Eiderdown Press
Musings about Perfume and Life
In Memory
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Ramon Monegal Pure Mariposa

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

IN MEMORY 

On a recent walk through the park near our house, I noticed a small tree that had a tag loosely affixed to it, so I stopped to have a look.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that the tag was actually a plaque identifying the young tree as a shagbark hickory, donated to the park by a woman whose name I recognized because she had once been a journalist at our local newspaper.  The tree had been planted in memory of her son, whose name I remembered also, and in that instant their story came flooding back to me: a snowy morning some years back, the roads dangerously slick, she had been driving her kids to school and had pulled over to the side of the road.  I’m not certain of the details, but somehow her little boy got out of her car and was fatally struck by another vehicle.  I remember hearing the tragic news on the radio, first, and then having it brought home to me when my niece arrived at my house later that day.  The boy’s older sisters attended the same middle school as she did.  My niece did not know the little boy, but was shaken by her classmates’ loss, and I recall my own forlorn feeling at not having answers to her questions about this kind of tragedy: is it God’s will, or just a terribly unfortunate accident, the cost of being human on planet Earth?  I’m not sure what I said to console her, those several years ago, but when I unexpectedly came upon this tree in the snow and read its marker, a shock went through me, as if I’d stumbled upon a bookmark to a passage I had once known, but had completely forgotten; a strange wormhole in the space-time continuum of grief, even grief that is not your own, but the second- or third-hand grief of someone else.

If I had not recognized the names on the plaque of that tree, I probably would not have been so affected, but I think I’d still have been moved.  Because in the moments after I stopped thinking about Andrew, the boy who died, and Margaret, the mother who remembered him with something that seems so fitting in spirit with a little boy—a young tree, poised for upward, sprawling, leafy growth, in a park where children play—I thought about all of the ways that people memorialize their loved ones.  There are, of course, the really big memorials, the mausoleums and statues and what not, but I was thinking of the quiet, tender, wholly personal ways we choose to honor someone’s memory.  Most of the time, these are visual markers, like roadside shrines or tattoos (I had not realized how many people get tattoos in remembrance of loved ones until I watched Miami Ink) or something carved in stone or brick.  For some, the spoken word or music becomes the tribute through poem or song.  And for writers, such remembrances often take the shape of a memoir (which, though monumental in terms of undertaking and scope, is at its heart a work of great intimacy).

In her book, Circling My Mother: A Memoir, author Mary Gordon chooses a number of angles at looking back over her mother’s life, so as to remember her in the fullest way possible, in all her many roles: family breadwinner, whose earnings paid her parents’ mortgage and put four of her siblings through nursing school and college; survivor of polio that severely crippled her at the age of three; devout Catholic; single mother; stylish dresser who loved movies and theatre.  Because her mother’s life at the end was ravaged by alcoholism and dementia, Gordon seeks to resurrect the vital woman she once knew—the mother she yearns to “meet again”—through various means, including the experience of wearing and exploring her mother’s perfume, “the perfume my mother always wore for ‘special occasions,’” Gordon writes, “Arpège by Lanvin.”  After spotting an advertisement for Arpège at a duty-free shop on her way home from a trip to London, Gordon asks the sales clerk for a sample to try on.  After rubbing some on her wrists, “I walk around in it,” the author writes.  “To see if I can bear wearing my mother’s scent.  To see if I can bear being my mother.”

Gordon devotes a number of pages in her book to her exploration of the perfume, but it is her memory of the ritual involved in her mother’s application of the perfume—and of her own attempts as a child to latch onto her mother’s perfumed scent—that I find nostalgically touching. Gordon writes:  


“When my mother wanted to use Arpège, she would cover the opening of the bottle with her index finger, tip it back once, twice, then press her moistened finger first to her wrists, then behind her ears.  Then she would hold a linen handkerchief against the bottle’s opening and tip it back until a drop or two saturated the cloth.  She would put the cloth into her special handbag—for evenings out—and the more vivid scent that the cloth had absorbed would be taken into the leather.

“When she was away, at work or out at a meeting, I would go into her drawer, open her purse, and put my nose close, close against the leather, breathing it in, the animal leather smell an undercurrent still against the sophisticated scent that had become one with its essence, with its texture, the absorption transforming them both.  So I would smell the leather, then the handkerchief, and then, in a fit of radical daring, open the bottle to smell the perfume itself.”*

 

Reading Mary Gordon’s moving memoir, seeing the small tree in the park, I think about my own family—the three people I miss most, who have been dead for many years now: my father, who was a farmer and yet also a man who liked to go out on the town, a sharp-dressed man who loved tailored clothes and the bottle of Guerlain Vetiver I bought him from the drugstore when I was a teenager; his mother, my grandmother, who never wore perfume but who instilled a love of books and art and flower gardening in me; and my maternal grandfather, who was also a farmer but, again, a man who liked to put on a good shirt and necktie, to go out dancing, and who also loved the scent I bought for him—the Chanel Pour Monsieur that I gave to him when he was 90, and which he went through an entire bottle of when his “lady friend” declared that she liked it too.

I wonder if my life now is my memorial to them—an accidental memorial, rather than one made intentionally—this dabbling with perfumes and book publishing.  My renewed enthusiasm over the last few years for flower gardening.  On a good day, I like to believe that my life pays tribute to them, at least in some small way.  In my humbler moments, I realize these things are not a memorial or tribute of any sort, but rather the souvenirs they left me, their imprints on me.  Either way, they are markers:  reminders of the people I had the great fortune to love, and a reminder, too, of how very brief our time is with anyone that we love, no matter what age they live to.

*From Circling My Mother: A Memoir, copyright © 2007 by Mary Gordon (Pantheon Books, 2007, page 220).

(A special thank you to my friends Mary and Kara for recommending this book.)

Images: photo of Lavin Arpege from ImaginationPerfumery.com; photos of tree are my own.


Posted by Suzanne Keller, 2/21/2008.


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