A More Affordable Olfactionary
Amouage Interlude Man
Amouage Opus III
Amouage Opus VAmouage Opus VI
Amouage TributeAnnick Goutal Encens Flamboyant
Annick Goutal Heure ExquiseAnnick Goutal Petite Cherie
Annick Goutal Sables
April Aromatics Calling All Angels
April Aromatics Bohemian SpiceApril Aromatics Jasmina
At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)
At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante) At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)
Ava Luxe Café Noir
Carner Barcelona D600
Caron Aimez-MoiChantilly Dusting Powder
Clive Christian C for WomenComme des Garcons Daphne
Comme des Garcons LUXE ChampacaCostes by Costes
Creed Virgin Island WaterDeneuve
Gucci Eau de Parfum Gucci L'Arte di Gucci Guerlain Angelique Noire Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia
Guerlain Samsara Parfum
How I Store Decants
Il Profumo Cannabis
Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant
Kenzo SummerLa Via del Profumo Hindu Kush
La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe
La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project
Montale Black AoudNeila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling
Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps
Nez a Nez Ambre a SadeOmar Sharif Pour Femme
Oriscent Pure Oud OilsParfum d'Empire Azemour
Parfum d'Empire Cuir OttomanParfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs Parfumerie Generale Indochine
Parfums de Nicolai SacrebleuParfums Retro Grand Cuir
Paris, je t'aime
Pascal Morabito Or Black
Robert Piguet Fracas
Serge Lutens Borneo 1834
Serge Lutens Boxeuses
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette
Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)
SoOud Ouris Parfum NectarStone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)
Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain
The Diary of a Nose, Book Review
Tokyo Milk Ex Libris
Vero Profumo Mito Viktoria Minya Eau de Hongrie
Viktoria Minya Hedonist
Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb
Links to Other Blogs I Enjoy
All I Am - A Redhead
A Perfume Blog (Blacknall Allen)
Another Perfume Blog (Natalie)
Australian Perfume Junkies
Beauty on the Outside
Bois de Jasmin
Bonkers About Perfume
Ca Fleure Bon
Eyeliner on a Cat
From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter
Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog
Grain de Musc
I Smell Therefore I Am
Katie Puckrik Smells
Memory of Scent
Muse in Wooden Shoes
Natural Perfumery by Salaam
Notes on Shoes, Cake & Perfume
Notes From Josephine
Notes From the Ledge
Now Smell This
Oh, True Apothecary!
Purple Paper Planes
Redolent of Spices
Riktig Parfym: Ramblings of a Fragrant Fanatic
Scents of Place
Scents of Self
Sorcery of Scent
The Alembicated Genie
The Candy Perfume Boy
The Fragrant Man
The French Exit
The Perfume Magpie
The Scented Hound
The Sounds of Scent
The Vintage Perfume Vault
This Blog Really Stinks
Undina's Looking Glass
WAFT by Carol
Guerlain Angélique Noire: Singular
In the first week of April, before Lavender died, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross received a good-luck charm from Martha.
It was a simple pebble, an ounce at most. Smooth to the touch, it was a milky white color with flecks of orange and violet, oval-shaped, like a miniature egg. In the accompanying letter, Martha wrote that she had found the pebble on the Jersey shoreline, precisely where the land touched water at high tide, where things came together but also separated. It was this separate-but-together quality, she wrote, that had inspired her to pick up the pebble and to carry it in her breast pocket for several days, where it seemed weightless, and then to send it through the mail, by air, as a token of her truest feelings for him. Lieutenant Cross found this romantic. But he wondered what her truest feelings were, exactly, and what she meant by separate-but-together. He wondered how the tides and waves had come into play on that afternoon along the Jersey shoreline when Martha saw the pebble and bent down to rescue it from geology. He imagined bare feet. Martha was a poet, with the poet's sensibilities, and her feet would be brown and bare, the toenails unpainted, the eyes chilly and somber like the ocean in March, and though it was painful, he wondered who had been with her that afternoon. He imagined a pair of shadows moving along the strip of sand where things came together but also separated. It was phantom jealousy, he knew, but he couldn't help himself. He loved her so much. On the march, through the hot days of early April, he carried the pebble in his mouth, turning it with his tongue, tasting sea salt and moisture. His mind wandered. He had difficulty keeping his attention on the war. On occasion he would yell at his men to spread out the column, to keep their eyes open, but then he would slip away into daydreams, just pretending, walking barefoot along the Jersey shore, with Martha, carrying nothing. He would feel himself rising. Sun and waves and gentle winds, all love and lightness.†
The above excerpt is from Tim O’Brien’s award-winning book, The Things They Carried, a novel-in-stories about the Vietnam War. I’m not sure any other author has ever written so poignantly about that war, and though all of the stories in the books are mesmerizing, the title story, from which this passage is taken, gets my vote as the most poignant and the most mesmerizing, not only for what it says but by how it is written. The bulk of the story is a series of lists of what the soldiers carried or “humped” across the war-strewn jungle landscape of that country: lists of everyday necessity items like P-38 can openers, mosquito repellent, C-rations and water canteens; lists of the guns and grenades and ammunition, the ponchos and jackets and gear. Lists of the items that kept them occupied in the downtime (tobacco, playing cards, pencils, stationery and stamps for the letters they wrote home), as well as the intangible items they carried too – their “emotional baggage” (fears, superstitions and private shames). O’Brien lists the weight, in pounds, of some of the items they carry, and, by placing that in the reader’s mind, the lists themselves acquire weight. Ticked off in a matter-of-fact style, the lists are both unsentimental and personal (“Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose wrapped around his neck as a comforter”), and by some literary sleight-of-hand, achieve two things at once: they function as a shorthand narrative of what an army “grunt,” or infantry man, did during the war, and at the same time, they lend the story its crushing heaviness. The reader feels the stacking effect of these burdens, and the sense that each soldier is carrying them mostly alone, his only community being his small band of army brothers.
Yet for a story to have emotional impact, in addition to dark weightiness it must also have a sense of light – the light that one wants to believe in, that could just as easily slip away. So, in between the lists of the things they carried there is a loosely woven story: a rumination by Lieutenant Jimmy Cross on the college girl he fell in love with, Martha. A girl who sends him letters (and the pebble) but who is too cool and noncommittal to be considered his sweetheart. Because Martha is aloof in person yet poetic in her communiqués – sending him this stone which she carried next to her bosom, which she describes in terms that could lead a young soldier to hope for a future with her, as well as to question that hope – she becomes a distraction. A phantom lover. A burden so infinitely tender it would not seem to be a burden at all, until the day that it is; until the day that Lieutenant Cross feels that it has kept him from performing his duties and decides he can’t carry it anymore.
I have thought about this story, about this stone and the two people who carry it separately yet together, for a long time. Now I can finally put a perfume to it – something I knew I would eventually do. Every time I read or think about The Things They Carried, this pebble has weight to me; I imagine how it felt, tasted and smelled.
Guerlain Angélique Noire is the olfactory version of the pebble (and of the young woman who slipped it into her pocket for several days before slipping it into a letter). Angélique Noire is a vanilla perfume, and yet it is the poet’s vanilla scent: more enigmatic than effusive, more dreamy than direct. Though the name would suggest that it smells primarily of the angelica flower, one only has to sniff the atomizer of whatever vessel is holding this fragrance (the bottle, or, in my case, a sample vial) to know that vanilla is its overriding theme. Sniffing it in such a way (from the atomizer, before applying it on skin), it seems to promise an experience akin to sniffing a pricey bottle of vanilla extract used for baking. What a surprise, then, to spray it on and discover that this vanilla lands on the skin as if surrounded by sea mist, vegetation and suede leather, and that it continues in this vein. For almost the duration of its wear. Angélique Noire is an elegantly-vegetal vanilla perfume that is more cool than warm – or in other words, a vanilla perfume largely informed by the angelica plant: a plant with a juniper-like scent reminiscent of crisp air and the kind of greens that grow densely in the shade. On its own, angelica has a fern-and-pine, mineral water-and-air, gin-like smell. In Angélique Noire, where it is grafted onto a dominant vanilla accord, the melding of the two has a tempering effect on both the angelica and the vanilla. As such, the angelica note is not as brisk and tonic as it appears in other perfumes (like Frederic Malle Angéliques sous la Pluie), but a softer and more amorphous form of cool. It smells like a very pretty form of dill – like the dill and sugar brine that is used for gravlax (minus the actual gravlax, of course). And the vanilla is not the liqueur-like confectioner’s vanilla I expected when sniffing the atomizer, but a vanilla that is more teasing and ambiguous.
The collision of the two accords creates a fragrance that is softly complex – a fragrance that has a true alfresco nature (reminding me of the sea pebble) yet is married to a sweet-and-creamy something that might best be filed under the descriptor of “longing” (reminding me of Martha). It is a fairly linear perfume that doesn’t change much over the duration of its wear, and I am fine with that, finding complexity, instead, in the interplay between the two main accords. While the overall effect is a cool vanilla scent, the rub between the two produces some warm facets – an inky, iodine-like smell that reminds me of the sea; a hint of rum-like sweetness – both of them as subtle as these other facets: A mineral-like scent reminiscent of fresh gravel spread on a road. Suede leather that plays hide-and-seek. And a chill, slightly perfumey herbalness that recalls the kind of herbs used in brines – capers and dill, sweetly refreshing and weedy – rather than the savory herbs one more commonly finds in a garden. Altogether, they make Angélique Noire a vanilla scent that can’t be pinned down. It’s elegant in the way that perfumes from the Guerlain house always are, but it’s got a restless, outdoor spirit. It’s a perfume for the person who quietly follows the beat of her or his own drum, who seems to enjoy solitude and separateness more than togetherness, yet who is dreamy, rather than prickly, in this regard.
* * *
In The Things They Carried, along with the pebble Martha sent him, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried her letters that were always signed “Love, Martha” even though her letters never spoke of real love or of the war. Without the weight of commitment, she would seem to be an easy thing to carry – a “Gentle on My Mind” kind of girl – but sometimes it’s the softest straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Angélique Noire eau de parfum has top notes of bergamot, angelica seeds, pink pepper,
and pear; heart notes of sambac jasmine and caraway; and base notes of
angelica root, vanilla and cedar wood. It can be purchased from
Bergdorfgoodman.com, where a 75-ml bottle is currently $260. My review
is based on a sample I received from my blogging friend, Undina.
†The Things They Carried, copyright © 1990 by Tim O'Brien (Originally published by Houghton Mifflin and reprinted in paperback by Broadway Books, a division of Random House New York, 1998, page 8)
Photo of woman with windswept hair can be found various places on Internet; photographer unknown by me.
Posted by Suzanne Keller, 5/30/2015.
Like Taking Tea with an Asian Beauty: Puredistance WHITE
I should probably state this right off the bat, so as not to confuse:
WHITE, the new perfume from the luxury perfume house Puredistance, is
neither a jasmine perfume nor a tea perfume. Nonetheless, the first time
I smelled it, my immediate comparison was to two specific teas:
jasmine, with its leaves wound into pearls that unfurl like anemones as
they steep, until one’s cup is filled with an infusion that resembles a
delicate perfume more than actual tea; and white tea, which is often
accompanied by notes of vanilla, coconut or lychee, such that it smells
dessert-like, but softly so. “This is a perfume that would appeal to the
tea connoisseur,” I said to myself (and thought of my friend Ann of
Perfume Posse). “Especially to someone who appreciates very fine nuances
of aroma.” You wouldn’t think that person would be me but you’d be
I’ve been sampling WHITE off and on now for over a month, and my perception hasn’t changed. Its scent sweeps me off to a country I’ve never been to – China – where I’m being served jasmine tea in a beautiful setting by an equally beautiful Chinese woman. Or maybe I’m in Japan or Viet Nam or some other part of the part of the Orient – it really doesn’t matter. The feeling is one of pared-down elegance that I rightly or wrongly equate with Asian beauty and Asian art, although “pared-down” isn’t quite right. What I really mean is beauty that has a sense of precision, an understanding of form, and a feeling of alignment. WHITE is a fragrance meant to convey happiness, and it achieves this by being fine-boned, focused and centering to the mind rather than (in the western way) eclectic, loping and full of itself. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter: when it comes to happiness, the reckless Bohemian approach can be exhilarating – and so, too, perfumes with an uninhibited sense of joie de vivre. I know, because I own a good number of such perfumes, but over the past year I’ve been favoring fragrances that take a poetic and reined-in approach; it is simply where my mood has been. WHITE evokes happiness by way of its elegant and ethereal olfactory strokes that speak of contentment rather than of the dizzying, electrifying joys of freedom.
Composed around notes of rose de mai, tonka bean, iris, sandalwood, bergamot, musk, vetiver and patchouli, WHITE starts off smelling floral and feminine, reminiscent of honeyed jasmine blossoms suspended in a delicately aqueous and green-tinged accord, which is why it reminds me of jasmine tea and not just of the flower itself. As jasmine is noticeably absent from the notes list, I wonder if the effect is due to the Rose de Mai – described by Wikipedia as having a scent that is “clear and sweet, with notes of honey” – in combo with the coolness of iris? Whatever accounts for it, this opening stage of the perfume not only has the aroma of a floral tea but is as gently stimulating as that beverage. It taps the pleasure center of the brain in a way that elicits a feeling of joy that is pure (innocently pure, as there is nothing indolic or strumpet-like about this bouquet), calm and very “present.” The warmth of its bouquet reminds me of sunlight, an uplifting and golden smell that makes me feel like a cat basking in the sunlight of a window. WHITE is not as high-soaring a perfume as, for instance, Jean Patou Joy is with its operatic amounts of soprano-like jasmine and rose. WHITE’s floralcy is softer and anchored by a humid botanical element that verges on the aquatic (but only verges). I often develop crushes on perfumes expressing a dewy, almost minty form of greenness in their opening notes, and there is a hint of that here too, lending youthfulness while secretly working as a ballast that keeps WHITE from being too excitable. It is as if WHITE’S humidity has trapped an innocent bloom in its balmy embrace and both want to stay there and talk for awhile.
And luckily they can, because WHITE’s top-notes stage doesn’t burn off quickly. In fact, it’s probably not accurate to reference the perfume pyramid in regard to WHITE, because its floral accord is evident almost as soon as the perfume hits the skin and is the heart and soul of the perfume. Somewhere around twenty minutes of wear, it’s engaged by the slow-developing scent of tonka bean and sandalwood: an irresistible, dry marshmallow version of a vanillic base. Tonka and sandalwood impart creaminess to WHITE, and in this composition they do so in a way that is tender and discreet; like fine pearls of tapioca, they add starch to the perfume in a way that is in keeping with WHITE’s organic nature. This fragrance development doesn’t alter the floral nature of the perfume, but it does change the scent of its bouquet, which now smells less like jasmine tea and more like the marriage of white tea and vanilla. At this stage the fragrance’s florals and botanicals are absorbed in this luscious, foamy base that increases the perfume’s sense of containment. The conversation between the notes in this perfume has gotten cozier – and fluffier – as if there is also shared laughter.
Overall, WHITE is a perfume of gentle enchantment: it never loses its elegant manners, it keeps up its charming dialogue for a long
time, and it wears both its heart and its name on its pristinely clean
sleeve. Here it should be noted that it achieves these things partly due
to a good dose of white musk, which depending on how one feels about
musk will ultimately determine how one feels about this perfume. White
musks aren’t all the same and neither are the compositions that employ
them. This is important to keep in mind because, in my own case, there
are many such perfumes I don’t care for, and then there are perfumes
like Le Labo Gaiac 10 and Guerlain Lys Soleia, which contain a lot
of white musk, that I find utterly captivating. It comes down to the
overall fragrance composition and how well musk fits into it (not to
mention whether I can smell it at all, because there are some musk
scents to which I’m anosmic). In Puredistance WHITE, the musk is an
important and well-integrated component, firstly because its fixative
property extends the longevity of the delicate florals and their
marshmallow base; secondly, because I suspect musk’s diffusive
properties might also account for the softness of the bouquet, its
ability to entertain the nuances that it does; and thirdly, because it
does smell mildly soapy at times – mostly in its far drydown where it
concludes with a laundry-fresh linens smell – extending the idea that
WHITE is, well, white. Clean, innocent of heart, good-mannered. If WHITE
could come to life, she would probably end her part of the long and
lingering conversation by checking her watch and letting you know that
she must be off to the drycleaners before they close.
Puredistance WHITE is a pure perfume extrait (with 38% perfume oil, a very rich amount) composed by perfumer Antoine Lie with notes of Rose de Mai from France, Tonka bean absolute from Venezuela, Orris absolute from Italy, Sandalwood from Mysore, Bergamot from Italy, Musk, Vetiver from Haiti and Patchouli from Indonesia. It can be purchased from the Puredistance website where a 17.5 ml. flacon is currently priced at $170. This perfume officially launched just this week, so it should also soon be available in the US at LuckyScent.com, which carries the rest of the Puredistance line.
My review is based on a sample I received from the company.
Photo of beautiful Asian woman can be found various places on Internet; photographer unknown by me.
Photo of Puredistance WHITE flacon and box is from the Puredistance website, linked above.
Posted by Suzanne Keller, 4/28/2015.
Marriage of Opposites in a Rosewood Perfume:
Swiss Arabian Nouf
I’m not sure I could adequately describe the perfume Nouf, by Swiss Arabian Perfumes, if I didn’t do so by taking some artistic license. In this case (as is often the case), by taking a literary approach rather than a literal one. If this perfume smelled like the desert after the rain, or the inside of a vintage leather handbag, it would be an easier perfume to describe, but Nouf is both as straight-forward and as quirky as the act of writing about perfumes is in itself. Come to think of it, it’s as linear and neat, and as fuzzy and hard-to-pin-down, as the two characters in the story I’m about to introduce you to as a means of analogizing it. And as such, before I say more about Nouf—other than to let you know that it’s a perfume that smells mostly of rosewood (and that “mostly” does not equate with “simply”)—let me tell you about this couple.
They are the young, just-married Indian couple of Jhumpa Lahiri’s story, “This Blessed House” (from her Interpreter of Maladies book of stories, published in 1999), who have just settled into their first home in Connecticut. His name is Sanjeev and hers is Twinkle, and by name alone you can predict which of them takes a Type A approach to life and which one doesn’t. When we meet them, they are sprucing-up their home and getting ready for a housewarming party, an event important to Sanjeev, who has invited some co-workers from his office. Not long after moving into their home, religious relics left behind by the previous owners began turning up in otherwise empty shelves and other odd places, and because these items are also rather kitschy and symbols of a religion they don’t belong to, Sanjeev wants to toss them. Twinkle, however, won’t let him. She views them as found treasures—they are not only amusing to her, but somewhat meaningful—and every time a new one turns up she insists on displaying it on their fireplace mantel, where by this time there is a menagerie of things, including a framed paint-by-number scene of the three wise men on black velvet, a 3-D postcard of Saint Francis, and a kitchen trivet with a picture of Jesus delivering his famous sermon on the mount. Sanjeev finds her display irritating, almost to the point of distressing, and wonders aloud what their guests will think of it. Luckily for him, a period of time passes when no more items turn up—until a week or so before the party, when they find a larger-than-life-sized poster of Jesus rolled up behind a radiator in the guest bedroom. Twinkle won’t let it be thrown out—she promises to keep it in her study where it won’t be seen—and that’s when tension begins to build:
He stood watching her as she left the room, with her poster and her cigarette; a few ashes had fallen to the floor where she’d been standing. He bent down, pinched them between his fingers, and deposited them in his cupped palm.
Sanjeev went to the bathroom to throw away the ashes. The cigarette butt still bobbed in the toilet bowl, but the tank was refilling, so he had to wait a moment before he could flush it again. In the mirror of the medicine cabinet he inspected his long eyelashes – like a girl’s, Twinkle liked to tease. Though he was of average build, his cheeks had a plumpness to them; this, along with the eyelashes, detracted, he feared, from what he hoped was a distinguished profile. He was of average height as well, and had wished ever since he had stopped growing that he were just one inch taller. For this reason it irritated him when Twinkle insisted on wearing high heels, as she had done the other night when they ate dinner in Manhattan. This was the first weekend after they’d moved into the house; by then the mantel had already filled up considerably, and they had bickered about it in the car on the way down. But then Twinkle had drunk four glasses of whiskey in a nameless bar in Alphabet City, and forgot all about it. She dragged him to a tiny bookshop on St. Mark’s Place, where she browsed for nearly an hour, and when they left she insisted that they dance a tango on the sidewalk in front of strangers.†
As is typical of the stories in Lahiri’s book, “This Blessed House” explores the meeting place where alienation and the enticing siren song of the new rub up against one another; the place where Indian expat characters “arrive at a cultural divide” (to borrow a quote from the book’s dust jacket). That’s the pull of these stories, for while I imagine them to be exceptionally poignant for anyone who has embarked on a new life in another country, almost all of us have passed over similar crossroads. In this story Sanjeev is the expat; he’s an engineer who has done well in the States and who could have married any of the potential brides prescreened for him by his mother in India. Instead he has married American-born Twinkle (her real name is Tanima), who is his equal in caste and education but whose spirit reflects her California upbringing. Twinkle’s boho nature is evident in everything she does, from the way she takes a bubble bath—with her blue beauty mask on while holding a cigarette, a glass of bourbon and a thick paperback book of sonnets—to her master’s thesis, “a study of an Irish poet whom Sanjeev had never heard of.” Theirs is a love marriage (albeit one partially arranged by their parents), but is love enough? The story leaves the reader wondering just how certain their future is with its age-old question, Can two whose natures are so different manage to live under the same roof?
Maybe or maybe not—that’s for the reader to ponder. I’d like to believe they can, and that’s probably why I like perfumes such as Nouf, for it seems to beg the same question. Nouf is as yin-yang as the coupling of Sanjeev and Twinkle (not to mention as yin-yang sounding as the perfume house it comes from—Swiss Arabian—which struck me as odd until I read its history at this link). It is a beautiful perfume that needs some sorting out, because there’s not much information on the Internet about it, and what is there is misleading. The company describes it as an aquatic perfume, and if that’s true, all I can say is (thankfully) it does not smell like one. Reading the list of fragrance notes for it, one might then assume it's an amber perfume, as amber is listed in it twice:
Top notes: lemon, grapefruit, bergamot
Middle notes: amber, pepper
Base notes: palisander rosewood, amber, cedar
To my nose, Nouf is not at all ambery, either. It smells predominantly yet complexly like its base note of rosewood—a wood traditionally used to make guitars and, in India, furniture; a wood so-named because it has a sweetly floral nuance to its aroma. From what I’ve read, rosewood is rich in aromatic oils, and what is interesting is that Nouf, too, smells oily: it has a scent that is reminiscent of the spice-infused cooking oils of Indian cuisine, though not enough to render this perfume a gourmand. The predominant smell of this perfume is woody, and the oily-spicy facet imparts a sense of liveliness and energy to the rosewood, such that it vibrates like a sitar. In terms of character, this aspect of Nouf is very much like Twinkle: it pulsates and swirls and makes me feel as if the scent is lifting me up, yet in a dreamy and self-contained way. In other words, the effect is not that of the champagne-like burst of aldehydes, but there is something effervescently feminine about it. I’m not a nose, but I’ll credit this effect to Nouf’s citric top notes, so well integrated they don’t come off as citrusy. Instead, they assume the sweetly uplifting scent of a Meyer lemon gliding over the olfactory surface of the woody fragrance like a furniture polish.
I love perfumes that have a sense of private intoxication about them, and to some degree, Nouf’s self-contained character can be attributed to the note that reminds me of Sanjeev—the rosewood note itself. Not the spicy-lemony-oily component described above, but the sturdier wood smell. Linear, constant and resistant to change, it is masculine leaning (in the way that wood notes typically register to my nose as masculine) without going too far in that direction, but it definitely has an air of the authoritative about it and balances out the feminine aspects of the perfume. If it weren’t attached to everything I listed in the paragraph above, I don’t think I’d care for the perfume, because it would be too stationery, and already when I wear Nouf I have to be in the mood for a perfume that is not going to develop much on the skin. There are days, though, when olfactory constancy is what I seek, and Nouf delivers that beautifully and uniquely, thanks to the way it is attached to its aforementioned element of Twinkle. Also, for as linear as I make this perfume sound, there is actually a surprise that happens in the first few minutes after application: I get a phantom note that smells like spearmint—not a stand-alone spearmint note, but a very pretty drift of it, cool and green and sweetly camphorous—couched in the smell of the rosewood. It lasts only a few minutes, but it never fails to delight me.
In fact, it’s this phantom note that reminds me of “This Blessed House”—firstly, because it’s like a little treasure that shows up, and, secondly, because it reminds me of both Twinkle (her delight in the offbeat and unexpected) and of Sanjeev (who by nature and upbringing is too traditional to appreciate such treasures, but who is wise and grounded enough to accommodate them).
… In truth, Sanjeev did not know what love was, only what he thought it was not. It was not, he had decided, returning to an empty carpeted condominium each night, and using only the top fork in his cutlery drawer, and turning away politely at those weekend dinner parties when the other men eventually put their arms around the waists of their wives and girlfriends, leaning over every now and again to kiss their shoulders or necks. It was not sending away for classical music CDs by mail, working his way methodically through the major composers that the catalogue recommended, and always sending his payments in on time.†
My sincere thanks to Sigrun of Riktig Parfym (whose ingenious blog I love!!). She purchased Nouf while vacationing in Dubai and kindly decanted some for me.
Swiss Arabian Nouf can be purchased at Amazon.com, where a 50-ml bottle is currently sale priced at $37.92. The company has stores in various countries in the Middle East, though not in the US. (By the way, even though I took an Indian theme for my review of this perfume, Nouf is actually an Arabian name that means “the highest point on a mountain,” if my understanding is correct.)
†Excerpted from Interpreter of Maladies, stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, copyright © 1999 by Jhumpa Lahiri, published by Houghton Mifflin Company (Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY, 1999, pp. 140 & 147)
Photo titled "Holding Hands" is by Jaci Clark for Kimberly Reed Photography.
Photo of Swiss Arabian Nouf perfume is from Swiss Arabian's merchant page on Amazon.com.
Posted by Suzanne Keller, 3/20/2015.