Suzanne's Perfume Journal

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit is available from LuckyScent.com, where a 50-ml bottle is currently priced at $125.


Photo of the Corner Room Restaurant (the upstairs is now called the Allen Street Grill, but is owned by the same company) in State College, PA, was stolen from Seldomseen821.blogspot.com.


Photo of the bottle of Jasmin de Nuit is from Luckyscent.com.


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Taking Old-Fashioned Delight in The Different Company's

Jasmin de Nuit

June 7, 2013:

I’m hoping this will be the last of my nostalgic posts for awhile—I’d much prefer to write about perfume in a way that connects it with music, film, and books—but perfume seems to be a tripwire for memories and, quite frankly, I would do even less perfume writing than I do now if I did not allow myself this easier route of taking a trip down memory lane. In this case, to my childhood and one of life’s simpler pleasures—the luncheon outing with my mother on days when she did her downtown shopping.

My mother had two shopping modes: the focused, all-business mode she was in when she did her grocery shopping and the relaxed, let’s-make-this-a-day-of-pleasure mode she was in on her downtown excursions to shop for clothes. The downtown excursions were essentially holidays where my sisters and I could count on having lunch at one of two places. If my mom was feeling flush and my sisters and I were “behaving like young ladies” (which is how she always phrased it), we’d go to the Corner Room, one of the oldest establishments in town, which had a fancy bar/restaurant upstairs and a far more casual one downstairs that catered to the town’s university students and working-class joes. While the upstairs venue was sunlit and sparkling, the downstairs restaurant where we had lunch was one of the few dark places in the world I ever enjoyed stepping into, as it was like slipping into an old-fashioned gentleman’s den. High-backed, wood-paneled leather booths absorbed much of the light coming in from the windows, and the seats were thick and well-upholstered in leather—or maybe it was the fake leather they are upholstered in now (the Corner Room still looks and operates much the same today as it did when I was a kid)—and they were a joy to sink into. In addition to their den-like effect, the booths along the walls offered a window view to the busiest sidewalks in town, which also lent the effect of being on a train.

If we ate at the Corner Room, my mother would have her favorite Reuben sandwich while my sisters and I had grilled cheese or tuna-melts made with really good bread and served on handsome plates, with cloth napkins and the like. But if my mother wasn’t feeling as flush—or if she simply had some items to pick-up at Woolworths—then we took our lunch at the five-and-dime, which I also enjoyed because it meant that I could get a new book of paper dolls and eye up the cheap toys on display. At Woolworths, we had the same kinds of sandwiches, minus my mom’s Reuben, only these were made with grocery-store bread and the booths (if we sat in them, instead of at the counter) had flimsy walls and Formica tables. Of course, as a kid, I didn’t care if the table I was sitting at was cheap, because no matter where we went my mother made it fun, and always the main event at these lunches was the ordering of flavored-sodas, which were just as good at Woolworths as they were at the Corner Room. At home, we almost never had soda unless my parents were throwing a party, so it was quite the treat for my mom to order us her favorites. She was partial to Cherry Coke, but she often ordered a different flavor for each of us—Lemon Coke, Chocolate Coke, and my favorite, Vanilla Coke—and then we’d take sips from each other’s glasses, enjoying this rainbow of flavors.

There is a perfume that calls up this memory for me: the memory of how delicious a handmade, soda-fountain soda used to be, especially when it was a treat shared on an all-girl outing and not something on life’s daily menu. I don’t wear this perfume often—I received a sample of it from gorgeous Natalie of Another Perfume Blog—but I find that it is just the ticket on days when I am feeling tired and could use a lift, and I want something that eschews mystery in favor of delight. Its name is Jasmin de Nuit (from The Different Company), and though its name references nighttime and the fragrance is described on the company’s website as being “a sensuous amber-jasmine,” to my nose it doesn’t have the sultriness to allow me to think of it in night-time sexy terms. Or maybe I should modify my statement further to say that the perfume, which is an eau-de-toilette concentration, doesn’t have the weight (the saturation of perfume oils) to allow me to think of it as a nighttime-sultry scent unless I thoroughly douse myself with it. Which one could easily do if one owned a bottle. Dabbing it from the sample vial, Jasmin de Nuit comes across to my nose as a gourmand take on jasmine: a fragrance that has a distinct cola spiciness married to an innocently sweet bit of jasmine and a frothy, egg-cream vanillic base.

Composed by perfumer Céline Ellena, Jasmin de Nuit has notes of star anise, bergamot, mandarin, jasmine absolute, cinnamon, cardamom, sandalwood, amber and patchouli (per The Different Company website). There is a goodly dose of spice in Jasmin de Nuit, but because it essentially rides atop a jasmine creamsicle, the spice smells similar to the spice in Coca-Cola: warm, fizzy and delicious—unattached to anything dark, flinty or animalic enough to give it gravity or an air of seriousness. This is an amalgamated spice smell like what you get from cola, too: it doesn’t lean heavily on any one of the three spices, but gets a nice lift from cardamom, which is perhaps the most detectable of the three. When it first hits the skin, the spice connects to the sweetness of mandarin and smells like Juicy Fruit gum for a couple minutes before it segues into its warmer, cola-like treatment. The jasmine in Jasmin de Nuit doesn’t fully emerge until about ten minutes into wear-time, and because it is such a honeysuckle-like jasmine—the kind of jasmine that is lilting and clean rather than tawdry and indolic—it never becomes a dominant part of the fragrance. In other words, this innocent jasmine has a hard time being heard above the din of spice and the insistent creaminess of its base, but on the other hand, I think it’s what steers the fragrance in the direction of effervescence and stirs such happy memories for me. Jasmin de Nuit’s base only increases my happiness because its sandalwood-and-amber combo smells dreamily vanillic. When the spicy notes are at their most prevalent, this base accord couches them in a way that makes the fragrance smell like a soda-fountain Vanilla Coke. And when the jasmine engages this base after the spice notes have quieted down, Jasmin de Nuit smells like a vanilla Cream Soda enriched with jasmine syrup.

At almost every stage of wear, Jasmin de Nuit smells creamily spicy and sweet without going overboard. It’s a perfume that has a detectable sillage but is more body-hugging than wafty, and though I certainly have no idea whether this perfume was composed with mostly natural aroma-essences or synthetic ones, it smells like it has a lot of naturals to me. It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite all-natural perfumes, Olivia Giacobetti’s Vamp a NY, except that whereas Vamp smells more, well, vampish, Jasmin de Nuit smells more charmingly sweet and uncomplicated. It has an old-school sensibility that perhaps is the reason that I find it to be a perfume that takes me back in time to one of life’s easy pleasures.