Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My very own custom blend by Ane Walsh

By now if you are still reading my blog and all the others out there and you have countless perfume bottles in your home (office, car, etc etc...) you are either a perfume addicted, a self-called "perfumista" or both, and you probably can situate yourself in one of the 5 phases of this perfumed relationship that are basically the following:

1. The Romance Stage: Oxytocine, Phenylethylamine and dopamine! You are dancing with many perfumes cheek to cheekYou are in LUUUV!
Falling in love is just like a drug addiction, but legal and so is the passion for perfumes that unfortunately although legal, very expensive at this stage. 
You want to smell everything on everyone! This is the phase where the interest of learning everything about perfume and perfumery is higher than taste. You will also tend to follow other people's taste for perfumes because they seem sometimes to know more about them than you.

2. The Love Hangover Stage: You are now 1000s of perfumes and samples away from where you started and just as in LOVE, you are no longer a perfume blind and you begin to smell the flaws. Yes, you begin to recognize perfumes and perfumers not only for they accomplishments and beauties but also for their flaws. Here is when you will encounter deception. You have a lot of perfumes in your wardrobe that now seems to be the case of asking yourself "what was I thinking?" kind of bottles. The good thing is that your nose is more accurate, more educatated. You no longer accept the opinion of other experts as the most accurate ones. All is arguable. You have developed your very own refined taste for perfumes.

3. The Stability Stage: For better or worst you will stick to what you define as a good perfume. By now you have already divided perfumes into 2 cathegories: loved as a concept but I won't wear/ love it and I will wear it because it is also wonderful on me! But of course you are still thrilled by new ideas, new brands...

4. The Commitment Stage: You select the best 5/10 perfumes of all times and these are the ones that you are really going to wear (some people have broader lists such as the 20 best).You will wear one of these perfumes till the very last drop before buying a new bottle (unless you found a real good financial opportunity).

Some people may stay or complete only these four stages of a perfume love affair. Some will be caught up in a loop where stages will start and end until the enlighten wisdom will come.

I took my love for perfumes to the next level where I found myself wanting to have something very specific. It is the fifth stage or Co-Creation Stage: At this point you know exactly what works for you and what is out there. You know which perfumers you admire, which creations you MUST have and now you want to go deeper into your love for perfumery  - which means to have YOUR VERY OWN BLEND! Some will be happy just to have a customized fragrance; some will try to launch their own perfume brands. (but there is a problem with that - read my posts called "The Trouble with the Curve - Part I/Part II). Yeap...Perfumery needs training and that means years of experience and that is exactly why I believe in what it is called Co-Creation. I am a lucky person who happens to know a very skilled perfumer called Ane Walsh who does not fear a challenge and has the heart of an angel! A Co-Creation means you need a partner to sin!

We started to talk about my very own perfume and needless to say IRIS is the olfactive note I love the most, so my dream come true was a fragrance that would explore this flower in the most fantastic way. 
I love most aspects of this note - silvery, salty, buttery, but I asked her to leave the green-y notes out of my fragrance because they interest me less somehow (although I liked Iris 39 of Le Labo). 
Ane had an iris root that was 90 yrs old (wow!) and that was our starting point. I also told her about perfumes that I love such as the Guerlain perfume called Iris Ganache that was unfortunately discontinued. For those of you who can't remember, Iris Ganache had a composition of bergamot, cinnamon, white chocolate, cedarwood, iris, gray amber, vanilla white musk, patchouli and powdery notes. It was launched in 2007 for the L'Art et la Matiere Collection and created by Thierry Wasser.
My idea was not to recreate this fragrance, because not only we respect Thierry's work of art, but also because I wanted something to call MY VERY OWN BLEND. I did wanted a chocolate-iris combination thou, but not the same as in Guerlain's creation. I wanted something that flirts with the Haute cuisine, but it does not smell like pastry nor a box of chocolates. 

Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

The result is a gourmet iris perfume that she named LA SIGNORA as the Piazza La Signora in Firenze, Italy. Firenze or Florence in English in Italy is the region concentrating the most beautiful varieties of iris flowers. It is also the home of the Società Italiana Dell'Iris giving the International prize for the best iris cultivators. According to Ane this Piazza is an effervescent point of Florentine culture since its very beginning.


Launch year: 2014
Customized edition
Perfumer: Ane Walsh
Rate: Sky is the limit!
Family: Floral-gourmand
Some of the notes of my perfume are:

Top: Bee wax absolute, peach leafs, rosewood, cognac.

Heart: Iris Fiorentine absolute, orris tincture, iris mimosa absolut, violet, polen, calamus, zdravetz(*), Marrocan Rose.

Base: ambrette, white musk, tolu balm, benjoim, cacao, bitter almonds, ambergris tincture, earth blend.

At the very first whiff you fell the sweetness and the warmth of a golden syrupy-green peachy note accord. It contains a rich waxy, slightly smoked caramelized smell that blends well with the cognac, giving it a more mature aura (taking distance from juvenile obvious scents such as Marc Jacobs and others with honey themes). It slightly reminds me the opening of L'Abeille EDP by Guerlain - a chlorophyl-ish announcement of Spring season, puffed with pollen, but here peach leafs and cognac were added - so it does not smell like a luxurious product you get to spread on your face like L'Abeille. It is a honeyed note with herbaceous undertones and a depth that is both beautiful and welcoming.
The transition to the heart is smooth and continuous. Iris announces itself a bit salty and mineral and slowly blends even more with the honey becoming more feminine, more buttery then earthy. From there it will starts to bring purple-ish layers of violet notes, becoming slightly powdery. If you were trying to say the word ZDRAVETZ don't be frustrated. If you don't know Hungarian it seems almost impossible! All you need to know is that it is a geranium with woody tones.
The best is yet to come! Once you were presented to a whole lotta irises comes my iris-gourmet accord! Ambrette seeds with tolu, benjoim and cacao are simply a lick on the skin.  It goes to a Iris Ganache aura but much more luxurious and less sweet. In the composition of Iris Ganache Thierry used white chocolate - too sweet and too waxy-vanilla for my taste... here you will find a more sophisticated chocolat-y touch. 
Bitter almonds bridges with ambergris and the earthy accord are the final touch and once the dream is over (some hours later) you have the urge to start this journey all over again!! Yes It is for me a dream come true to me to see a perfume where the many facets of iris are presented, one layering another. 

To Ane the perfume was inspired by a Piazza; to me it brings one picture only to my mind: Van Gogh Irises.

I recall a very cold and rainy day in NYC during one Fall when my husband and I spent almost one entire day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I sat down in front of Van Gogh's masterpieces and literally cried. Although I have the impression that these are copies because they have no protection whatsoever from people's touch and cameras... But anyways, original or not, it makes you cry because it is simply beautiful and genius.

La Signora is exactly what VG Irises is: harmonious, soft (gentle), sophisticated and amazingly unique.

The painting description by the Met:
"In May 1890, just before his release from the asylum at Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh painted four bouquets of spring flowers: two of roses, and two of irises, in contrasting formats and color schemes. Owing to his use of a fugitive red pigment, the "harmonious and soft" effect that he had sought in the Museum’s painting of Irises has been altered by the fading of the once pink background to almost white. Another still life from this series, Roses (1993.400.5), is on view in the adjacent gallery. Both were owned by the artist’s mother, who kept them until her death in 1907" (extracted from their website).

Van Gogh's Irises (1890) - Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection - NYC
Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

If one image can explain more than a 1000 words, that is LA SIGNORA:

Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

I took this picture with irises that I picked in my garden inspired by the painting, and today it represents a fragrance. My version of irises contained in a vial. It is the image of my very own blend!

Thank you so much Ane Walsh for making my dream come true! You are really a blessed soul! I love you!

Please stick around for the masculine complementary fragrance that Ane has also created for my husband so we can both share an iris moment together!

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