Suzanne's Perfume Journal

April 29, 2010:

Like Beauty in Its Highest Form, A Mirror: Puredistance I
Perfume Review and Drawing

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I HAVE 12 (1-ML) SAMPLES OF PUREDISTANCE I to give away in a RANDOM PRIZE DRAWING (sent to me courtesy of the Puredistance Company).

To enter, email me at by Friday, May 7, 2010. Anyone may enter (you don't have to live in the United States).  Your email will be kept private and only used for the purposes of the drawing.


Puredistance I can be purchased from a number of luxury boutiques, including the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie at Harrods in London; the company's own Puredistance Perfume Lounge in Vienna; and from the Puredistance website. Prices range from $190 for the 17.5 ml perfume spray (and yes, this is parfum concentration) in the bottle that you see in the above photo, or up to a whopping $1,990 for the Swarovski Crystal column pictured in the photo below.

“Perfect Mate” is the perfect story to relate when trying to describe the luminous beauty that is Puredistance I, a perfume conceived with great care from a small luxury company based in the Netherlands. Puredistance I is a quietly sparkling, ozonic-floral fragrance with notes of tangerine blossom, cassis, neroli bigarade, magnolia, rose wardia, jasmine, natural mimosa, sweet amber, vetiver and white musk. It was created by master perfumer Annie Buzantian and initially intended as her own personal perfume, until the day when, out of the blue, she received a briefing from Jan Ewoud Vos, the founder of Puredistance. The front page of the brief that arrived on Buzantian’s desk was a photo taken from a Donna Karan advertisement—and if the story is true, Buzantian was astonished to receive it, because inside her desk was the very same advertisement photo, which had been her inspiration, two years prior, in creating the fragrance that was her personal perfume and would soon become Puredistance I.

I won’t try to describe Puredistance I for you note by note. It is not a perfume that unfolds in stages, but which glistens and shimmers like sunlight on water. It reveals itself prismatically, such that you get a fruit-with-champagne whiff that reveals slightly different fruits—and a slightly different champagne smell—throughout its long wear. Sometimes it is the juicy tang of citrus with a brut champagne, presenting a crisp facet; other times a liqueur-like berry infuses warmth into its refreshingly cool and springlike heart; and at still other times, there is a mouthwatering greenness that takes the crispness out of the ozone, like champagne bubbles that deliquesce and become liquid. And all of these different facets reveal themselves in a delicate, flickering way—on a soft sandalwood and musk base that weds them to your skin … to you.

Which at last brings me to the most important thing I came to know about this perfume. Puredistance I is exquisitely beautiful, yes—and even more so because it is a flowering mirror, intent on reflecting its light on its wearer. It is a reminder to me—the person who is so easily swayed by the dark and cunning femme fatales in my fragrance stable—that beauty without an agenda does exist, and beauty at its highest level is empathic, and full of light, and aware of more than just itself.

(I love looking at the Swarovski Crystal column and dreaming about the day when my great-grandniece comes upon it in an estate auction—and manages to buy it! :-)—the way people nowadays score great treasures on Ebay that they could never have afforded if they were living back in the day when it was created.  Of course, most of all, I love that Puredistance offers the perfume without the Swarovski Crystal column at a price that the perfume enthusiast can afford.)

Images of Famke Janssen in her role as Kamala on Star Trek: The Next Generation can be founded numerous places on the Internet (I can't remember where I stole the ones I used for this post); images of Puredistance I perfume bottles is from the Puredistance website.

To paraphrase Georgia O’Keefe: to know a perfume takes time. And to convey one’s feelings about a perfume with the same level of intent in which Georgia O’Keefe once painted flowers takes even more time. Which is why I am asking you to indulge me, as I work my way towards telling you about Puredistance I, by first letting me recall one of my favorite Star Trek episodes. The episode where Dutch actress Famke Janssen rendezvoused with the crew of the Enterprise to play the part of a gorgeous, alien being named Kamala.

Kamala is an empathic metamorph—a creature that has the natural ability to perceive the thoughts of others and then to adapt her own persona accordingly. Groomed and trained all her life to hone these skills, Kamala is now considered ‘the perfect mate’: able to establish instant and complete rapport with another being; able to match that being’s emotional needs and sexual desires. As such, she can’t help but wreak havoc aboard the Enterprise after being released from the ship’s cargo hold, where she’d been secretly stowed by a visiting ambassador. Kamala is a prized “gift” that will be exchanged in a reconciliation ceremony about to take place on the starship, between the leaders of two warring planets—and the ambassador has some well-founded fears about letting Kamala out of confinement. You see, Kamala is nearing the peak of her sexual maturity—the point at which she bonds herself to one being who will become her permanent mate—and her body is throwing pheromones the way a live wire throws sparks.

As she sashays about the starship in a dove-grey silk dress with a diaphanous bodice, fights break out in the “10-Forward” lounge, where all the men become riveted to her—and she to them. But it is Captain Jean-Luc Picard who suffers the greatest consternation: first, because he wants to respect Kamala’s rights as a sentient being, yet letting her stroll freely about the ship is proving too big a problem. Second, because he hates the idea of her living a life in which her sole purpose is to please another—though she explains that asking her to be any other way would be like asking her to erase her true nature (“You might as well ask a Vulcan to forgo logic, or a Klingon to be non-violent”). And third—well, it’s the obvious problem, right? Kamala has taken a keen interest in the Captain, and though his personal integrity is such that he tries to thwart her attentions, he is falling in love with her, too.

It’s a great story, this episode; it is a story about higher love. Moments before she is about to be married, Kamala reveals to Captain Picard that she has bonded permanently to him—that it’s a bond that irrevocably changes who she is from this day forward. On learning this, he tells her she cannot go through with the ceremony—and there is both pain and understanding in his eyes when she responds, “Would you ask me to stay? And ask two armies to keep fighting? Having bonded with you, I've learned the meaning of duty .” Of her husband-to-be, who is more interested in trade agreements than in her, she says, “He'll never know. I'm still empathic; I will be able to please him.”