Sunday Scent Sessions With The Scented Djinn (Me!)

Oh, what a glorious day! The sun is shining brightly, wispy clouds disperse to reveal a clear blue sky, and the sorry state of my back strip plants. While the honeysuckle climbing all along the 30 foot fence is doing quite well, the succulents in the shadow of the vines are a tad wilted. Must water today. Other than that, the day is beautiful. Perfect for a Sunday scent session.

I've begun performing the twenty-a-day exercises again since I feel I've allowed my nose to become rusty over the past couple of years. I've dedicated myself to this -- if I am at home, I exercise my nose. This is imperative for a perfumer, this exercising of the nose. It makes perfume formulating an attainable goal. Good, strong nose, good, strong memory of what the nose knows. Anyway.

Today's scent session includes a nice green cognac oil from Robertet c. 2001, and a lotus concrete from Albert Vielle c. who knows(?).

Cognac oil is a force to be reckoned with. It's a scent you either love or hate. When sniffing, it gets stuck in the back of your throat, the sensation much like swallowing a sip of really strong alcohol. The scent of this cognac has a desire to jet from the bottle, a heady cloud burst of fruit. It smells of the skin of grapes, fermented. When I lived in Fresno, our home was situated about a half mile from the Gallo Winery on Clovis Avenue. This is where Gallo makes their base wine, the stuff that gets shipped off to all the artisan wineries who add this base wine to their special wines to extend them. I'm not sayin' all wineries do this, but a majority of them do. I digress. From September to late into fall, Gallo performs 'the crush', days on end of this sour wine smell is in the air. Some days it was overwhelming, others not so much. When the winery finished with the grapes, the dregs were spread in a field across the street from the main tanks, and this is where the smell originated. Dessicated grape skins fermented and drying in the hot sun. Special, huh? This cognac oil reminds me of the crush, and the smell of the head space in a glass of wine -- white wine, sweet, fruity, mouthwatering, slightly oily. The dry down is somewhat, well, dry. Like parched brown leaves and hot metal. It has that weird tinny feel that sets the teeth on edge, as if you'd bitten down on a piece of aluminum foil. Yeah, that feeling. And there's something like decay around the edges. It would make an excellent bridge through all three accords in a perfume composition -- opening with flagrant headiness, drying to warm, boozy fruitiness, then closing with this dark slightly rotted oily smell. I'm making it sound horrible, aren't I? It's not. Not really. It's actually quite lovely and bright and fruity. What's really special, is that even after it's dry, completely bone dry on the scent strip, it still has a lot of that alcohol quality to it, an airiness, and then another note, beer, slightly musty. Quite nice.

Lotus concrete. It doesn't specify on the tin if it's a pink or white, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say pink. It smells exactly like my tins of pink lotus concrete/wax, with slight variations. While mine smells more watery, this smells somewhat salty and meaty. It kind of reminds me of that bad batch of tuberose I had years ago, the one that smelled like boiled hot dog water. On the skin, the scent changes. It becomes sweeter and less meaty, warmer, like a still pond in summer, algae collecting on the rocks. It's sublime. Smells of skin and leather. It would do nicely in a chypre, or fougere. I'm realizing it has this dichotomous quality to it, like silty, muddy water, and dense wood smoke. What a gem! 


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