Friday, December 14, 2007
Green and good
When I heard that Anya's Garden was introducing *Kaffir, a scent structured around the fragrance of the Kaffir lime, I felt a wave of perfumista dread come over me. Why? Because I can't imagine any scenario more perfectly designed to set me up for disappointment. First of all, I am a rabid fan of Anya McCoy's work. Pan and Fairchild are both fascinating, near-perfect creations as far as I am concerned. On top of that, I have had an obsession with the taste and scent of limes since I was a child. The smell of a freshly cut lime is heaven to me, and I love the leaves in Thai food, so the concept of a scent that incorporated both elements was straight out of my perfume dreams
Unfortunately, lime-focused women's scents are rare, and every lime for boys I've ever met has been some hyper-virile melange of citrus and spice--quite unwearable for a girly type such as myself, not to mention that they make me feel as if some tiny animal is raking its claws down my nasal passages. So, even though I was very intrigued by Anya's new baby, I deliberately kept my expectations low.
I suppose that's a good policy in general, but it turns out to have been completely unnecessary in this case. It was love at first dab for Kaffir. I instantly declared it FB worthy, and I've already got my 15ml EDP, which I predict will not last long.
Kaffir opens all green and juicy, but galbanum amps up the mellow bitterness of the lime, so the fruity quality is somewhat subdued--a good thing in my book. There's a subtle herbal note as well, lent by tarragon according to Anya. The opening lasts a little longer than citrus tops usually do. It takes a good 10 minutes, on me at least, before the floral heart emerges and begins to play hide and seek with the leather/wood base.
One of the things I love about Pan and Fairchild is their liveliness. They change moment by moment on the skin, continually evolving in a wonderfully non-linear way right up to their final fade-out. Kaffir, in its more lighthearted fashion, has the same quality. Every time I lift my wrist to my nose, I get a slightly different balance of jasmine, leather, and soft woods. The green notes pop back in from time to time as well, and when they hook up with the leather base I find I get a flash of Chanel n.19. When the jasmine-rich heart predominates, Kaffir seems like Fairchild's more innocent hesperidic cousin.
Anya describes Kaffir as having a tropical character, and I find that's true, although this is certainly no "rum punch on the beach" fragrance. It's lush, green and sunny, with a barely perceptible hint of earthy decay. Anya calls it playful, and so it is, but it's not a bit coy. It seems perfectly unisex, and wearable just about anyplace, something that can't be said, IMO, of either Pan or Fairchild.
For another, more erudite take on Kaffir, click over to Helg's review at Perfume Shrine. You'll find her review of Anya's other new creation, Temple, on the same page. I'll offer my own thoughts on Temple as soon as I can figure out what they are. (I've already sprung for a bottle of it in parfum, which I guess should tell me something.)
*Notes from Anya's Garden:
Top notes: Kaffir Thai lime leaf, galbanum, French and Tropical tarragon accord
Middle notes: tinctures of eight jasmines, heritage oak extract, Grasse jasmine
Base notes: sustainable golden agarwood, musk seed, leather accord
Photo from Wikimedia Commons