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Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Off Topic: Editions de Parfums by Frederic Malle




It started out innocently enough. I was researching perfume for a future story. I was not a connoisseur myself, in fact, I even went a few years without wearing any perfume at all. My past perfumes were far from boutique: Ralph, by Ralph Lauren, Happy by Clinique and Aqua di Gio by Armani. All very nice and very safe. All non-orientals because years ago when I was young and foolish I became very ill on too many rum and cokes while wearing Opium. Anyway, two years ago, I tried a sample of Flowerbomb, which was different from any perfume I'd worn and it got me to thinking about perfume, about the people who create them and the people who wear them and also about the people who critique them. So I started checking out the perfume blogs and began my education which, eventually led me to Frederic Malle's boutique collection of scents, all created by a small group of master perfumers.

All the Malle perfumes I've tried so far are indeed masterpieces, though not all are wearable for me. They have completely transformed my expectation of a perfume. There are scents to smell nice, scents to attempt to cover body odor (FYI: it doesn't work people and I do wish you'd stop trying) and then there is the Frederic Malle line. These perfumes are nothing short of wearable art.

The Parisian company is nice enough to send you three free spray samples for 20 euros of shipping cost (or you can go to Barneys and try them there). I've tried Carnal Flower, Lys Mediterranee, Un Fleur de Cassie, En Passant, Iris Poudre, Une Rose, Lipstick Rose and Parfum de Therese. Of these, the only one I had a strong unpleasant reaction to (and I'm hyper-sensitive to smells) was Parfum de Therese as it smelled like rotten meat on me and turned my stomach. Une Rose is too big of a flower for me--it's a big lush Georgia O'Keefe rose and too heady for this time of year, but still, it's beautiful. My favorites are Carnal Flower, En Passant, Lys Mediterranee, and Iris Poudre. Carnal Flower is a lush, green, complex tuberose scent. En Passant is just as described: a bush of white lilac in the rain. The scent smells exactly like the lilacs that grow in my southern yard and less like the ones from New England, but incredibly lovely nonetheless. Lys Mediterranee smells soft and salty sweet, and is intriguingly complex, and Iris Poudre is my winter scent. Less like powder to me and much more like something yummy to eat, this is an amazing iris and vanilla perfume.

In my research, I've learned about notes and noses and sillage, learned the difference between marine and metallic notes, learned about flankers and niche houses. But most surprising to me is that I fell in love with perfume for the first time, truly fell in love.

My favorite and most edifying perfume blog: Now Smell This

3 comments:

Susan Woodring said...

Not really off topic at all if you think about it. Love to immerse myself in research, and I really love to find a new dimension of art: perfume. Art you wear. Sort of a pure art, like music or abstract art, no clunky words to get in the way.

Will definitely check this out!!

katrina said...

Good point, Susan!

Amateur Yankee said...

Fascinating post - and I love the line about your experience wearing Opium.