Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Caitlin by Caitlin O'Heaney

I don't want to be a stereotype but I'll admit I have a thing for apple scents, like the fragrance industry says the Japanese do. From my longest standing favorite, Creed Spring Flower (created for Audrey Hepburn) to my current favorite, Nina by Nina Ricci, I'd traveled through the apple orchard and stumbled upon a little-known indie perfume named Caitlin.

Caitlin was created by actor Caitlin O'Heaney whose movies I'm not familiar with, but whose work of olfactive art is in my opinion one to be reckoned with. The story behind the scent is that Caitlin mixed this for herself in her kitchen and her friends started going ga-ga over it, so she decided to release it as an indie launch. I remember when I'd discovered it a few years ago, I was one of the few perfumistas who loved it enough to buy. Then, slowly it gained some momentum and Caitlin went from a small online niche brand to having a spot in a posh department store in New York, only to disappear from the public eye rather quickly. The sweet and fresh blend of apple, gardenia and patchouli (among other notes) was housed in a clear, cut-glass flacon (parfum) or a softly ovoid clear bottle (EDP) and protected in a beautiful, sturdy yet delicately laced Irish linen bag. The scent has a vintage floral feel to it, bringing to mind Golden Autumn or Apple Blossom, but with a contemporary Gourmand twist.

I feel this perfume has gone underrated and underappreciated for its compositional (artistic) and material (artisan) quality. I can't imagine we'd have this new Nina without there being Caitlin, since they are similar to me in more ways than one. If I'm to compare, Caitlin is heavier on all levels, with a stronger, lower-pitched "mulled apple" character, while Nina is fresh and airy (ozonic) with a bright and citrusy, upbeat character. Now, if I'm to compare Caitlin to Spring Flower, Caitlin is a country apple with an endearingly down-to-earth, spectacular honeyed dry down, and Spring Flower a cosmopolitan one: sprightly to fit the gamine beauty it was created for, with a sophisticated green quality and a bold, cedary base. In my collection, I need all three, and Caitlin always feels comforting to come home to. Unfortunately, this gorgeous scent has already been discontinued, so if you can find a bottle of it left anywhere, get it while you can.

Caitlin by Caitlin O'Heaney (1997)
Notes from ¡Ombligo! blog:
Top: Apple and gardenia
Middle: Rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, vanilla and lily of the valley
Base: Sandalwood and patchouli