It happens this time every year. Maybe it's post-holiday funk or maybe the world is less satisfyingly smelly in the cold weather, but whatever the reason, I get a perfume jones that will not quit. In spite of owning more perfume than I could use in three lifetimes, I start browsing the etailers for bargains and sniffing my way through the stores for just the right mindless impulse purchase. Since Christmas I've bought ... well, I'd rather not say. The perfume fiends know perfectly well what can happen when the madness strikes, and the rest of you don't really want to know.
When I take time off from buying I start burrowing through my collection of samples and decants, sniffing and dabbing like a woman in a trance. There have been times I've gone to bed smeared with a dozen or more perfumes. (Don't worry, Dave's away a lot.) Thanks to my dear, enabling friends, I have scads of things still waiting for a proper test drive. Yesterday I came across a couple of Neil Morris creations from Chaya that just beg to be blogged about, so here goes:
The name says it all with Dark Season, a rich melange of clove, patchouli and amber that evokes the pleasure and pain of midwinter. Hints of leather, tobacco and smoke remind me of moments from my childhood--sitting around a wood stove, playing in a cold barn, trying to catch a contrary pony on a snowy day--but Dark Season is not really a rustic scent. It has a meditative, almost abstract quality. It's not so much a walk in a winter wood as the memory of such a walk, with the edge of experience smoothed and softened by distance. It's extremely well-balanced, so no single note jumps out, yet it has a very distinct personality, creates a vivid impression. It's a haunting perfume that almost makes me sad to see the days lengthening. Almost.
Intimate Lily is Dark Season's opposite number. It's a bouquet of lilies dipped in sugar, suitable to top the wedding cake of a virginal but passionate bride. The faintest possible suggestion of indoles and a musky base hint at pleasures to come, but Intimate Lily's overall presence is perfectly ladylike, utterly raunch-free. I say that with approval. It is my opinion as a certified lily fanatic that this dear flower should never, ever be radically funked up. If you want action, go to jasmine, or perhaps orange blossom if she's having a particularly frisky day, but leave the innocence of the lily intact. My favorite lilies have a touch of bitter soapiness or green purity, both of which are lacking in Intimate Lily, but the velvety sweetness fills that gap very prettily.
I don't think either of these beauties is currently in production at Neil Morris Fragrances, but they certainly deserve to be. Perhaps this post and our friend Chaya will give a little push in that direction.
Two Men Contemplating the Moon, Caspar David Friedrich, 1819-20 via Web Gallery of Art.
Nankeen Lily by Walter Hood Fitch, 1880, via Wikimedia Commons