After a long cool Spring here, we are plunged into the upper limits of humidity and languor. Early mornings of gentleness, long afternoons of searing sun, blue evenings of balmy air blowing in long sessions of driving rains.
Perfumes are helpful in reaching needful moments of serenity at any time. Fortifying an inner balance to face the long mid-afternoon heat, and the compelling news cycle that renews and magnifies itself every day. Like taking a vitamin for the soul. They could be aids to help gather strength to meet the basic requirement for focus on efforts to move forward in the midst of whatever may come.
Certain perfume styles and kinds lend themselves to a balance against weather and news concerns and anxieties. We know that above a certain temperature and humidity, humans tend to get irritable, frustrated, and some go over the edge. Outside the personal, there are the public events that are our shared lives taking twists and turns, intensifying over time, especially now.
A relaxing dreamy personal perfume aura can make small yet clear calls to attention. Silent invitations to moments of peace and relaxation and memory triggers of free wild beauty. Connections to seasonal cycles, day dreams of time-expanding childhood summers.
Times like this I hold the strong dramatic big perfume clouds in reserve, and reach for the soft, building, atmospheric, persistent ones.
Have made a series of perfumes inspired by plants that have a dangerous as well as a beneficial healing side. These three are my favorites from the series. They are all steeped in the feeling of the plant and flower, rather than presenting an exact olfactory likeness. They are an emotional portrait of the plant's meanings and associations, built over ages. We've known and used these elements of nature since earliest recorded time. They all still grow wild along the edges of woods, water, or wherever the soil is left alone, in a wide range of continents, as climate permits. Not gender specific, I would wear them as staples of a daily wardrobe, alone or among a crowd.
I must emphasize, that for me at this moment, looking for soothing aspects in perfume, these three were especially atmospheric, and these descriptions are primarily about the perfume aura they create. That is, I was more attracted to the essence of silken mildness in the perfume aura around me rather than the detailed high intensity drama they reveal closer on the skin. All three share that dimensionality, so it's another facet to enjoy in these perfumes. They were inspired by the legends of danger bound to potentially lethal botanicals. These dangerous plants also have well known healing aspects on the central nervous system. In careful doses, they have been relied on for centuries to ease a wide spectrum of mental and bodily problems. Turns out these perfumes' arm's length auras also impart that sense of ease and relaxation.
|Field poppies, by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, c. 1912 via Wikipedia|
Sichuan Pepper, Curry Leaf, Red Pepper, Black Gardenia, Jasmine Sambac, Red Rose, Old Church Incense, Labdanum, Tuberose, Styrax, Musk Tonquin
20% Parfum concentration
This is a dreamy fog of a perfume, a gentle enveloping softness. Applied to the neck and arms, it reaches out from the skin to move with you for a perfume aura of pure relaxation. Up close, you get the more intense and specific peppers and curry, the gently indolic florals, surrounded by the white smoke of incense as softened by a cloudy musk. As it rises out from the skin, it mixes into a soothing atmosphere that ornaments your presence and unfolds with a satisfying peaceful slowness. It seems to say 'take your time'. Similar to the feeling you get after coming out of a warm ocean, that sense of calm, replete. At this 20% high concentration, it holds and remains true and satisfying. It opens the door to a serene center within, exerting its invisible influence over a more extended time than usual for me. A creamy lightness, a presence of subtle soft sweetness, a light silken cloak. Season-less, but especially right for this high humidity.
The poppy is well known as the source of opium, which has its legendary and dangerous effects, as well as its uses and even overuse in treatment of pain of all kinds.
|Digitalis from the site First Nature, with much info on this wild growing botanical|
Has a wild, feral heart, close to the earth, with the energy of a weed, confident and calm in its strength. This one is a combination of soft-edged contrasts. Fresh coolness, greenery, crossed with the scent of deep well water. Green set like a gem within water filtered by air, streaming through sun in a brimming Roman fountain. The calm central pool is the structure that supports the green freshness. An inhalation of the green air surrounding carpets of ferns, violets, mosses, in the aura space. Sliced cucumber green coolness blends with the cool liquid tone. An beautifully atmospheric perfume, again the details show up most intensely right up against the skin. The perfume's more distant aura blends all together seamlessly. The shades of green elements' tang reach out over a brimming pool of fresh water. This is the scent equivalent of shade on a hot humid day. The uplifting clear energy goes liquid.
Have read that within narrow limits, digitalis calms and strengthens an arrhythmic heart, bearing in mind a fine dangerous line that must be carefully observed, because it may slow the beat down much too much. A quick pulse can mean high blood pressure and heat, stress and possibly difficult emotion. This scent emanation of chilled green fresh living water calls up an automatic relaxation response in mind and body. Fresh water and green are primal connections to the healthy vigor of life that goes on with us or without us. This perfume reminds me of the refreshment of those primal forces.
|from Slate's article on the Deadly Night Shade, Wild Things series, Photo by Flickr user Peganum|
@15% Eau de Parfum
Hypnotic, seductively restful, this perfume starts out waving its wand over you with vigor and then as it winds you and itself down, retreats into your core, where it maintains warmth. Like an invisible cashmere sweater, it makes a magical insulation barrier on a hot day as well as a light layer of relaxing charm if unexpectedly caught in a chill. The second phase of steady warm aromatic gentleness is like a smile that lightens your state of mind. A smooth silk pillow that cools and rests the skin and eyes. It hovers with a steady gentle furry warmth just strong enough to relax the facial muscles. I can see how its honied sueded waxed florals are piqued around the edges with the sweet coolness of violet and iris, and the dryness of vetiver. It has an ornate, indeed Venetian quality around those edges. It makes a frame around you, highlights dusted with soft gold. Up close to the skin there is an intoxicating quality, like a glass or two of wine.
Infamously poisonous, the plant is also known as Deadly Nightshade, but it has useful relaxant and pain numbing, anesthetic qualities when used skillfully. Venetians of old had a penchant for its use as a sweet poison, hence the double side of its names, both beautiful woman and deadly nightshade.
Love them all, but I will put the 20% parfum strength Poppy Soma at the top of my list of Most Wanteds. The unusually steady hold on my particular perfume eating skin with its deeply relaxant properties would be the one I'd reach for most often.
Thank you to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, who provided samples. They have more details and gorgeous descriptions of the full line here. They have a sample set available, so you can find out which one gets to you the most. The perfumes are on their shelves so you can visit there to try right away in person, too.
You can hit the links at each perfume title above to get the Sixth Sense Quartana website, with more on the legends of each botanical and links to each perfumer with much more about this project, and links to other reviews. You can also see the gorgeously colorful and wild packaging/presentation of these perfumes.
For more on dangerous botanicals and their uses and abuses, try this article from Slate about Belladonna as the Deadly Nightshade, which also gives links to an interesting new book about dangerous botanicals. The captions to the photos above credit and link to fascinating articles with much more on these plants.
Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved