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Maison Martin Margiela (untitled)
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A Conversation on 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

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 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

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

Perfume and a Movie . . . or in my usual fashion, the other way around:

The Scent of Green Papaya and Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

This past weekend I watched The Scent of Green Papaya, a Vietnamese-language film which featured very little dialogue, offered up even less in the way of plot, and was enchantingly beautiful. (It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1994.) Its story focuses on a girl named Mui who at age ten becomes a servant for a merchant-class family in Saigon in the year 1951; its focus is in allowing the viewer to glimpse the world through her eyes—and by “world,” I mean the small sphere that encompasses the affairs of the household she works in and its languid, green environs. The larger world of war and politics does not intrude on this story (at least not directly), and while certain sadnesses and tragedies do figure into it, they are the everyday tragedies that visit all lives, that touch all families at some point in time. The unexpected death of a child; the spouse who strays; the love that is unrequited yet continues to leave its piercing mark on the heart, even into old age. Therein lies their significance: while keenly depicted and felt, these commonplace sorrows do not occupy the film. Through the eyes of Mui, we see them as a part of life, not the all-absorbing whole of it, because through her we see so much more. From the moment we meet her, Mui proves that she is like Buddha, she is awake.

Awake to the small yet kaleidoscopically unfolding beauties of the natural world.

Awake to the spotted green frog that hops about on the slick surface of a rain-soaked leaf in the courtyard where she prepares food, hangs laundry and shines shoes—and to the rain itself, that makes the tropical, big-leaved plants glisten while filling her ears with its silvery and comforting sound.  Awake to the hiss of the fat in the pan where she is sautéing vegetables … to the insects that carry out their boulder-sized tasks as she is attending hers … and to the cache of pearl-like seeds secreted away in the heart of a green papaya.

What I love about this film is that it chose not to focus on the meager estate of a servant girl: Mui is not mistreated in any way; in fact, she is lovingly looked after by both the lady of the house and the older servant who trains her. If there is anything clichéd about The Scent of Green Papaya, it is the kind of cliché that becomes one with good reason: a reminder that our existence is largely shaped by the way we view life. When Mui arrives at this household, we assume that here is going to be a story about someone who occupies the meekest station in life and therefore must suffer all kinds of indignities. And we are treated instead to a visually stunning film that shows how wondrous and magnified an existence a person can have, no matter what station she occupies, no matter what sorrows endure side-by-side with life’s beauties.

(Realizing that my slant on the film might present it in Pollyanna-like terms that might lead one to judge it unfairly, consider instead the words of its writer-director, Tran Anh Hung. “In The Scent of Green Papaya, I wanted to show the regular life of the Vietnamese people. I wanted to show their humanity, which hasn’t been seen yet at the movies,” he said in a 1994 interview, noting that “it was born from the images I have of my mother, the freshness and the beauty of my mother’s gestures.”)

I’ve watched it twice now and have decided that if this film could be summed up in the notes of a perfume, it would be Maison Martin Margiela’s first perfume, known simply as “Untitled”—or rather, (untitled), in lower case letter and parentheses that I find both curious and funny. Offering up a quietly radiant combination of green notes, incense and orange blossom, (untitled) hits the skin smelling piquantly green and crisp, and as it wears on the skin over time, the fragrance seems to shift back and forth between smelling arid and incensey and cool and misty, always with an element of something verdant about it. The incense note engages the greens within a minute after the fragrance is applied, and it imparts a sensibility that I rightly or wrongly associate with all things Asian: it’s a detectable incense note, but one that is in harmony with the fragrance and does not assert itself in a way that overly draws your attention to it. It lends a touch of smokiness to the greens and makes me feel like I am in the courtyard of Mui’s house, laying vegetables in a gently smoking pan.

Equally present and upfront is the orange blossom note (“bitter orange blossom absolute” is how it is listed in the perfume’s official notes pyramid, which I’ll include below), which at first adds a citric bite to the perfume, underscoring the piquancy of its greens, but which later sweetens, thanks to the aid of jasmine, to add a touch of serene floralcy to the scent. There is nothing nectarous in this perfume; the florals and greens achieve an exquisite freshness that makes one think of clean rainwater washing over plants in a courtyard … and reminds me of the many beautiful scenes in The Scent of Green Papaya where Mui, as both a young girl and, ten years later, a young woman, washes her hands and face in a basin of cool water.  A heavy dose of clean musk casts the perfume in a mist that really works well with this composition, and there is enough cedar in its base accord to anchor the perfume and accentuate the other, drier side of the perfume that the incense introduces. Here is a yin-yang combination of coolness and warmth that says we are not in the great outdoors, but neither are we locked away indoors either. Wearing (untitled), I can easily imagine living in the beautiful Vietnamese house that Mui occupied as a childa place where man-made and natural worlds meet—and in the imagining, be reminded again of how life is not made up of only one thing  ... and what a graceful act it is to acknowledge the balance.

 

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum was created by perfumer Daniela Andrier and launched in 2010. It’s official notes are listed as:

Top notes: Galbanum essence, Box green, Bitter orange blossom absolute
Middle notes: Lentiscus resinoid, Jasmine, Galbanum resinoid
Base notes: Musk, Cedar, Incense resinoid

It can be purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue, where a 1.7 oz bottle is currently $100. My review is based on a sample sent to me by a friend. (Thank you, sweetest Ann!)

Image (top of page) is actress Man San Lu playing the role of Mui in the 1994 film, The Scent of Green Papaya.
Bottle image is from SaksFifthAvenue.com

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 10/9/2012.


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