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Michael Storer Winter Star
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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

Star of Wonder: Michael Storer Winter Star eau de parfum

New Year’s Eve is not yet here, but the holidays have wound down for me and I’m happy for it. Christmas was wonderful: I got to spend it with both my sisters (a rare occurrence due to my one sister living in Florida) and I got to show off a bit by cooking Christmas dinner for ten. However, even when Christmas is very, very good, its week-long excesses catch up to me in a way that leaves me feeling edgy, and I’m always relieved when the final Christmas visit has been made, the last holiday meal consumed. Arriving home from a visit to my father-in-law’s house a couple nights ago, I knew exactly what I wanted from the day ahead. A long run through the silent and frozen farm fields near my house; a super-long shower or bath, in which I wouldn’t have to worry about conserving hot water for houseguests; and some time to wear and ponder the beauty that is Winter Star eau de parfum by California-based, indie perfumer Michael Storer. A decant of Winter Star was gifted to me by my blogging friend Meg (whose review of the scent must be read, as she makes lovely and deft work of putting a finger on exactly what kind of elixir this is), and though I’d only had occasion to wear it once in the days leading up to Christmas, its unique scent, so well-suited to its name, lingered in my mind in almost perfect detail. So much so that even though I’d forgotten to take it with me to my father-in-law’s house, by the time my husband and I arrived home I knew how I wanted to write about it—specifically, I knew what chapter of a well-thumbed novel it brought to mind—and only the thought of trying to connect the dots between the two gave me serious pause.

Winter Star is a perfume that conveys a notion of something cool, shining, and singular in the distance that is nevertheless tethered to (or resonates with) the human element. It’s a fragrance where lavender is used imaginatively, in such a way that it doesn’t register as lavender to the nose but lends a sense of icy chill to the spicy-green balsams it wraps itself around, making one think of anise—smelled in its purest form but not alone, for there is also the smell of dirty jasmine and musk tied to the opening chords of this perfume. (Is the slightly urinous jasmine I smell real or imaginary? The listed notes for Winter Star include carnation, lavender, bergamot, oakmoss, peru balsam, benzoin, tolu balsam, labdanum, musks, civetone musk and Helvetolide musk. It wouldn’t surprise me if jasmine was also part of the formula, but then again, my nose might be simply under the influence of the naughty civetone).

One would think the result would be a muddle—this attempt to marry the cool, almost mentholated green motif of the fragrance with something that smells akin to warm, humid skin, more than a bit lived-in. I have no idea how perfumers create their magic, but I find that in Winter Star I can smell both these extremes and the vibration between them, such that a very clear “picture” of the fragrance emerges. The anise-like smell is as remote and shimmery as the moon—creating a sense of vastness—but it is hitched to something that smells intimate and personal. For about ten minutes, the “dirty” notes in Winter Star are strong enough that I can understand how some perfumistas think of this as a sexy perfume, but the fragrance to my nose is more weighted on the side of green coolness, and the fleshy notes become distinctly creamier as the fragrance dries down on its balsamic base. The first thing I thought of when I smelled Winter Star was a long-ago night from my childhood, when my father took me and my sisters sledding on the lane that ran through our farm, on a night when the sky was brittle and the full moon bounced its light off the snow. There’s not a lot to this memory, just the remembrance of my father pulling the three of us on a sled up the steep hill of our lane … of looking up into the majestic and unknowable beauty of the Cosmos and, at the same time, hearing the crunch of my father’s footsteps, the familiar smell of his sweat floating out into the winter air, and the equally familiar smell of my sisters, bundled up next to me in their winter clothes. That’s what I smell in Winter Star.

But as I mentioned, riding home the other night in the car, I found myself thinking about the scent of Winter Star and a favorite chapter of one of my favorite books: The Cider House Rules, John Irving’s novel about a physician who runs an orphanage in rural Maine in the first half of the 20th century. It doesn’t reference winter, but it beautifully evokes this seemingly incongruous but very human sense that the infinite cosmos—so foreign to us in every regard—somehow connects us to one another and to the answers we are searching for. Dr. Wilbur Larch has just received a letter from his favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who was never adopted and thus grew up at the orphanage, the recipient of Larch’s tutelage in the ways of obstetrics and other, more controversial medical procedures. Homer recently left the orphanage to live and work with a wealthy apple-orchard-owning family on the Maine coast, and because he is happy there, he struggled with what to put in his letter to Dr. Larch:

How do I say, “I miss you” he wondered—when I don’t mean, “I want to come back!”?

And so he ended the letter in his fashion; he ended it inexactly. “I remember when you kissed me,” he wrote to Dr. Larch. “I wasn’t really asleep.”

Yes, thought Dr. Larch, I remember that, too. He rested in the dispensary. Why didn’t I kiss him more—why not all the time?

The chapter gets on and about with other business, but at the end of it there is a series of passages in which Homer is gazing out the window of the room he shares with his first real friend, the heir to the apple orchard, Wally, whose girlfriend Homer has fallen in love with, a fact which is causing him some distress. Distracted by the cool, hard glint of moon on the roof of the Cider House and thinking about whether or not he should return to the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, Homer poses his questions to the winking moonlight at the same time that Doctor Larch, an ether addict (the drug provides his only form of relaxation), is lying on the dispensary bed at St. Cloud’s—“with both the stars of Maine and the stars of ether circling around him”—wondering how to get Homer to return to continue the work the aging doctor will soon be forced to leave off. There is much flashing of light from the heavens as the two men consider their options, and then the sky goes dark and still. Dr. Larch gets up and begins typing a letter to Homer:

“I remember nothing so vividly as kissing you,” Dr. Larch began, but he stopped; he knew he couldn’t say that. He pulled the page from the typewriter, then he hid it deep within A Brief History of St. Cloud’s, as if were another particle of history without an audience.

David Copperfield had a fever when he’d gone to bed, and Larch went to check on the boy. Dr. Larch was relieved to feel that young Copperfield’s fever had broken; the boy’s forehead was cool, and a slight sweat chilled the boy’s neck, which Larch carefully rubbed with a towel. There was not much moonlight; therefore Larch felt unobserved. He bent over Copperfield and kissed him, much in the manner that he remembered kissing Homer Wells. Larch moved to the next bed and kissed Smoky Fields, who tasted vaguely like hot dogs; yet the experience was soothing to Larch. How he wished he had kissed Homer more, when he’d had the chance! He went from bed to bed, kissing the boys; it occurred to him, he didn’t know all their names, but he kissed them anyway. He kissed all of them.

When he left the room, Smoky Fields asked the darkness, “What was that all about?” But no one else was awake, or else no one wanted to answer him.

I wish he would kiss me, thought Nurse Edna, who had a very alert ear for unusual goings-on.

“I think it’s nice,” Mrs. Grogan said to Nurse Angela, when Nurse Angela told her about it.

“I think it’s senile,” Nurse Angela said.

But Homer Wells, at Wally’s window, did not know that Dr. Larch’s kisses were out in the world, in search of him.

Tomorrow marks my father’s birthday, were he still alive. I will be wearing Winter Star and hoping the evening sky is clear enough to glimpse the moon, the stars and Venus.

 

Michael Storer Winter Star eau de parfum was at one time a limited-edition fragrance, but if my understanding is correct, can still be purchased from the perfumer. Although his website is currently unavailable due to a redesign, he recently let Basenotes.net know that he can be reached via email at sales@michaelstorer.com. (He’s also on Facebook.)

The Cider House Rules, copyright © 1985 by Garp Enterprises, Ltd. (William & Morrow Company, Inc., New York, 1985, pp. 255 & 262)

Images: MacKenzie Thorpe's "Out with Dad," scanned from a Christmas card I bought; photo of perfume bottle is from Basenotes.net.



Posted by Suzanne Keller, 12/30/2011.


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