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A feast of love is beginning. Everything that has gone before is only a sort of introduction. Now they are lovers. The first, wild courses are ended. They have founded their domain. A satanic happiness follows.
They are off to Besançon on the weekend, filled with feathers, floating in pure joy. The spring road flies beneath them. She likes to talk about it. Tell me what you want, she says. I want to please you.
“I like it when you do,” he says.
“No,” she insists, “tell me.”They walk in the park, submerged in a coolness like old walls. The benches are empty. They are alone. At this hour of evening the sun is gone. The sky, as if summoning itself for the last time, is a piercing, a pale blue, so clear it frightens. It seems that every sound has fled. They walk without speaking, hip against hip. He feels an utter, a complete happiness. The dark fragrance of the trees washes down on them. Their shoes are dusty. The last light fails†
L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville à l’Aube: Keen Awakening
L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville à l’Aube is composed around fragrance notes of lavender, pink pepper, lemon tree leaves, orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia, beeswax, incense, Benzoin Siam, and Luiseiri lavender. It can be purchased at LuckyScent.com, $165 for 100-ml.
My friends must have known I would love this, as I received a sample and a decant of Seville à l’Aube from Ann (of Perfume Posse) and Ines (of All I Am – A Redhead). Thank you, girls!
†Excerpted from A Sport and a Pastime, copyright © 1967, renewed 1995 by James Salter (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, NY, 2006 paperback edition, page 113)
Image (top of page) of orange blossom petals on ground is from Photobucket.com, photographer unknown.
Bottle image of is from LuckyScent.com
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October 2, 2012:
The above excerpt is from James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime: It follows a particularly sexy scene where the novel’s two lovers, Phillip Dean (an American, in his early twenties) and Anne-Marie Costallat (an eighteen-year-old girl from a small town in France) cross over a threshold of sorts, and though they have already, by this point, made love many times, this act takes them to a new level in terms of who they are to one another—they almost seem like a couple on a trapeze wire: there is a sense of innate trust and utter abandon to the way they love. It’s this sensibility, along with Salter’s elegant prose, which draws me to his novel again and again, and during the time I’ve spent wearing and thinking about the perfume which is the subject of my review—Seville à l’Aube—it’s the passage above that keeps running through my mind, in the way it reflects the quietly dizzy and lit-from-within sweetness and sensuality of this fragrance.
That said, anyone who follows the perfume blogs knows the real story behind Seville à l’Aube, for it is every bit as passionate and beautiful as Salter’s tale, and it belongs to an esteemed writer in the perfume blogging community—Denyse Beaulieu, author of the Paris-based blog, Grain de Musc, and of the recently published book, The Perfume Lover—a book that is many things—that looks at perfume from both a personal and historical perspective, while taking the reader along as this particular perfume, Seville à l’Aube, comes into being. And the story on which both Seville à l’Aube and The Perfume Lover pivot is one that Beaulieu first told to perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, about a night she once spent in the arms of a Spanish boy, under a blossoming orange tree, during Holy Week festivities in Seville. Its details are deliciously sensual: lips bruised with kisses; tendrils of smoke from beeswax candles and incense curling their way around the lovers, while the smell of lavender cologne from the people watching the processions presses up against them too; the intoxicating scent of the orange blossom tree, the manzanilla wine they drink, and the blond tobacco that lingers on his breath and the kisses he places on her neck. These details (and, no doubt, Beaulieu’s charismatic way of relating a story) are what prompted perfumer Duchaufour to decide to work with her in creating what essentially started out as a perfume narrative and which eventually became what Beaulieu calls “an incredibly complex abstract perfume” that is Seville à l’Aube (Seville at Dawn).
I love the name—with its reference to dawn—because of how true it is to the fragrance. This exquisite orange-blossom perfume does not seat itself in the carnal clutches of what passed between two lovers the night before, but seems more like a dream-catcher that has trapped filaments of those moments in its web. Seville à l’Aube starts off with a leafy-green-and-citrus effervescence that recalls the bursting-into-blossom tree that is central to Beaulieu’s story and, to my way of thinking, reflects the way one thinks about love when it is in that state of exciting newness (and the rarefied atmosphere that new lovers seem to move in, as buoyant and as self-contained as a bubble, if only for a while). This fizzy green opening is soon met by the more floral and sexy attributes one thinks of in regard to orange blossom, as the orange blossom accord of Seville à l’Aube is lightly indolic, with enough of a nod to lustiness to stir carnal thoughts without fully awakening them. If I had to describe the perfume as it wears from this point forward in just one sentence, I would say that Seville à l’Aube is a teasing orange blossom perfume that vibrates between smelling sensual and goldenly sweet. This golden sweetness is hard to describe, because it is made up of the lilting floral smell that one thinks of in regard to the flower, and also a honeyed weightiness that emanates from the perfume’s accent on beeswax. The beeswax exerts a pull on the perfume that is more discernible to my nose than the fragrance’s base accord, which is so subtle I can’t parse out the individual notes. In other words, I can’t detect the incense note that is a key part of Seville à l’Aube’s composition, but there is a dry and arid edge to the fragrance that couples well to my notions of how such a perfume would smell if it truly issued forth from a dusty, sun-baked, Mediterranean town.
Both the sillage and longevity of Seville à l’Aube is impressive—this is one of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s richest perfumes, in my opinion, yet there is enough movement and airiness to it that it is in keeping with L’Artisan’s overall aesthetic, which I think of as being modern and uncluttered. And in this way, too, it is a perfume befitting the profound experience that inspired it: the intense, almost-surreal love affair that is so rare, it happens maybe only once in a lifetime ... and that leaves one in a keenly awake state where one travels lightly, so to speak … “filled with feathers, floating in pure joy.”