Rose Curry

Emo, originally uploaded by Prithaz.

Rose grabs you by the prick of a thorn. “I'm here! Notice me!”. It’s rosier than possible in real life, bigger and greener and sharp with overtly fruit-like a peach punch - to the point that it stops being a rose, and becomes an Indian curry. Or perhaps, an English take on what an Indian curry is all about. Meaning, a pinwheel curried chicken sandwich nibbled in a dark tea lounge while dreaming of an English rose garden in summertime.

The overripe fruit is intensified with rubbery, boozy opoponax only to be claimed by an earthy undercurrent. Vetiver, patchouli and turmeric are to blame for that effect; and while the imaginary roses shed their petals one by one, earth and curry take over like the sleepiness that follows a heavy meal.

Top notes: Neroli, Bitter Orange, Petitgrain, Rose Absolute from Grasse (Rose de Mai)
Middle notes: Rose abslute from Morocco, India, Turkey, Heather Absolute
Base notes: Vetivert, Vanilla, Plant musk

P.s. I'm experiencing some serious issues displaying the Flickr author information and links. Even though they were entered twice and I can see them in the blog editor, they dont' show on the blog. If you click on the photo you'll see who took it though. Any tips/advice/explanation for why this is happening and how to fix it?

IMGP3555, originally uploaded by elvis_hitler2000.

Lady in the Dark

Spotlight on Wild Sage - Image by Jane Siet © All Rights Reserved (published here with photographer's permission) jane.siet on Flickr

Oeillet takes me to times when taking a bath by the candle light was not a luxury but a necessity. Once a week, the “Geyser” was turned on to full-blast to heat up enough water for the entire family of 7 (this is not the natural phenomenon, but the name of an archaic gasoline-operated boiler that had such a tall chimney it looked like a rocket ship). One after the other, we went into the tub tired and dirty (the week was long but Friday seemed even longer with all the hard to get ready for the Sabbath); and we came out purified and rejuvenated.

Before my bath, I would pick a dozen branches of mountain sage and steep it to make the darkest tea possible to rinse my hair. The tea was so dark it nearly stained the bathtub. And it was so strong it made my hair smell of sage for the next couple of days (when it was rinsed again, but this time with whichever water temperature the tap had to offer).

Oeillet is dusky, dark, earthy and seductive. It reminds me of rinsing my hair with sage tea on those Friday nights but also more in general the winter life in our electricity deprived village - oil lamps and candles lighting the room and me and my little brother cutting citrus peels into strange shapes and than burning them in the fireplace.

Oeillet opens juicy and citrusy and with a definite hit of sage, cistus and galbanum absolute that gush out and breathes like drips of blood and wine on earth. Spicy heart of carnation is set against an earthy and musky backdrop of inky patchouli absolute.
Although oiellet means carnation in French, this is not a simple carnation soliflore. I don’t think of it as a floral perfume either; I would classify it as a herbaceous, spicy oriental. Original and vibrant to the point that it’s hard to believe all these plant essences aren’t real living and breathing animals.

Top notes: Galbanum absolute, Clary sage absolute, Bergamot, Indian Carnation Absolute
Heart notes: Cistus absolute, Basmati flower, Heliotrope absolute,
Base notes: Patchouli absolute, Plant musk

Scent Systems' Oeillet perfume is made of natural ingredients only and was designed by George Dodd.

Scent Systems

Some of you may have been familiar with Scent Systems from the days it was a posh niche perfumes retailer in London that included custom scents as part of their services. A few years back, the company underwent a shift and became a perfume house that uses only natural building blocks in their perfumes, and the bespoke fragrances are also 100% natural. Scent Systems was founded by Hiram Green, a Canadian that followed his dreams and ended up on the other side of the pond. He now works with George Dodd, a perfumer and a renown fragrance consultant and researcher in the field of fragrance and psychology. His book, His book “Fragrance: The Psychology and Biology of Perfume” (co-edited with S. Van Toller) includes some of his researches as well as other researchers (including the infamous inventors of the Colour Rosette Test), which were key to understanding the impact of fragrance on human beings. He now operates from a small studio in the Highlands of Scotland, and his connection to this landscape is reflected in the choice of some of the aromatics used in the floral collection he designed for Scent Systems, such as heather absolute and Scottish bog myrtle.

Last week, Scent System’s coffret of the 5 floral perfumes arrived in the mail. While the five are quite different from one another, the line has a style, and it’s as if there is a thread that connects them all. Each is named after a flower, and that note is distinct and present; yet they are far more complex and rich to be categorized as soliflores. Aside from the natural perfumery staples, the line uses some rare natural essences that even I am not familiar with (i.e.: heliotrope, basmati flower and heather absolutes), and also some natural isolates (i.e.: aldehydes that occur in plants rather than synthesized from an unrelated source). The perfumes are all dense, rich, and have a slightly oily opening (which I’m guessing is the aldehydes) that reminds me of the scent of blood, yet not in a disturbing way. The line is intriguing and original, yet has a solid foundation in classic perfumery principles and the perfumes have an interesting evolution and are long lasting.

I intend to give a full review of the scents soon, but would like to use this post to give them all a first-impression introduction:

Jasmine - the freshest of them all, and slightly grassy jasmine, paired with herbs (basil and verbena) overtop vetiver base.

Rose - opens overly fruity and ripe with spicy, turmeric-like after-note and rose isolates dominant and sharp, but softens into more complex rose territory after a while. The dryout reveals a patchouli and curry-like base.

Wild Violet - I found this to be more spicy than I expected, rather than a fragile, powdery floral. An opoponax note comes forth right away, than replaced by roses; and only later on the iris notes glide in and create a more violet-y impression.

Tuberose - I thought I would love this one the most, as it smells most delicious from the vial, but it ended up very different than the opening. Starts off as a creamy, heady and slightly juicy, and reminds me of Miller Harris’ Noix de Tubereuse, which I like, but once the tuberose subsides it’s not as intriguing.

Oeillet is by far my favourite of them all, and is a dusky, dark seductive green, herbaceous and spicy oriental. Sage is the key note though, in my opinion, and having grown up surrounded by sage this might explain why I’m partial to it.

Full reviews will be posted over the next couple of weeks after I wear each a few more times. If you have already experienced Scent Systems' floral collection please do comment :)
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