Saturday, October 3, 2009

Incredibly close.

L'Artisan Timbuktu

Here is what L'Artisan says about Timbuktu,
Timbuktu is the second creation in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s collection, “Fragrance captured by a perfumer on his travels”, initiated in 2003 with “Bois Farine” (Flour Wood). Timbuktu is a wild, yet sophisticated fragrance that is ultra sensual on women and men skin. This perfume was inspired by the unique blend of flowers, oinments, spices and woods that is used by women in the sensual African perfumery tradition.
The notes are "green mango, pink pepper berries, cardamom, karo karounde flower, smokey incense of papyrus wood, patchouli, myrrh, vetiver."

. . . . . . . . .

And this is where I give you a review of L'Artisan Timbuktu. But I cannot review this one. Not in an objective, "the perfumista recommends" kind of way.

My grandfather, John Charles Wiener, Jr., aka Johnnie, had a massive brainstem stroke when I was five years old. I have lots of memories of him after the stroke, but I also have a few from before. A very, very precious few.

I remember watching him drive from the center of the backseat of an old blue station wagon they had. I remember the hat he was wearing, the colors and shapes, and the blue and white patterned polyester shirt. I remember being taken to his office downtown, and that he kept lemon drops in a drawer there and would give them to me “when I was good,” which apparently was always.

I remember his laugh, the smell of his pipe, and I remember that he shaved with a bladed manual razor after lathering up his face with a creamy foaming soap applied with a brush. When I think on it now, I realize that he must have kept shaving himself after, but I remember that he had to use an electric razor because he lost the use of his dominant side after the stroke. But I still remember the smell.

Telling you this story is my way of telling you that I loved someone once, very much, who was gone long before he died. And to tell you that there is not a single day of my life that I don’t miss the man I’ve constructed from a very few small and hazy memories.

And to tell you that when I smelled L’Artisan Timbuktu for the first time tonight, I just started crying. I cried and I cried and I cried. It smelled at first like the Old Spice he wore and then it smelled like the foaming soap he shaved with. It was spicy and then soapy and strong and clean. It was beautiful and strong and smelled just like one of the few people in the world I ever felt safe with, and that is saying a lot for me. I sat here for about an hour and I just couldn’t stop crying because he seemed as real and alive and present in that smell as he did in the very vivid dream, some would say visitation, I had from him a year after he died. I suspect that if I had ever met a man who actually wore Timbuktu before I met and fell in love with my husband, I would have trusted and adored him instantly.

So I can’t tell you if this is a good perfume or not. I can’t tell you what other perfumes it reminds me of, or if it is better than another perfume. To me, nothing is similar to this, except for my Papa, and he’s been gone now for ten years. Ten years since he died, twenty-six since a lifetime of fatty food and hard living caught up with him at a football game when a blood vessel burst and robbed him of his independence. But there is no amount of time that can pass which will make me stop loving him, or remembering him, or hoping he is proud of me for being the person I couldn’t manage to be while he was still alive to see it.

I love Timbuktu because when I smell it, for a brief moment my memories seem so much stronger, just like the man while he lived. And I love him, so I have to love it.

And that’s all I can say about that.

I'd show you a picture of him before the stroke. But I don't have one. So no pictures this time.

Because I cannot really give you a proper review, I have to recommend...
~ A review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ A review from Nathan Branch

Timbuktu is available from Luckyscent and Beautyhabit as well as other places.

1 comment:

sheribomb said...

I got all teary-eyed when I read this. I think this is my favorite thing about scents. They're so evocative. There are many scents that I like strictly because they remind me of people. Like Tea Rose - it's what my grandmother used to wear.

Thanks for sharing this.