Sometimes, things get a little hectic, life is a bit stressful, weather is acting up on you when you least expect it and you're finding yourself reaching for some comfort. Where do you seek solace? Today I am participating in a blog-o-rama with thirteen fine bloggers under the united theme of Comforting Scents for Uncomfortable Times organized by fellow blogger & perfumer Ayala Moriel. Come aboard and indulge in the selection!
Odd beginning, but I wanted to get this off my chest: There is something deeply comforting about an old English-style library; velvet-upholstered Chesterfield couches, mahogany desks, green-hued lamps, the trails of blond tobacco pipes smoked by those who inhabit it and rows and rows of leather-bound books. A little armagnac in a tumbler wouldn't hurt either! I intend to recreate this ambience in a special room in my house when I'm older. People might say I have the tastes of a dried-up old man going hunting, but I don't care. In the meantime, I'm recreating that atmosphere with Etro Gomma, the magestic sweep of Doblis, the elegant Diorling and the home candle for the otherwordly Messe de Minuit. For me, they feel like home.
Orange Blossoms & the Sea-Spray
The smell of spring coming, rushing in might be an apter term. Even when the first hot rays are shining, it's the promise budding orange blossoms bring on the bigaradiers that flank the streets of where I live that signal their happy song, ushering in Easter and the return of Bacchus. And it is the salty, iodine scent of the sea brought by the gentle breeze of the evening, rolling along the coastal avenue under the palm-trees that speaks of the joys but also of the yearnings of the Big Blue.
Chanel Bois des Îles
It's not hard to see the appeal of fine cashmere: Its luxurious, pliable, warm but never stuffy yarns, enrobe the body like a beloved's hug. There are several fragrances which claim to be "a cashmere scent" (short for I-want-to-cuddle) but this classic by Ernest Beaux remains unsurpassed, especially in extrait de parfum where its artistry shines like a bright star in the galaxy. Its creamy sandalwood, the doughy iris that provides the plush, some ylang-ylang, hazy opoponax and the labdanum smidge in the drydown account for the most huggable scent you can think of. Simply sublime!
Ava Luxe No.23
This is like cheating as it is along the lines of the afore-mentioned Bois des Iles, at least in general concept. But it bears its own mention because the creamy sandalwood base along something like cheery citrus on the top just makes me feel safe and peaceful. The acacia and hawthorn notes are like sugar-spun biscotti, the musk is warm, powdery, inviting. I guess that's comfort...
Frédéric Malle L'Eau d'Hiver
There is a hint of spiciness hidden, a little heliotrope and hawthorn, some sweetness and the feel of a choir of angels singing atop a lightly salmon-coloured pillowy cloud and I'm transported. I always loved this one, composed by Jean Claude Ellena in 2003 and only this winter did I invest in my own bottle. From now on, the ethereal song can be repeated at will.
Those little creatures burb and poop and pee and perform all possibly imagined inelegant functions, but there is something about their own personal smell, their innermost buttery, milky, a little musky essence that one cannot possibly fully appreciate it until they have a little one of their own and it cuddles up to bed with them. It's yummylicious and utterly addictive!
Hearty, humble food
There is something to be said about the comforting aspects of reverting to the womb through indulging in the familiar scents and tastes of childhood. But what is most surprising is that even though possessing an inquisitive palate early on, it is those humbler carbohydrate-rich tastes which bring on that sense of psychological satiation like you're at peace with the world. I often long for a hearty plate of lentil soup, its garlicy vapours engulfing me on a dreary winter's day, or some on-the-spot composed zabaglione I recall gulping down as a treat after classes when little. Its aroma between a dessert and a vitamin-full supplement has something compelling about it. And of course organic strawberries eaten with fingers, scooping fresh cream along the way: What's more decadent, more delicious, more like a final declaration of spring-coming? I may be a fan of Slow Food, but there's nothing wrong with a couple of easy dishes sometimes. And, oh, cooking by itself is comforting (and sensual) by its very nature.
This traditional Turkish drink has always been something of a remedy-all at my house. Probably because it does aid a rough throat, which is all I ever suffered from (and it was quite often, I can tell you that!). The poppy-seed dust folded into warm milk has something of the ritual of arcane shaman practices that catches the imagination. And the crushed cinnamon on top adds to its attractiveness: It was only later I learned cinnamon is sometimes tied to Aphrodite. Figures...
So which are your comforting smells? Share them with us!
Please visit the rest of the participating blogs on these links:
All I Am A Redhead,
A Rose Beyond the Thames
I Smell Therefore I Am
Katie Puckrick Smells
Notes from the Ledge
Perfume in Progress
Roxana's Illuminated Journal
The Non Blonde
Photo by Ayala Sender
The song is Southern Cross by Thanos Mikroutsikos on poetry by Nikos Kavadias, sung by George Dalaras