Saturday, May 20, 2006

Turn Up the Night

Today, I wore that discontinued sweet vanilla floral sample all day, absolutely loving it! I figured out that it's like a cross between the original Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare (beachy white floral-vanilla that's very sweet but also juicy, with a faint touch of coconut), their newer Vanille Peche (which I don't really love but it's a toffee caramel-type of peach-vanilla; remember Mentos candies?) and a cult perfume known as Monyette which is only sold at niche perfume boutiques (also beachy in a suntan lotion way; white floral-nag champa incense with green top notes of lilies--hypersweet and rich/heavy). But now that the evening is about to approach, I want a sharper, clearer, somehow sexier, more sophisticated perfume. What to reach for when I want chic vanilla? Well, my latest obsession is Serge Lutens Gris Clair which I've talked about before but for those of you just tuning in for the first time, Gris Clair is far.........from a pretty perfume. It's more of a manly-ish unisex aromatic scent on an airy but dry- wooded vanillic-sweet (tonka) base, if you can imagine that. The coolness of lavender meets something like cotton candy in a carpenter's workshop. Yes, it's wild, it rocks, and it's been my favorite nighttime scent for this spring. I'm still working on finishing my decant but it's going quickly.

Gris Clair means "clear grey" in French (and if you're wondering how to pronounce words in foreign languages, check this useful site out). The scent is evocative of rocks and mountains in the summer. Personally, I don't know how wearable it would be in the heat of summer but I fully plan to test it out. I'm thinking that I must be highly suggestive because I love this imagery so much, it might be half the reason I'm as into it as I am. I like grey as a color (technically a shade, not a color, I know) and I like the slender, tall, simple lines of the bottle which I have yet to own. Could I also just be attracted to the concept of rocks? Well, sure, because I love Rock (music--hehe) and I even like rocks--ask people close to me and they'll tell you that I like rocks more than flowers.

There's another rock-inspired perfume which I enjoy wearing from time to time when I'm in the mood for vintage: Caron Fleurs de Rocaille (1933), a perfume name which evokes the imagery of flowers in a rock garden. The scent itself is very evocative: a little moist like the earth, its heart a humble bouquet of flowers and complete with a little aldehydic sparkle, we have the rock garden. Was I drawn to this perfume because of its name, too? Actually, I'm not sure. I know that when I went to Caron Boutique (NYC), the first things I wanted to try were their lightest floral perfumes and this was one of them. On the whole, it's a quiet but somewhat heady and romantic floral bouquet with a mossy (musty to some) earthiness, a very retro scent, nothing at all contemporary-smelling about it and it's also what I love about it. They don't make scents like that anymore so I appreciate it as part of history. Fleurs de Rocaille had a starring moment in an Al Pacino film called "Scent of a Woman". It's just a tangent but I thought you might want to know.

Shower, perfume, I'm off.

According to Jan Moran:
Caron Fleurs de Rocaille (Floral) 1933

(Not the newly reformulated Fleur (no "s") de Rocaille (1993))

Top: Lily of the valley, clover
Heart: Rose, violet, lilac, jasmine, iris
Base: Sandalwood, musk, civet