"The thick wine scent of honey, viscous at the back of the throat, lit from within by the flowers it came from and the golden sunlight of late summer" (p.13).Alyssa Harad's
book Coming to My Senses
is a wonderful journey of self-discovery through the world of scent, and perfume in particular. Alyssa has a poetic, genuine way with words and that is how she describes perfume - striking a chord yet without ever exhausting the readers like most of us bloggers tend to do. And to my delight - the book is dotted with evocative perfume descriptions that rarely disclose the names of the perfumes she's referring to. This serves two purposes - not being too commercial (i.e.: promoting any particular brands), and also keeping some mystery going, which makes the book ever more accessible. Non-perfumistas will be able to relate to the descriptions from real life and their own experiences rather than get drowned in technical and commercial details. While perfumistas reading this will be having a blast trying to guess which perfumes are being discussed.
So let's do just that: I will post 10 descriptions from Alyssa's book, and you can try to guess as many as you can - a task that is quite possible if you're a perfume buff. Naturally, some of them will be easier to guess if you've already read the book (in which case I've added a hint). Lastrly, you can search Alyssa Harad's blog
for additional hints (not to mention it's an excellent read!) as she's revealing some of them for the benefit of us who can't stand the suspense any longer.
The person who guessed the most correctly, will win one of 2 books that Alyssa Harad has kindly gave SmellyBlog!
1) "The high, singing scent of lemons fading to the spring green of honeysuckle growing along a creek, and a bit of the muddy banks, too".
2) "The scent of night-blooming jasmine, heady and heavy with fruit and a touch of ashtray - the lovers were smoking before they disappeared into the brush"
3) "The smell of the air just after a summer thunderstorm - an astonishing scent of trampled grass, broken branches, bruised flowers, and electricity".
4) "It was, precisely, the scent of lilacs in passing, a rain-freshened breeze carrying the scent from somewhere down the block, a scent of mercurial spring, made all the more lovey by the cold gray day
". (p. 125).
5) "And finally, a grapefruit softened with vanilla and patchouli that left clean and bright behind for something dirtier and more interesting"
. (p. 142)
6) "...a fantasy in black leather, asphalt, rubber, and smoky vanilla".
7) "The scent rose up all around me in a soft cloud. The sweetness expanded, lush and narcotic. I stood quietly in the middle of it, breathing. Then it roughened with a dusky bitterness that brought me back to myself just enough to open my eyes and begin walking".
(p. 164); "Maybe I would leave the flowers in my hair. And I would still have my perfume - that beautiful dream of white flowers, that touch of honey".
(p. 204). Hint: It's from Annick Goutal.
8) "This one takes you on a walk by the sea through a cypress forest, and then suddenly you stumble on a grove of lemon trees and just one fig tree, covered in rip figs. It's the perfect thing in hot, humid weather. Just one spritz and you can feel that salty breeze coming in off the ocean".
9) "This one smells exactly like a creamsicle when you first put it on, but if you wait two minutes it turns into a rich, sophisticated amber. It's like you put on a bright orange corduroy jumper and then it suddenly morphs into a little black velvet dress with pearls".
10) "I revisited a smoky incense-and-lilies that I have always wanted to like more than I really do
". (p. 222). Hint: it's from l'Artisan Parfumeur.
So - let's make some guesses! The winner will also receive extra samples/decants of perfumes relevant to the book (which I am not at liberty to disclose until the answers are revealed this Friday).