, some might find the use of strawberry untoward in a fine perfume, but in this case do try again, as it is a rediscovery of the unassuming beauty that has always been there under our noses. I then turns into quite another thing as the  base notes take over. 

Again, as with Norne, I am relieved that a scent that has been overused in a commercial way has been reclaimed for fine perfume. 

As in others of this line, the base notes are powerful and all consuming.
From the amusingly taciturn website filled with images of possibly decadent goings on, it is described to be:

Stained glass syrup
Serenades in damascone minor
Allegory obscured / pastel wound
A slurry of subtlety
note list unavailable
I find it to be ultra-sensual in that it does one of my favorite things that good perfumes do, that is, unite opposites in a way that is close to sexual in sensuality.  Highlighting opposing differences and characteristics, as in yin/yang, masculine/feminine, light/dark, etc. 

Here that would be the delicacy and subtle mystery of a fresh small delicate wild strawberry, not so far off in time or character from its own floral beginnings, crossed with a deep lake full of cedar water where mossy sticks and heavy earth and sand and fir needles from the surrounding balsamic trees have fallen down to the murky bottom. Brewing intoxication, as that bourbon boozy feel comes forth.  

Seductive, in that the more I smell it the better I like it; it grows on me more and more. I even get a hint of that strawberry still, clinging to me long past any length of time I could reasonably expect it to.  It's a gift. Like strong coffee or whiskey this perfume might well be an acquired taste, but once you do acquire it, most addictive. 

I suspect the Scandinavian connection is the famous Bergman movie title: Wild Strawberries.  I have not yet seen this film, tho I have most of his others, and I believe it is full of romantic melancholy, with close ups of beautiful faces, dwelling on blonde skin.

This perfume stands out as a departure for the line, which until now eschewed the use of top notes or florals. 

Now Ore is described on the site this way:
A swim with the caramel nettles
Flooded with dusky murk
Wish I could dream it again
Oakwood, cocoa, mahogany, guaiac, dittany of crete, vanilla, whiskey lactone & peru resin
Yes, just like it says, it's the essential nature of oak mixed with several other delicious things like cocoa and vanilla and whiskey, and noble and beautiful trees contributing more, such as scent-color and strength from mahogany and the Amazonian guaiac.  

I am unfamiliar with Dittany of Crete but I am getting a touch of incense formed by the combination of all these things that would burn with fragrant smoke if set afire. Peru resin is like sap circulating within it all.  I find it a delightfully rich complex and austere version of a scent dessert for the skin.  
Dittany of Crete from Wikipedia

So ok, I could not resist a little research (though I have been trying not to be literal minded about notes lately).  I looked up Dittany of Crete, it is an herb related to oregano, known in the lore of Classical and Northern European legends, used in healing, and even in witchcraft for astral projection, to give spirits a physical body, and as an aphrodisiac.  Why am I not surprised? 

I think here it gives a lift of its strong Mediterranean herbal oregano-like nature, though not dominant in any way, simply brightening the other smooth velvety tones that otherwise might go too far down the road of soft gourmand. Again, longevity to the end of time, though growing closer and closer to the skin as time goes on.

Sova.  More in the general aesthetic line, like Ore, of Slumberhouse as we know it so far, it is described by the site in this way:
"All the glorious trials of youth dear boy. When I was a lad I'd rocket off on my tandem with Wrigglesworth and ride and ride. Find some old barn and fall asleep with the sweet perfume of hay on our lips." -Montague
Tonka bean, hops, poplar bud, hay, tahitian vanilla, castoreum, amber fossil, broom, cocoa, araucaria, sweet clover, beeswax, acacia, pipe tobacco

The quote is accurate in that it depicts almost an overdose of dry hay that is so pervasive you can almost taste it in your mouth, sinking into the pores and coming out of the skin like scented sweat after some wholesome athletic exertion.

It reproduces the sensation of the outdoors, of the open summer country roads and making strenuous muscular effort that inevitably leads to passing out into the deep dreamless sleep referenced above.  

I find it almost overwhelmingly narcotic, with a dry malted aspect that is heavy even if soft.  I believe the tobacco rides the perfume and gives it that slightly mind-altering tone.  I find myself sensitive to it and could not take much of it for long, as I am a former smoker who goes a little faint these days at the scent of pipe tobacco, but it would be perfect for someone who can carry it. Someone like a poet from the Beat Generation or an Abstract Expressionist painter.

The tonka bean and vanilla infused into the beeswax, clover and tobacco intensify that dizzying effect for me, while I must emphasize it stays soft within its strength. 

This one definitely leans into masculine of a brawny kind, for one who might enjoy intoxicants of every variety, and acclimated enough not to be as overwhelmed by them as I am.  With only one spray it's quite tenacious and if I get too close to it on my skin I go a little light headed.  This might be what Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac or Willem DeKooning, smelled like, handsome devils who could hold their intoxicants and their ecstasy and keep asking for more.

There are new flacons, glass and metal fashioned into something reminiscent of a hip flask.

Disclosure: Samples generously provided by Twisted Lily of Brooklyn.  The above three are extrait strength.

These thoughts are my own and these posts are not compensated or commissioned.

You can get samples and full sizes from Twisted Lily, or order from the Slumberhouse site if you are not nearby, or check their list of stockists if you want to go and try in person right away.

Please visit the sites linked to above for more information.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved. 

Photos above from Pinterest and the Slumberhouse website.

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