Greens for Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day, originally uploaded by jciv.

I’m in the ferry boat to Victoria, British Columbia’s capital whose downtown is dotted with Irish pubs. I’m on a strange spring break-meets-spring-cleaning tour. In other words, my space is being redecorated and I’m trying to avoid the chaos of living and working among scattered furniture and splashes of paint (the walls will be green, of course, when I return home in two days).

The sea route goes through the lusciously green Gulf Islands, where Celtic hippies reside; and today I’m told they will summon the devil with their squeaky violins as they drink alfalfa juice specked with spirulina powder. Therefore it is only appropriate to talk about green scents.

And although I’m away from my explosive library of samples and my head is dizzying as the ferry spiraling in-between the fjord-like moss covered rocky islands in an attempt to enter Salt Spring Island’s dock - I will make an attempt all the same to list all those green scents that make life worth living and hay worth harvesting.

There are all kinds of green. This has become even clearer to me as I had to go through swatches of paints to choose from - dill pickle green, or avocado mayonnaise? We went with the timothy hay after all. But I digress, as my intention was to talk about green scents and not so much the colour. Yet, there is some kind of equivalence - green being a mixture of blue and yellow can lead to difference direction - dark and cool with more blue; or bright, lively and vibrant with more yellow. There are the olives, which are more dirty; and than there are greens that are bordering with grey.

Similarly with scent, there is the green the evokes crushed living leaf and than there are the greens that reminds us more of dry stacks of hay. Green goes both ways - sharp and fresh or warm and sweet-herbaceous. There is coniferous green and than there is also floral green. And I haven’t even mentioned green tea yet!

Galbanum - Sharp or Sweet:
Galbanum, the resin from a plant related to carrot and fennel, is responsible for the green bite in scents such as Vent Vert and Miss Dior. However, in its absolute form it is sweet and soft and almost berry-like. Yohji perfume accentuates galbanum’s sensuality by anchoring it with caramel and berries, resulting in a delicious, powdery-green-caramel confection.

Green Tea - Sheer and Fresh:
Miller et Bertaux Eau de Parfum #3: Green, green, green and green, is exactly the kind of scent that has both green tea and freshness. Balmy Days & Sundays by Ineke brings a more brisk and minty aspect to the theme of tea. And if you like the tea but not so much the greens, opt for Eau Parfumee au The Vert or Osmanthe Yunnan.

Not-So-New Mown Hay
Many fougere fragrance play on the bitter-sweet aspect of the coumarin present in hay or liatrix. Yerbamate is an example where the sweetness is amplified.

Tomato Leaf - Quirky Garden:
For a floral green, get a taste of originality with l’Ombre dans l’Eau’s juxtaposition of green tomato leaves and dewy roses. Tomato leaf appears in only very few other fragrances and adds the distinct aroma that rubs to your hands along with the colour green while attending to your tomato vines.

Cucumber, Violet and Iris:
Violet leaf has a cucumber-like, floral powdery scent. The accent on the cool rather than the powdery-sweet-floralcy of violet appeals to me especially in No. 19 and also in the more recent Kelly Caleche.

P.s. And as if my day wasn't green enough, when I arrived to Victoria I had dinner at Green Cuisine.

Photo: Happy St. Patrick's Day, originally uploaded by jciv.

St. Patrick and the Challenge of Green

making a clover chain, originally uploaded by amber_b..

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s Day before it's over! – Enjoy the rest of the night if you are celebrating, and especially your Guinness beer!
I’m not much of a beer person but I heard this particular kind is actually really healthy…

Without much time to post (the day was very busy with Spring Break starting today and lots of work remains undone as a result), this would be just a quick post to tell you that my day started with trying Gaucho tea for the first time. There will be a lot more about it tomorrow. For now, before I pass out after a very long day, I just wanted to share a few thought in regards to the challenge of green.

One of the things that both Dawn and I experienced when creating the perfume and the tea, was the challenge of creating something that is different from our own personal tastes and overcoming our own prejudices and preferences. As much as I find it difficult to wear green fragrances, I can tell you that mate is not Dawna’s favourite tea kind. We both had to overcome the natural impulse of rejection that comes from the smell and taste of sharp, bitter greens.

Interestingly enough, what this as an exercise has taught me (I can’t speak for Dawna but I can sense that she enjoyed the challenge…) how close opposites really are. As I was sipping Gaucho this morning with increasing curiosity as we let the tea steep longer and stronger – I noticed that strangely, the more bitter the herbs are, the more sweetness they leave in the mouth after sipping the tea. This sensation has left such an imprint on me that I can still feel it in my mouth as I write…

Tune in for a guest appearance tomorrow – a piece by Dawna Ehman about Seasonal Attunement and the Therapeutic Use of Flavour

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