Saturday, February 04, 2012
Day 4 ~ One Year, One Nose
Who doesn't love lemon? While washing dishes this morning, I kept catching whiffs of it's tart sweetness and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. The window was open a crack so I thought perhaps the neighbors were cutting lemons or making juice. Then I realized the granddaughter was being suspiciously quiet while sitting in the corner of the kitchen with her back to me. I tiptoed up to her and peeked over her head and there in her lap was a gnawed on lemon that she was making sweet, slobbering love to. One thing I can say about this granddaughter, she does love her groceries, even if they make her pucker and shudder and drool like a rabid squirrel. We keep a big basket of fresh lemons and oranges on the floor next to the refrigerator as we're always digging into it for one thing or another -- salad ingredients, lemons for salsa, oranges for eating or juicing, playing catch. We do love our citrus 'round here.
The scent of lemon -- well, most of us know how lemons smell. They're quite common in many parts of the world so access to their lovely fresh, fruity, citrus and floral bouquet is easily met. But what does lemon scent do to you? Perhaps similar to how I felt, standing in front of a sink full of dirty dishes and catching the tickling finger of lemon on the air; uplifted. Enlivened. Maybe even a little excited? Excited about the scent of a lemon? Sure. In the dead of winter, lemons, to me, represent the coming spring and summer; of green tea and lemon wedges in tall glasses filled to the top with slushy ice, sipped slowly while sitting on the front porch watching the neighborhood being. It reminds me more recently of days of lemon distillation, the scent of fresh squeezed lemon filling the air, a replete feel-happy aroma, the 'E' of nature. Or maybe it feels that way because I'm cuckoo over distillation in general.
Lemon smells zippy. Zingy. Fresh. Fruity-sweet and citrusy-tart. Aldehydic. Ok, so what does that mean, aldehydic? Citrusy smells are aldehydic -- soapy and waxy and slightly floral. I know, this is getting confusing. Not all aldehydes smell like the aldehyde I'm describing here -- some smell nasty, like turned butter and black bananas. But when I say (or write) 'aldehydic', what I'm referring to is a sparkle I'm detecting in a scent rather than a specific aldehyde. Think champagne bubbles.
Some perfumers I know use lemon sparingly as to not fall into the Lemon Trap (much like the Bergamot Trap, and the Vanilla Trap ~ The fact that some perfumery ingredients are used to re-steer a south-facing perfume makes them 'Traps'. It's like cheating on an exam when they're used this way.) Look at any classic perfume and you will undoubtedly find the copious use of bergamot and vanilla; look at any classic cologne or eau de toilette, and all three may be in there. Lemon in cologne is understandable. By cologne's very definition, it is lemony and flush with citrus of every color and stripe. Jean Nate is a fine smelling eau de toilette *slash* bath splash cologne rife with lemon, that I once had the misfortune of getting in my hair. It took two days of shampooing to get the scent completely out. Aside from that, again, it is a fine smelling splash. With lemon.
Oh, yes, and then there is always the association of lemon (in some parts of the world) with toilet bowl cleaner. Again, lemon gets a bad rap.