Friday, September 16, 2011

The Smell of November

I love perfume, which is funny because I just ordered a vial from a company called I Hate Perfume.

ihateperfume pretty perfun via bancroftandivy

Let me clarify - I don't love all perfume. Floral scents make me gag.  Harsh, overtly chemical smelling scents are also a big no-no. Some perfumes will trigger my allergies immediately. All that said, I love scents that can evoke an image of a place and time in my mind when I smell them. I gravitate toward natural, woodsy scents that I feel capture the essence of autumn, my favorite time of year - crushed leaves, fires in the hearth, bread baking in the oven, mulled wine, walks through pine forests.

For the last several years my signature scent has been Burberry for Women, with "notes of sandalwood, cedar, amber, and musk." Even though Burberry is my everyday perfume of choice, I'm always on the hunt for something new, especially if it's from a specialized producer and is available in limited quantities. I like not smelling like everyone else around me.

When I saw IHP referenced on a new blog I stumbled across this week, I wanted to check them out. After perusing the IHP site a bit, I decided to give one of the scents a try - M3 November, described as follows: Pumpkin Pie, Fallen Apples, Bonfire, Wood Smoke, Dried Grass, Fallen Leaves, Wet Branches, Damp Moss, Chanterelle Mushrooms and a hint of Pine Forest. For the story behind the scent, go here.

Another favorite scent of mine is from a place called Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab who specializes in "formulating body and household blends with a dark, romantic Gothic tone." My friend Jessica (also known as Dr. V in the blogging community) turned me onto them a couple of years ago and I immediately fell in love with their Snake Charmer and Antique Lace oils. I fell even more in love with the company after reading their website. You don't just go there and have everything lined up neatly for you to choose from. There are collections, based on themes. And there are stories to accompany each and every scent. And there is poetry, and imagery, and darkness and magic. It is a feast for the scenes for anyone that loves words and the dark, oftentimes macabre sense of life.

Snake Charmer, described as "sensual, sibilant, sexual and hypnotic: Arabian musk and exotic spices slinking through Egyptian amber, enticing vanilla, and a serpentine blend of black plum, labdanum, ambrette, benzoin and black coconut" is one of Alan's favorite scents I've ever worn. Every time I put it on he stops and tells me how good I smell. We've been married nearly ten years at this point, together for going on sixteen. When your man notices something about you, that's good stuff. I will say, this stuff is powerful, so only a few drops is needed. Unfortunately it appears they are no longer selling it and so vials are now selling for $75 a pop. Yikes!

Antique Lace is the sweeter of the two, described as, "nostalgia encapsulated - a soft, wistful blend of dry flowers, aged linens, and the faint breath of long-faded perfumes." On me there are definitely sweet undertones, and it does evoke a sense of time gone by. It's not a granny perfume, but you can imagine it being from another time. According to the website it too is no longer available. I'm glad I have 1/2 a vial of each left. I may have to horde it. 

While on the BPAL site looking for SC and AL I ended up finding two new seasonal scents that I absolutely must have so I bought them as well.
SAMHAIN 2011Truly the scent of autumn itself -- damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.
OCTOBER 2011Dry, cold autumn wind. A rustle of red leaves, a touch of smoke and sap in the air.Ay, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath!When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow briefAnd the year smiles as it draws near its death.Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delayIn the gay woods and in the golden air,Like to a good old age released from care,Journeying, in long serenity, away.In such a bright, late quiet, would that IMight wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooksAnd dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,And music of kind voices ever nigh;And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.