Speaking of smells, let's talk about some NOLA-ish scents, shall we? Some of these scents merely remind me of NOLA, some are from perfumeries based in NOLA proper, and some are scents created by perfumers inspired by NOLA.
First up, I'd like to talk a little about Lagniappe Oaks Perfumery, sold via the website of sister company Bourbon French Parfums. Bourbon French Parfums has a shop located on Royal in the French Quarter, originally established in 1845 by August Dussan. The LOP line, sold there, focuses on scents that capture the spirit of the region.
There are three separate sample set you can order from: Jazz Ensemble, Heirloom Collection, and Renaissance Florals, which provides you, for ~$40 a set, a purse roller (~10ml) of the EdT formulation of each scent in the collection. FN1.
Rather than review every single scent in the collection now, I'm going to highlight a little something of each collection.
From the Jazz Ensemble set, Jazzelle is described as follows:
Provocative & Passionate, Jazzell is orange blossom and rose hips, dusted with cinnamon and then drenched in Belgium chocolate.
When I wear Jazzelle I feel like I am bring surrounded by a suit of armor made of a spun sugar frame and filled in with tiny flowers. I feel it around me. It has a presence, and it seems to swirl invisibly in the air around me, being large and palpable, but without being intimidating or necessarily powerful. It's not an aggressive scent; that's what is so impressive. It has a looming presence, but in the way faint light can soften and deepen darkness, or or the way a soft whisper can be louder and more profound than a scream. It is the memory of a soft caress, soft puffs of sweets floating into your French Quarter garden from the bakery across the street. Proof that big is not the only kind of beautiful, that sometimes less is really more.
In a single word: beautiful.
Jazzelle has low to moderate sillage and lingers on my skin about six hours.
You can get an entire ounce of Jazelle parfum for a mere $41.00. For $61.50, you can get the bath gel, powder, lotion and 1.3 ounces of EdT. For those of you who like solid perfumes, Jazelle is also available in that form as well, though this review is of the EdT.
In a world where marketing makes up the cost of most commercial scents and you can wind up with a lot less value for your money, this is a true winner. Buy Jazelle direct from the perfumer here.
Book and film recommendations
Starting with the realm of young adult world, I have not one but TWO recommendations for you, dear reader. The first is the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Now, these books are not technically set in Lousiana. They're set in Gatlin, Georgia. BUT! The film adapation of the first book is currently being filmed, and it is being done in and around New Orleans. The books are some of my very favorites in the YA genre. The world of Beautiful Creatures is peopled with complicated and interesting characters, and the cast for the film is sure to bear that out. (Two words: EMMA THOMPSON. Also, Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Emmy Rossum.) If you love any/all things southern gothic, I really recommend the books. The last in the series of four, Beautiful Redemption, releases October 23, and the first film is anticipated in Spring 2013.
The second book is a riskier, darker effort in many ways, particularly for lovers of New Orleans. Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1) by Kelly Keaton envisions a future where a post-disaster New Orleans has been abandoned by the United States, and exists as a place beyond our borders. New 2 is a town without a country, a land that rules itself. Filled with magic and mystery, New 2 holds many secrets, including the secret behind Ari's personal history. Dark as futures for NOLA go, but truly, also an interesting dystopian possibility.
NOLA songs of the day
I have two songs today, both representations of the ongoing difficulties the area has had struggling to survive circumstances of geography in the face of an often indifferent and deeply bureaucratic world. the second, sadly, will not embed, but I encourage you to head on over to youtube to take a listen.
First Up: Randy' Newman's "Louisiana 1927"
I love this song, not because it is positive, but because when I hear it, I have *ALLTHEFEELINGS.* If art is meant to move you, than this song is art. There is so much sadness and resignation, so much weariness. If you can imagine people feeling down-trodden, this song will speak to you.
My Lord how the rains came down.
The waters made a mighty sound,
when the levees broke that day
washin' all those souls away[...]
Bring it all, fire and flood.
Fill the rivers up with mud.
To cut and run, ain't in our blood.
We are New Orleans.
So, baby, let the life roll on.
The blues were made to make us strong.
We're walkin' in a brighter day,
And nothin' can get in our way.
The whole world stood to watch us drown
but we took it to a higher ground.
It takes more than a hurricane
to empty out the Pontachatrain.
Long ago we broke the chains,
in New Orleans, New Orleans.
When Brother Bill and Sister Nell
are singing like a ringing bell,
then you'll know all is well
in New Orleans, New Orleans.
Keep checking back for more scents related to sweet New Orleans, along with music, movies, and a drawing in this homage to that sweet city that dwells in the warm lowlands of my heart.
Until then, laissez les bon temps rouler!
FN1. For those of you new to perfume math, it goes like this: 4 scents, 10 ml a scent, is 40ml of perfume for $40, which breaks down to ~$1/ml. This is better than you'll find in most sampling programs ($3-4/ml), and gives you a variety of scents to keep, gift, or swap, depending on how they land. That's a pretty good deal, 'fume speaking.