Friday, May 23, 2008

The Aroma of the Cherry Bird Tree...and a Poll

"The forest has no hysteric like the bird cherry. Amid the clear-headed firs and the courageous juniper, the bird cherry is a decadent diva whose theatrical attitudes are not appreciated in restrained world of the Finnish forest. If the bird cherry could speak, it would sigh, 'Aah!, 'Oooh!' and 'Dearie me!'"
One of my faithful readers, the very interesting and extremely generous in spirit, the wonderful Stella Polaris, sent me the following link about the Cherry Bird tree of the Finnish forest whose flowers emit a strong, heady almond odor.
Click here to read the rest of the article on the Bird Cherry and what it symbolises, by author Illka Malmberg.

And because it's Friday and your mind is probably wondering...a little poll for you.

1.What is your favorite season?

I love winter and autumn. I guess autumn is more optimistic and wistful at the same time, so it has a slight advantage for me.

2.What is your favorite tree?

Bitter orange for fragrance, poplar for the wonderful swaying sound of the leaves in the wind.

3.Did you read anything good lately?

Not really, most books I took up this spring proved to be disappointing in one way or another. Have high hopes for some Serres I got recommended.

4.What are you going to do this summer?

Rest hopefully! Travel is on the schedule as well, different destinations vying for my attention.

5.What's the first thing you do as soon as the weather warms up?

Kick off socks and hose and get my Jourdan sandals out.

6.Are you looking forward to a summery scent in particular?

I seem to have re-found Vetiver Tonka from the Hermessences and plan on wearing it quite a bit this summer: strikes the perfect balance between warm and cool, sweet and dry.

So what about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts and recs.

Pic of Greek coffee by the Sea, courtesy of


  1. Let's see...
    1) Favorite season: Spring. I'm a March baby and I seem to start living again then.
    2)Also the orange tree for the fragrance. Goes with Spring in the Mediterranean. Intoxicating.
    3)I've been re-reading Marcel Détienne's "Dionysos mis à mort" and "Le Jardin d'Adonis", structuralist analyses of Greek mythology. Now I'm on to a yellowed copy of Baudrillard's "De la Séduction", bought (and annotated) at the ripe old age of 19.
    4)Write. Any chance I get.
    5)Pedicure and bright red varnish on my toenails!
    6) Chanel Sycomore which I've just been offered, Eau d'Hermès, SL Fleurs d'Oranger (blooms in the heat).

  2. Hi D!

    Those two books are quite good, I agree (and have to thank you for one of them)
    And pedicures are good for the sole/soul...LOL!

    "Just been offered": you sound mysterious ~ a gift from a loved one? a sample through some connection? an official give-away?

    I see we're considering vetivers both for summer. As well as perennial favourites, of course ;-)

  3. Anonymous09:19

    1. Summer
    2. linden tree
    3. Perfumes: The guide over and over again
    4. sweating like a horse(hope!), lots of hikes and jogging exercises. Plans to go biking during the summer break get real.
    5. fight against snails in the garden with all weapons modern man has. I would nuke them if I could ;-)
    6. Summer cries out loud for ambrein and other resins.

  4. A ha!
    Thanks Andy for revealing those funny little factoids for us.

    So you like sweating? Gosh, I hate it. It's the only reason I don't like hot summers: it's aesthetically displeasing to me. LOL!But the hikes and the biking sure sound wonderful. *sigh*

    Poor snails...nuked by such a gentle soul, tsk tsk tsk :-))

  5. Good morning, Helg and all!
    1. Autumn and spring. I love the colors and temperatures of the more transitional seasons.
    2. Maple trees, very plentiful where I live, for the rushy sound of the leaves in the wind and the beautiful colors they turn in the fall.
    3. Nothing good recently.
    4. I just bought a very old, tiny house and am in the process of moving; lots of windows to wash and unpacking to do.
    5. Open up said windows and let the breeze blow through!
    6. Un Jardin Sur Le Nil remains my summer favorite. I'm also enjoying lily scents.

  6. 1.- Spring and autumn
    2.- Linden for the smell, weeping copper beeches, for the poetry of form, and solidity.
    3.-"Girls Like Us " by Sheila Weller- a magnificent biography about a generation of women, and the intertwined lives of Carole king, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon]
    4.-No travel, no vacation [ youngest is going to Strasbourg w/ school, DH's company will be on strike ],; training all the new doctors that come on board in June /July [ with their wet ears !].
    5.- Open all the windows,take off the flannel bed linens, spend as much time as possible out of doors, climb trees,enjoy bare baby toes....Mephisto sandals, leopard print.
    6.- Selection Verte, Cypres Musc, Venus Sands, Kama, Nanadebary Green, Route de Vetiver, Bois Blond, Tango, Cepes et Tuberose,
    La Haie Fleurie, 3ieme Homme, Mimosa pour Moi,TDC's galore..
    [You didn't think this was EASY, did you ?!]

  7. Dear Anita,

    good morning to you as well :-)

    Maple trees do turn into wonderful colours in autumn, you're lucky to have this beautiful scenery where you live.
    And we share a summery favourite it seems in Sur le Nil.

    Best of luck with the move, I know it can be hard work...

  8. Dear I,

    I am taking down notes on the book. Sounds good.
    About summer, I do wish you get to rest a bit, although it sounds like you will be TERRIBLY busy! At least your son will have a great time at Strasbourg it seems. As to the young doctors, oh, I wouldn't worry if I were one of them; I'm sure you will be the best possible trainer for them.

    Regarding your perfume choices, o la la! No, this shouldn't have been easy: I know I am asking for the impossible. Great picks (as always)!!

  9. Anonymous13:12

    Fun and interesting post for the beginning of a holiday weekend (in the U.S.)

    1. Favorite season: winter - the older I get, the more introspective and reclusive I become, and winter suits me perfectly.
    2. Tree - catalpa - big beautiful leaves and blossoms in the spring that look like miniature orchids and smell divine. Second - linden
    3. Book - just finished Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird - about writing but hysterical!
    4. what will I be doing? Unfortunately, just working! I'm in the Thoroughbred business and summer starts our sale season.
    5. Ditto opening the doors and windows and letting the warm breezes and fresh air flow in.
    6. Perfume: Guerlain's Philtre d'Amour.

  10. Anonymous14:10

    1.What is your favorite season?
    Late spring, because of nature awakening from the winter-sleep. Summer, because of light nights (I'm living just below the arctic circle)that makes it difficult to want to go to sleep because of the blond nights & and the beautiful light on the sky (the sun setting for almost immediately rising again, with no darkness in between, just a hint of yellowish/red at the horizon)

    2.What is your favorite tree?
    Of the wild trees at this geographical location: the bird cherry. Further south: trees from the citrus family, orange trees in particular

    3.Did you read anything good lately?
    I just read Michel Houellebecq: The Possibility of an Island, that is rather dystopic, but at the same time an insightful reflection on the future of a youth and beauty obsessed culture like ours.
    For pleasure I have just bought Pierre Laszlo's Citrus. A History, which seems delightful and stimulating! :)

    4.What are you going to do this summer?
    Relax with my lovely husband and the children, and try to get time on my own to write (we have 2 (mine)+2(his) children, so some time alone is among the luxuries!). Travel abroad I like to do during the cool and cold times at the year.

    5.What's the first thing you do as soon as the weather warms up?
    Find my sandals & and a cafe with outdoor serving

    6.Are you looking forward to a summery scent in particular?
    My daytime favourite, which I love the simpleness and freshness, is Kenzo's Summer. For strongly nostalgic reasons Venezia by Biagiotti IS summer for me, but now my bottle is almost empty..

  11. Glad you liked it Rappleya!

    I admit this is the first time I heard of catalpa (at least by that name): off to Google it!
    Your book rec Bird by Bird sounds interesting! Thank you for the rec.

  12. Dear S,

    white nights are magical, aren't they? The thing that always made the deepest impression on me is that when you photograph the phenomenon, it doesn't come out bright and light as your eyes see it. Weird, huh?

    Noting down the book rec here again :-)
    You seem to have a handful for summer (and wow, four kids is a lot of work)! Best of luck with everything
    I like Kenzo Summer as well: it's quite nice, milky, soft, mimosa-rich...Venezia is a long lost gem. I associated it with cooler weather, but I can see that it means something deeper for you personally. Ah, memories...

  13. Anonymous14:23

    1. Autumn. Mostly for the quality of the light and light is what makes me put Summer a very close second.
    2. The oak (English) though there are prettier trees, I love the oak's solidity and it means England to me.
    3. Going to cheat here - just bought Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad). Was very impressed by The Secret Agent years ago and something on the radio about HoD intrigued me. Have been enjoying Perfumes - The Guide!
    4. I have a week booked in June sailing on a Turkish gulet. Can't wait.
    5. Get the fake tan out and paint my toe nails.
    6.Philosykos/Jardin au Mediterranee/Osmanthe Yunnan/both forms of Azuree/Fleurs de Sel/Eau de Merveilles
    Now I'm all happy and wistful! Happy Weekend all.

  14. Dear N,

    there's something to be said about oaks, true: they represent stability.
    I LOVE Heart of Darkness! I am sure you will enjoy it immensely.
    Your summer holiday sounds wonderful. And your frag choices are exceptional and I bet they will be very refreshing during your holiday.

    On a lighter note:
    I see we all have something about our feet in warmer weather!! Perfume Shriners unite through their noses and their toes! LOL!!!

  15. Anonymous15:22

    oh, I can't understand how I could forget Philosykos. It is more fond for me than Kenzo's Summer, but I like it later in the summer when it is (I hope!) hotter. Kenzo is for me for the beginning of the season.
    Heart of Darkness is beautiful, deap, and dark. I have read my old paperback exemplar to pieces :)
    AD the light: yes, one must experience it, on pictures the brightness of colors and the softness in the "texture" of the sky (?) is lost

  16. Anonymous15:48


    1.What is your favorite season?

    Autumn. I love the color of the leaves and then when they fall over the ground and then the wind picks them up and they do cartwheels down the street. It seems like the leaves are chasing you when they do that. Autumn + Thanksgiving - my favorite holiday. There's just something about Autumn and the energy in the air at the time.

    2.What is your favorite tree?
    I like Orange trees because of the smell of the blossoms in the summer and I like Magnolia trees because of the big flowers on them.

    3.Did you read anything good lately?

    Not really. I have tried a few books but I don't find myself escaping into them like I usually do.

    4.What are you going to do this summer?

    Move into our new house, go to the beach alot, thinking of taking some guitar classes.

    5.What's the first thing you do as soon as the weather warms up?

    Order tons of cute sandals from Zappos. :)

    6.Are you looking forward to a summery scent in particular?

    I have 3 on my list -
    The Pour un Ete (l'artisan)
    Eau Turquoise (parfums de nicolai)
    Beyond Love by Kilian.

    Have a great weekend. I enjoyed reading everyone's replies. :)


  17. 1. Favorite Season: Autumn followed by Winter. I am an Autumn child, I love the scent of the air in autumn, the smell of ripe abundence but the cooling of the earth.
    2. Favorite Tree: Lemon tree, oak, and pine.
    3. Recently just read Tuesday's with Morrie (yes I know I am the last person to read this) and it really did move me. Not my usual type of reading, but a nice change of pace.
    4. Hopefully do a lot of relaxing, go to Yosemite (a special place for me and my BF) and enjoy the summer bounty.
    5. Get the sandals out and open the windows (i've already done this).
    6. Right now I have already brought out the summer scents and I am having an intense affair with the scent of osmanthus, but still I want to find something else to scent the summer with.

  18. S,

    fig scents are for late summer for me too, when figs are in season and they remind me of Greek holidays by the sea. So good!
    Philosykos and Premier Figuier are both great.

  19. Dear Dawn,

    "energy in the air": exactly! This is the reason I said it's an optimistic season; it's been left over by academia, I guess, but it's the season of new beginnings for me.

    Guitar classes: you go girl!

    Best for Memorial weekend to you!

  20. Jen,

    don't you worry: I haven't read "Tuesdays with Morrie" either!
    The feet get a free outing here as well, I see... (hehe, see above)
    Osmanthus is a wonderful blossom, but perhaps you might want to explore more jasmine scents for summer? I find jasmine the quintessential summer flower (although it blooms here since April and never really withers till November)

  21. Jasmine, would be nice, but jasmine does not like me, one of the few notes along with cumin and cedar that can really go into the catagory of sheer horror on my skin.

  22. Ah Jen, but you must be thinking of the indolic ones....
    Why don't you try some of the lighter, hedione-using ones, such as Eau Sauvage, The pour in Ete, or even Blush by M.Jacobs?
    Have you tried any of those? They're gossamer-light and very airy, very fresh.

  23. Helg,
    Well I've tried Eau Sauvage and I love the opening of it but it has a bit of a barbershop dry down on me and Blush well even I made that one indolic (and I've met people who it smells lovely on). As for The pour in Ete never tried that one.

  24. Anonymous19:39

    1. Summer. I like the moments before evening when the sun is gone, but there still is a daylight. Or the big tension you can feel in the air before some summer storm.
    2. Linden and Oaks - very friendly looking trees imo.
    3.I must admit that I don't know any of the books mentioned here. I got some books about a history of my country recently, so I plan that my mind will be wandering around the 12th century very soon.
    4.I plan to do some fruity days, to clean my inside parts :-). For example a day eating only melon is recommended. But I plan it every year and I am so lame and weak to keep this diet. :-)
    5.Ice-cream? Pedicure - OPI has excellent colours. I own 4 pieces (very poor next to some MUA members), but gorgeous colours. And I will finally wear all my skirts.
    6.Mandragore, Diorella, L'occitane Mimosa.

  25. Fun!

    1. Autumn, for the colors, pure and simple. I love the first bite in the air.
    2. An elfin forest of white birches.
    3. I like Mandelbaum's translation of the Metamorphoses for discontinuous summer browsing.
    4. Make money. Boring. Maybe get some sleep.
    5. Wear dresses again.
    6. I'm guessing Apres L'Ondee and No. 19 are going to be on heavy rotation.

  26. E., the gift was semi-official. ;-)

  27. Jen,

    hmmm...Eau Sauvage is a men's scent after all, so I can see how you might perceive it as a little masculine.
    Maybe Diorella? (its feminine equivalent)
    Pity about the Blush. Maybe Sensi? It has sweeter notes that might appeal to you and its jasmine note is non indolic IMO.

    I insist you should try The pour un Ete or even La Chasse, both have the kind of light jasmine that one might like.
    On a completely different plane of existence there is a bastard jasmine that is more like a spicy sonata than anything else: Jasmin de Nuit by TDC: gorgeous and not really jasmine, so you stand a chance maybe?

    But then again there is no reason to focus only on jasmine for summer: Vetiver, tea, light musks, are all cool and sunny scents that can be wonderful for summer. Or you could go for mimosa which is happiness and sun rolled into one (the above mentioned Kenzo Summer is nice)!

  28. Lavinia,

    oh the twilight is my favourite hour of the day as well. And the tension before a storm! I love the way the air smells at those moments, don't you? And afterwards...

    Eating just fruit is harder to do when the weather hasn't properly warmed up. I don't even like most fruit, only summery ones, so I only do that come summer (which one might argue is too late, LOL)
    By all means, stick to it though, it's very good for you.

    I can vouch for the OPI quality myself: I didn't expect before I tried, but they're fab!

    I see you mentioning Mandragore, now there's a fragrance that has been almost forgotten. It's very nice for summer use, very bergamoty, I agree.

  29. Dain,

    "An elfin forest of white birches": what a poetic phrase! Love it!

    I bet Ovid is good company :-)

    And funny/intriguing your mentioning Apres l'ondee fit for summer: I always associate it with early spring or early autumn. (but then I live in an orgiastically hot and wild summer country!)

  30. Dear D,

    touchée! ;-)

    (have fun!)

  31. 1. Autumn - early autumn with golden sun, deep blue sky and fire-coloured leaves, but also late autumn with naked trees, cobwebs, mist, frost and the smell of earth and rotting leaves.
    2. Cedar in perfume, I think. Otherwise - well I just love trees, blossoming trees like cherry, magnolia, apple, chestnut are very pretty but the humble aspen with its silvery trunk and shivering, round leaves has a special place in my heart. Beech trees are also very lovely, and as a Swede, I'm nostalgic for firs and birches as well.
    3. The Beebo Brinker chronicles!
    4. Finish my thesis. Dress up as Lucius Malfoy and party at Europride Stockholm. Zoom around Europe on courses and conferences. Hopefully get some nice rural vacation in Sweden as well.
    5. Hmm. Feel like smoking? The first sun and warmth always makes me want to smoke somehow... (I'm not a regular smoker)
    6. I'm curious about the new magnolia fragrance from Eau d'Italie, a brand I love. My hot weather staples are Sherbet Rhubarb and Oriental Lumpur - I find them both refreshing in very different ways. I also seem to be craving florals like Carnal Flower and En Passant lately (not a floral person) but I think that's more for spring than summer...

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  34. Hi Tove and thanks for your comment :-) got me there! Great image.
    Good luck with your thesis, it's hard work, I know. Then again, dressing up as Malfoy would be great fun!!

    The magnolia fragrance from Eau d'Italie sounds interesting: I should get around to sampling that.
    Agree about En Passant being spring-like, though I find Carnal Flower great for summer as well (it blooms something wonderful!)

  35. Anonymous14:34

    Late as usual, but who cares...

    1. Late summer: I love the golden light of late summer afternoons. But basically, there's something to be said for all seasons.

    2. Trees are all lovely, but nothing tops a might, solitary blood beech.

    3. I've just moved, and most of my books are still in the crates, unfortunately! I read whatever happens to be out of a box right now, and so far remain unimpressed.

    4. Enjoy my new balcony!

    5. Get out of socks and stockings!

    6. Roma with it's Anna Magnani-like sensuous citrus has been my summer scent since it first appered on the market, but lately it has been joined by Mugler Cologne (for unobtrusively fresh moments) and the gorgeous, summery lavender of Reverie au Jardin.

  36. Anonymous20:16

    As for me and my house.

    1. I like fall, because the leaves on the trees change colour, and the air smells soooo good

    2. Love the maple tree in my backyard. It is home to many birds.

    3. I finally read Chandler Burr's book about a Year In Scent. It's marvellous! Jardin Sur le Nil is a favorite perfume of mine: it was a gift from my younger brother. I wanted to learn more about it and its creator, and now I have :)

    4. plans include cycling and reading for the summer: need to recharge my batteries after working in a seasonal industry

    5. summery scent in particular: Vetiver Extraordiaire, because I want its dry earthiness to be in contrast with summery weather. I will apply one spritz only to the small of my back, so I don't overwhelm anyone. I also bought a small size of Hiris to try for the summer, and A HUGE (think honkin') bottle of Jardin en Mediterranee, because I love Nil so much I need to meet its cousins.


  37. I'm very late to this party, so I'll just offer 2 answers:
    The best book I've read lately is Flowering Judas, a collection of stories by Katherine Anne Porter, first published in 1935. I haven't read her in decades, and I had forgotten the brilliance of her prose. It just takes my breath away.

    As for summer plans, I'm going to do lots of hiking. Lots. And we have tentative plans to go to Alaska in August. That should be fun.

  38. Dear Z,

    enjoy your new home and the balcony! Thrilled for you, sounds great.

    Socks and hose are really restrictive, aren't they?

  39. Dear Carole,

    wasn't Burr's book one of the most revealing things you've read on this marvellous "fragrance world"? There is jam-packed education in every page even for someone who has a bit of knowledge on how the bolts click

    Vetiver Extraordinaire is very special, I can see it being a wonderful summery scent. And by all means try the Meditaranee: it's quite unique. Different from other figgy scents.

  40. M,

    as you know I pay lots of attention to your bookish interests, so I am noting down the rec.

    Alaska sounds GORGEOUS! And in August it should be the perfect escape of the heatwaves (could I be a tiny little pet in your luggage???)


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