Sunday, July 10, 2011

I sit there staring when there's nothing else to do.

Perfume Challenge Week 25: Monday, 7/4/11, to Friday, 7/8/11

Lorelai: So, Mia, how's living in Santa Barbara?
Mia: Horrible. Did you know the damn sun shines all the time out there?
Rory: They've written songs about that.

Mia's attitude about the devil sun that is haunting my days and actively trying to burn my skin mirrors my own. I've been feeling vaguely filled with melancholia lately because of the excess sun and lack of cool, cloudy days. This is exacerbated by my coming trip to Houston.

I'm going home for a very happy occasion. My (adoptive) sister, Erica, is having a baby girl and I am thrilled for her, her partner, and their budding family. I am not happy to be returning to Texas for the first time in three plus years at the height of the July heat. Also, going there reminds me of things, bad things, and I don't love remembering the life I had there. I'm definitely one of those people who is happy that you can never go home again. It helps relieve the expectation that you actually try.

I'm hopeful, though. Every few weeks, I break a nail and have to cut all my nails short again. When I do, I experience a sensation that I didn't have the first twenty-fivish years of my life, when I was so nervous and scared of the mere act of living that I bit at my hands until they bled.

I feel the itchy sensation of newly revealed skin interacting with the world, before it gets used to the cold and wet and hot and heavy and becomes sort of numb. It's not what I'd call a good feeling. Frankly, it can be irritating and uncomfortable. But it reminds me that I am alive, and every day, I grow and heal and repair myself, over and over, in ways I can't even imagine. Every few years, almost everything about this body I inhabit has died and been replaced by new flesh, new cells, new blood.

In light of that, it’s not hard to imagine new beginnings. After all, I was born, I have died, I am alive again, brand new. It will happen again. And again. So maybe this time won't be so bad. At some point, I'll stop hating the mere experience of being there, right? One of these newly born iterations of myself will eventually shed the baggage and be able to handle it gracefully. Until then, I keep the visits short, and breath deep, and try bringing the most calming scents I can stuff in my bag.

Speaking of lovely and calming scents, I was delivered a lovely set of samples from the generous Maria McElroy, perfumer of amora M perfumes. The line is described as follows:

Imagine a stroll through the ancient, cobble stoned streets of Gion, the legendary Geisha district of Kyoto. Peek into a tea room imbued with the sound of shamisen, with the scent of delicate incense wafting through the doorway. Feel the fluid seductiveness of a silk kimono wafting against your skin. These are some of the multi-sensuous delights that have gone into the blending of the Geisha Collection from Aroma M: The Art of Scent. Included in the collection are perfume oils and eau de parfum's, available in eleven lush and unique fragrances that interpret the subtly mysterious aromas of Japan for the modern Western scent aficionado.

Maria's Aroma M scents are created with the subtle (never overpowering) sensibility of Japanese incense blends in mind. In addition, armed with her aromatherapy background, Maria ensures that her fragrances are not only beguiling, but help alleviate daily stress and promote well-being. As natural as possible without losing their diffusing power, they are made with the finest essential oils.

Monday: aroma M Geisha Blanche - Geisha Blanche is cool, beckoning, enticing. Its blend of white flowers gives a subtle sweet appeal. Here is one beautiful, feminine fragrance that is based on flowers, but with the addition of lychee conveys the meaning of cool summer sensuality.

This is a truly lovely scent. It is a white floral, yes, but not overly so. The lychee adds this sweet cooling aspect that makes the scent seem like a bouquet of candied flowers and fruit. Moderate sillage, and I think would make a lovely gift for a younger woman and while seasonally more of a summer scent, I think it would make a nice counterpoint to a wet fall day, when one feels wistful for the sun and the beautiful flowers of spring. 3 of 5 nods.

Tuesday: aroma M Geisha O-Cha - “O-cha” green tea, a delicate blend of traditional Japanese green tea, sweet orange, and clary sage.

Wow, very orange and sage, realistically so on application. The tea aspect is less strong in the opening than in the middle, but once it kicks in it balances very nicely with the other scents. When I was little, my mom used to make this tea mixture for me when I was sick, made of sugar, Lipton instant tea, and Tang! It sounds gross, but it was actually delicious, and remains a wonderful memory to me. This is more complex and strongly herbal than that, and the orange fades out considerably. The sillage is low on this one, but it is beautiful and gentle. O-Cha would make a great spring scent; I can imagine putting it on and heading over to sit along the peaceful paths of Portland’s beautiful Japanese gardens. 4 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: aroma M Geisha Rouge - A scent of vital sexiness that is not based on flowers, but on the seductive spices and woods used in traditional Japanese incense—cinnamon, star of anise, clove, and sandalwood—spiked with tobacco, smooth vanilla, and sultry tonka bean.

Seductive is right on the money! The combination of cinnamon, anise, clove, vanilla, and tonka bean always strikes me quite a bit of baking goods, and combined with tobacco I always personally get a mental imagine of fresh baked holiday cookies or banana bread. I would absolutely recommend this for each and every day between the fourth Thursday in November and January 1. Not that you have to think of this as a holiday scent, though I personally do. After a while the sweetness backs off and it grows a little more medicinal, which moves this away from homey and sweet and toward sexy and hot. two hours later it was sweet again, but the sexy-hot still haunted me around the edges.

Definitely a must try if you like Washington Tremlett Royals Heroes 1805 or Olympic Orchids Carolina. Delicious, delightful, de-lovely. Big sillage, so not workplace friendly if your workplace is anything like mine. 4 of 5 nods.

Thursday: aroma M Geisha Violet - The sweet scent of violet, suffused with lilac and ethereal Japanese lotus, spiked with bitter chocolate: That’s the recipe for Geisha Violet, Aroma M’s first new fragrance in three years. Geisha Violet is by no means old-fashioned here, this updated classic is boldly transposed into the 21st century. The drydown is the main attraction: cool, fresh violet and lotus dance so eloquently with chocolate notes--not foody, nor overly sweet, it's an elegant composition that begs you to sniff... and sniff.... and sniff in delight. Completely original. Notes: violet, lilac, lotus, chocolate

Remember how I was just talking about banana baked goods? Holy crimoly! This is a woooooooooooonderful really green unripened banana flesh at the opening. The violet and lilac are well balanced, but the strongest aspect for me is the lotus. EauMG didn't get a lot of chocolate, and I didn't either, but it didn't bother me at all. The chocolate note is probably responsible for some of the sweetness. Carrie at eyeliner on a cat thought it was figgy, and while I get edible, it I don't get fig. It really is a smooth banana on me, in a fresh real fruit way that I have never encountered in a scent before.  The tail end is very gourmand, but toward the vanilla end of the spectrum, but still light and lovely. Light to moderate sillage. 5 of 5 nods for the originality and perfect balance of this scent.

Friday: aroma M Geisha Pink - A shot of sugared plum, with fresh orange added for tang, and vanilla for seductive staying power. This is a young Eastern-accented scent, brimming with sexiness.

The orange here smells like orange pith and is strong in the opening, and the plum is strangely not sweet either. I understand this is one of their more popular scents, but it's got this bitter green edge to it I can't get past, which reminds me of standing in a field of over-ripened melons on a hot day. That said, I hate melon. True story. Cantaloupe, honey dew, you name it; these items are listed under "Things that make Diana go blech!" So it's entirely to a non-melon hater, this is a fantastic scent. For me? Sadly a non-starter in an otherwise fantastic week of scents.

Winner of the Week: It's a toss-up between aroma M Geisha Rouge and aroma M Geisha Violet with Violet winning for sheer originality I think. Either way, great scents, and a great line worth trying.

I'll leave you with this, a truly fantastic video of Kristen Dunst as an anima-style magical princess doing The Vapor’s “Turning Japanese.” It’s never been clear to me why Dunst made this video, or why it was subsequently played in the Toronto Museum of Art, but I have been vaguely obsessed with it since I found it a couple of years ago.

"Your eyes are hazel and soft as clouds.
I often kiss you when there's no one else around."

~ "Turning Japanese," The Vapors

You can by aroma Mperfumes direct from the perfumer or through LuckyScent.

Perfumes reviewed above generously provided by the perfumer.


Bloody Frida said...

Your post has urged me to re-test Aroma M's fragrances - thanks!!!

jen said...

I'm just back from vacation and catching up. Hope your visit went well? I thought your comments about rebirth every few years was very lovely, comforting. I hope it kept you strong during your weaker moments on your trip!