Poet's Jasmine

Jasminum officinale, poet's jasmine. Botanical Magazine vol.1, J.Sowerby (1787)

Poet's Jasmine, one of the five fragrances that make up Ineke's Floral Curiosities collection is one of the synonyms for Jasminum officinale - the mainstay household jasmine that has been naturalized throughout Europe through historical routes little known.

Poet's Jasmine opens with a very tame, fruity and light jasmine accord, and hints of tea accents. The fruity body takes over within a few minutes, revealing a summery composition that reminds me first of the candied-flower fragrance of methyl-antrhanilate that is prevalent in Serge Lutens' Fleur d'Oranger; and quickly developed into the amber, ylang ylang and jasmine accord of Annick Goutal's Songes. This phase remains on the skin for an hour or so; and then turns into a skin musk type of scent, the like of the musc and patchouli base that's Crazylubellule and the Poppies' ShanghaiJava Musc & Patchouli. If you dislike the indolic aspect of jasmine, this would be a nice jasminesque scent for you. I also noticed a huge difference between wearing it in cool weather vs the warm weather we're blasted with right now. In the cooler weather it smells more watered-down and distant. I'm happy to report it is much better in the heat, taking on more floriental and dreamy personality.

According to Ineke's website, the notes are:

Top notes: Citrus Fruit, Rosemary, Absinthe, Star Anise
Heart notes: Jasmine, Frankincense, Cardamom 
Base notes: Hinoki wood, Guiacwood 

And it also provides some whimsical images, as always, including this jasmine tea recipe:

"Poet's Jasmine Tea
1 handful freshly picked jasmine flowers and leaves
2 cups boiling water
slices of orange
honey to taste
Place the poet's jasmine flowers and foliage in a teapot, add the boiling water and allow to infuse for about four minutes. 
Remove the jasmine with a strainer, add a slice of orange instead of lemon, and a little honey for added sweetness if you like. 
Serve with a sprig of jasmine flowers and a few bon mots." 

Sweet William

Ineke's Floral Curiosities anthology of soliflores for Anthropoligie continues, and the newest flower in this poetic garden is Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus).

I had the pleasure to smell & wear Sweet William over dinner & Kir with Ineke and her husband Bill - and immediately fell for this delicate, spicy, warm yet fresh composition.

Sweet William opens with fresh balsamic peppery notes that reminded me of another favourite - Si Lolita. It is, however, more dusky and violetty than the latter. Carnation accord being the centre of attention, with complementary strokes of ionones, redolent of candied violets and accompanied by velvety cedar (a wink to Evening Edged in Gold, which also had a rich cedar, fruit and spice accord), which give it a purplish hue and a slightly serious, almost regal personality.

The base notes are those of rich woodsy patchouli and powdery musk, which dries down to a clean, dry patchouli and white musk notes. It is not in the least overpowering, but has an incredible staying power and stays on even after a swim and a shower, with slightly berry like musky notes.

Ineke's soliflore treatment is modern, abstract and rather than just dissecting and replicating Sweet William, she's created a stylized impression of this carnation's particularly sweet-spicy-velvety personality (other carnations have a slightly rosy-green aspect that you won't find in here), and create a memorable scent from an otherwise low-key, modest flower.

The notes, according to Ineke's press release, are peach, cloves, cinnamon, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli and bourbon vanilla.

Hothouse Flower

Flower Parade by yoshiko314
Flower Parade, a photo by yoshiko314 on Flickr.

Ineke's newest addition to her perfume abecadry is Hothouse Flower, which will launch in fall 2012. Inspired by gardenia's finicky and demanding growing conditions, and even more so by its luscious perfume, Ineke brought a plant into her lab in order to study its unique personality and facets.

Gardenia is more known for being a heady, tropical floral (often paired with tuberose, to create a very loud effect (i.e.: Fracas, Carnal Flower, Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, etc.), or more of a sultry interpretation, where its salicilates are paired with darker, lingering notes (Velvet Gardenia, Cruel Gardenia, Vintage Gardenia with Cardamom & Myrrh). Hothouse Flower takes a path that is neither loud nor sultry. Ineke did here what she knows best: craft a beautiful, pretty gardenia that is easily wearable and adorable - but perhaps too pretty for a dark-person like myself.

The top notes are light and etheral, with hints of green crushed leaves and tea. It quickly unfolds into the more fruity aspects, reminiscent of butter and hints of pink bubblegum, as if the gardenia princess wakes up from a salicylic nap, and gives you a naughty wink to remind us of her lineage (Fracas et al) - than rolls to the other side, waiting for her customary breakfast-in-bed to appear.

The wake up calls arrives soon enough, with cool, dewy leaves and the green. Brisk yet resinous notes of galbanum, cypress and frankincense emerge, and take the edge of whatever you might have thought was too flowery.

Hothouse Flower is rather light for the big floral that it represents. It is very long lasting, however, with lingering light floral notes and clean musk and hints of greenery, not unlike the dryout of Balmy Days and Sundays.

Notes (according to Ineke's press release) include rather unusual pairings for gardenia: earl grey tea, green foliage, cypress, absinthe, gardenia, galbanum, fig, frankincense, guaiacwood, musk and corn silk.

* If you purchased a full bottle from Ineke's website in the past, you will receive a sample of Hothouse Flower in the mail in mid/late August. All the more reason for you to get your favourite scent now! And if you're unfamiliar with the line, order their deluxe sample collection, which will also entitle you to a Hothouse Flower sample once they come out in August!

Visit to Ineke's Garden - July 6th

Tobacco flower
Thursday night, after an afternoon in Golden Gate park with Lisa's family (mostly at the famous Japanese Tea Gardens), I went to meet Ineke & Bill for dinner at Zazie's, where we indulged on grilled Mission figs. As we sat down, I could detect a heady floral note, that reminded me a bit of Ineke's Angel's Trumpet accord. Before short, and way before we could decide what to order, I found myself sniffing a world-premiere of not just one but two perfumes that Ineke will be launching this year. The first one is Hothouse Flower, a green and creamy gardenia which you may have heard of, and was available at the Salon. The second was still a secret, otherwise I would have began my praise before any delay. All I will say for now is that it's absolutely lovely!

Fig Salad

It's always been my dream to visit Ineke's garden, which is a source of inspiration to all of her perfumes - and although it was dusk (hence the very poor quality of the photographs, my apologies!) it was very enjoyable and inspiring. The garden is so pretty and well designed (by Ineke) and tended by Bill (who's got the green thumbs). I also got to meet their two adorable dogs, who seem to enjoy the garden as well.

So imagine my delight when smelling the tobacco flower (Nicotiana fragrans - see image above), and discovering all the other lovely flowering plants they collect: Poet's Jasmine
Sweet William (a type of carnation, and the next installation in the Floral Curiosities for Anthropologie), Angel's Trumpet, Osmanthus and Midnight Candy (used in Evenings Edged in Gold), Tobacco Flower (used in Field Notes From Paris), Goldband Lily (Gilded Lily) Honeysuckle, Star Jasmine, Lilac and Heliotrope (appear in After My Own Heart), Magnolia - and, last but not least: inside of Ineke's studio, there was a whole Gardenia bush, which she brought in especially for designing her newest perfume: Hothouse Flower (review of this will follow shortly).

I also was privy to the very new purse-sized atomizers that will be launched by the holidays for "Floral Curiosities" line for Anthropologie. These are beautiful travel-sized interpretation of Ineke's signature bottle, and are encased in a book-shaped box: how very appropriate for Ineke's story-telling style.

Tagets at Ineke's garden
Tagetes (Marigold) was strangely the plant that left the strongest impression on me. It was a full-grown bush, and very fragrant. Leaves and flower smelled alike: fruity, like fresh green apples, dabbed with citrus and almost chocolate-like undertones. Quite luscious, actually. It would make a very unusual theme for a perfume, for whomever dares to take it on.

Mock orange flower
Mock Orange Flower

Angel's Trumpet at Ineke's garden
Datura (Angel's Trumpet), whose accord Ineke replicated and used in her perfume Evenings Edged in Gold, and also the main theme of Angel's Trumpet in the Floral Curiosities collection.

The most precious moment though was smelling the osmanthus, although only very few flowers were in bloom at the time I visited. But it smelled exactly like the incense my friend Noriko brought me back from Japan, which she says is the most dead-on imitation of the real flowers. She was right.

Ineke & Bill
Ineke & Bill at their booth at the 1st Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco, July 8th.

Gilded Lily

Gilded Lily walks the strange path the flickers between spring and fall, modern and old-fashioned. It has the elements of a modern, screechy floral on the one end, amplified with tart ambiguous fruity notes (rhubarb and pineapple) and an earthy, warm and slightly balsamic Chypre. It reminds me of the bright floral chypres Jour Ensoleillé (Sonoma Scent Studio) and Tiare (Ormonde Jayne). But of course, coming from a different perfumer, it has a personality all of its own.

What makes Gilded Lily refreshing is its non-cloying playfulness. The particular choice of notes - sharp, crisp and bright fruity top notes sets it apart from the modern fruity chypre genre. So it makes a refreshing contrast in comparison to the sickeningly sweet berry and cough syrup notes found in the ever so popular "fruitchouli" genre that was designed to replace real chypres. And unlike so many other so-called chypre, it actually has oakmoss and labdanum in detectable proportions. These notes make an appearance about half an hour into the show. There is the bitter-green saltiness of oakmoss and genuine vetiver, and last but not least and quite surprising in comparison to the brisk opening: patchouli and labdanum with a balsamic, earthy sweetness, and a Miss-Dior-like familiarity that is rare in new perfumes.

If it wasn't for the suggestive bright red glass bottle, I would have never thought of rhubarb in association with this. Peppery elemi and acidic grapefruit remind me of the playful Si Lolita that captured my heart last winter. But this never gets quite nearly as gourmand and powdery. They cuts through the sweetness of the lily and add an interesting sharp edge.

The Japanese goldband lily accord at the heart of the perfume is quite subtle, especially considering that it is the inspiration for this perfume. It's fascinating to see this collection become more versatile, with warmer, richer and more natural bases in the last two perfume (see Field Notes from Paris) in contrast to the very light, musk-base of the first four. Between the elemi, the tart illusion of freshly-sliced rhubarb note and the tried-and-true chypre base, Gilded Lily might turn out to be quite addictive... In the far dry out, the labdanum dissipates completely, leaving only the driest and woodiest nuances (oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver and a hint of clean dry musk) to prevail.

Top notes: Pineapple, Rhubarb, Elemi, Grapefruit
Heart notes: Japanese Goldband Lily
Base notes: Oakmoss, Vetiver, Labdanum, Patchouli

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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