Jasmine Creamsicle

You know, I think the large trees are easier.

The show must go on, and to distract myself from the wild forest fires, I'm testing out jasmine perfumes in my nearly forgotten stash of samples. Some perfumes have very obviously jasmine-y name, so I'm beginning my little jasmine expedition with those. As it turns out, it is rather difficult to find a true jasmine perfume out there. The main reason? Jasmine is expensive, and most companies use very little if at all of genuine jasmine absolute. And with my particularly spoiled nose, that is accustomed to either smelling the fresh living flowers, top-notch jasmine teas or fine absolutes from India and Egypt - I'm hard to impress.

Additionally, even the jasmine reconstitutions or floral bases out there tend to be low on the indole, because it is supposedly too old fashioned and/or offensive to most; and also gives a bronish-orangey tint to whichever product it is suspended in... In my pile of fake jasmines, Jasmin de Nuit stood out as a bit unusual because I could smell real jasmine in it, and also true vanilla absolute, in all its complex, woody charm.

Jasmin de Nuit was Celine Elena's first scent for the Ellena family's endeavour, The Different Company, and refreshingly it bares very little resemblence to her father's austere style. It opens with full-bodied fruity jasmine (Egyptian jasmine has lower indole content than Indian, and also is a bit more fruity and peach/apricot like). Before long, a prominent vanilla absolute base is revealed. And an hour or so later, sweet orange notes - not so much the zest, but rather the actual orange juice emerges, making it smell rather like an Orange Creamsicle. Lovely, fun but not quite jasmine-y enough to my taste. I'm also smelling a reference to Tocade, with its exaggerated ambreine accord of amber and bergamot, accentuated with musk. The spices take a very modest role of simply accenting the composition and adding interest 0 which is why it does not smell entirely of Creamsicle, but rather smells fun and intriguing.

Top Notes: Blackcurrant, Star Anise, Cardamom, Bergamot
Heart Notes: Egyptian Jasmine, Cinnamon, Orange Juice
Base Notes: Vanilla, Amber, Sandalwood, Musk 

Must Read: Interview with Celiné Ellena

Celiné Ellena tells Smothsonian Magazine about her views of perfumery as an art form and a profession. To the question what she most love about her work, Celiné Ellena says:

"That it's an abstraction. You can't catch it, a fragrance. I'm very independent; I feel free. And creating fragrances, you feel free. You are creating something that exists for one moment, and then it disappears. I love that. And each time I create a fragrance, there is a story".

I couldn't agree with her more.

Thanks to Robin for the link!

Sel de Vetiver

The concept of using minerals as a theme in perfume is relatively new. Although there are distinct mineral notes in perfumes such as Aqua Allegoria Pampeloune (Sulfur) and l’Eau d’Issey (Chlorine), the mineral presence in these fragrances was kept hush-hush only to be noticed by the keen noses; Yet the Elena family seems to be taking this concept into a whole different direction, spearheading the elemental or mineral movement in perfumery, with Sel de Vetiver by Celine Elena (Salt) and Terre d’Hermes by Jean-Claude Elena (Flint) and in general by their minimalist approach that is more mineral than organic.

Sel de Vetiver (Vetiver Salt) from The Different Company meant to evoke the barely-there scent of ocean salt on a sun warmed skin. Although I can understand the salty reference and association with vetiver, warm it is not. Rather, it’s a cool, dusty vetiver with a clean earthy presence. It may recall the gritty, ground-sea-shells sand, salt sticking to driftwood and the rough dryness of skin that was soaked and masked with mud, salt and sulfur for too long. But it does not quite smell like salt or skin.

Sel de Vetiver opens with an astringent, clean accord of grapefruit, ginger and a hint of cardamom that reminds me roasted dark coffee more than the spice itself. I can smell hints of ylang ylang, but they are not obvious at all, being rather heady and fleeting. Other notes that are mentioned are orris and geranium, but I can’t say I was aware of their presence at any given point. Vetiver and refined patchouli (smells more like a patchouli isolate rather than the full-bodied oil) step in pretty fast and dominate Sel de Vetiver for most of its life on the skin – the sweet, clean scent of these two earthy essences combined.

Top notes: Grapefruit, Ginger, Cardamom
Heart notes: Ylang Ylang, Geranium Bourbon, Orris
Base notes: Vetiver, Patchouli

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