Monday, August 14, 2006

Aromatics Washed Upon the Shores . . . and other strange considerations

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a lucky person, though I've had my share of luck, both good and bad. I recently had a spate of very fortunate luck on Ebay in the form of true ambergris resin. I won't go into details except to say that I walked away with a 'steal of a deal'. I'm sure the fact that plunking down good cash for something that may be fake had something to do with the reason I was the one and only bidder on this particular hunk of 'gris. But I take chances (which explains my streaks of bad luck) on things like this ~ you never know, right? So I get my chunk of ambergris (grey with black), open the little bag it came in, and inhale deeply through my nose, hoping to capture a fragment of scent that will remind me of something amber~ish. Big mistake. Not only does ambergris NOT smell like amber (in any way, shape or form), it smells distinctly of crap ~ or some other bodily excretion you don't want to get too close to. Well, it is whale puke. What was I expecting?

So what does it smell like, you ask. It's sweet in the same way that butter and cream are 'sweet'. It has a marked greasy smell to it that isn't altogether disgusting. It also has some swampy aspects to it ~ like rotting seaweed. And there's a bad breath-like accent floating in it ~ like standing next to someone with a touch of halitosis. I know these descriptions aren't flattering and they're not meant to turn you off of ambergris because the 'gris does have SOMETHING. Something that lures me in closer, like the smell of puppy breath or the warm, sweaty head of a little boy.

And since I'm on the subject of animal smells, what's all this about goat hair tincture? Frankly, when I first heard about it, I mentally retched. When I was a kid, my family raised goats. Big, stinky, rutting billy goats. It was my experiences with these nasty smelling creatures that a) led me to refer to my ex-husband as the Goat God, and b) causes me to run swiftly in the opposite direction of any petting zoo I stumble upon.

However, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. Like ambergris, goat hair tincture has its place in the world of natural animal derived essence, more than civet or musk deer given the cruelty issues. I mean, I don't think the goats mind an occassional trim. My problem would be getting close enough to the animal to cut the hair without puking on my shoes first. Yeah, it's totally psychological, I'm sure. I was scarred by goats at an early age. I've got a problem with them. Ok. I can live with that. Can I live with the tincture? Can YOU live with it? What do consumers think of goat sauce? I don't know. We'll have to wait and see what pans out ~ get it? 'Pans', 'Pan the Goat God' ~ har har yuk yuk. Ok, I'm done.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Island Girl

One of my favorite natural perfumers is Kedra Hart of Opus Oils. Even though she started her journey in perfumery using synthetic ingredients, she's seen the direction the wind blows and has created an entire line of purely botanical 'fumes.

Island Girl Collection ~ 100% Natural Perfumes

Island (Hawaiian) ~ Coconut, crooking its sand-and-sea finger in a 'come hither' fashion, is lushly draped over folds of pink lotus, orange blossom, champaka, plumeria, tuberose and pikaki, leaving one's head filled to overflowing with images of soft white beaches, lofty palm trees, warm tropical breezes brushing lightly upon naked skin, and intoxicating drinks served in coconut shells.

Sugar Island (Caribbean) ~ A sugary, sweet confection with a hint of juicy lime. This 'fume imparts 'tropical' shades of buttery coconut and sun-warmed skin, slightly floral and light. It is sexy and sweet and speaks of beach parties, barbeques and swimming under the moonlight.

Tiare (Tahitian) ~ Rich in floral opulence, Tiare is the siren of this bunch. Jasmine, ylang and vanilla create a lush cloud of smooth, creamy sexiness. Coconut, which strolls out about three minutes after the 'fume is applied, brings the perfume together to complete the whole 'Island Girl' motif. I hate to say it, but I'm sorely tempted to lick where this 'fume's been applied. Maybe I should put this on my husband, no?

Mantra (Bali) ~ Mantra reminds me of something ~ something lost in my memories. It opens in shades of vanilla and honey, light and airy, and for a moment I almost smell something bitter, like frankincense. Perhaps it is the oudh that lends the bitter, resinous character. At any rate, I like it. It's more incensey than the rest of the 'Island Girl' collection; softer, quieter and more hypnotic.

Tropique (Madagascar) ~ Tropique is just downright edible! Predominently coconut and vanilla with hints of coffee and cocoa, it's no wonder I want to eat it! This is a very lush, full-bodied 'fume, one that will cause heads to whip 'round and set minds to wonder what it is.

All the 'Island Girl' Collection is fun. I'd recommend getting a few samples and carrying it around in, oh, say, January, when your rear-end is freezing and the heating unit just broke down. Smear a bit under your nose and you'll be transported to a) the beach, b) a warm coffee house, or c) swimming in a cloud of coconut cream!


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