Thursday, April 21, 2011

you smell cro-magnon

My friend Britta first introduced me to Yosh Han's perfumes with the gift of a six-piece sampler set. I fell hard for U4EAHH!, with its batty name and sweetness so fresh it seemed just-squeezed from some kind of maniacally-relaxed melon who surfs a lot and has the perfect sprinkling of discrete nose & cheek freckles. (It's more pear than melon, but somehow melon seems like the more laid-back fruit to me. Can you picture a pear on a surfboard?)

this guy looks pretty laid-back, though

The title of Mireille Silcoff's post (discovered via Elisa), "Smell is the nearest thing we have to bottled time travel," reminded me of how much I want to get my hands on another Yosh sampler set: the Timeline of Frangrances she created exclusively for 826LA's Time Travel Mart. I'm such a sucker for lists of notes in fragrances, especially when they include inscrutable things like white pearl and sparkles:

Caveman (34,000 B.C.E.) — notes of: earth, washed suede, galbanum
Sheherazade (818) — notes of: African musk, opium, cardamom, rose
Silk Road (1280) — notes of: bamboo flower, peony, China lily
Aztec (1494) — notes of: chocolate, rose, nutmeg, pink pepper, cardamom
Gold Rush (1849) — notes of: musk, denim, pink pepper, river
Victorian Violets (1888) — notes of: violets
Studio 54 (1977) — notes of: white pearl, juniper, coriander, lime, champagne & sparkles
2012 (ditto) — notes of: Egyptian musk, blue tansy, peppermint
Utopia (77777) — notes of: French vanilla, nectarine blossom, cassis, green tea
Dystopia (77778) — notes of: kukui nut, foraha, tobacco, peppermint, peach, galbanum

 image via

I looked up foraha; supposedly it smells like pecan ice cream (what, no butter in the dystopia?). The lack of a shared language for scents allows for some beautiful imaginative leaps. What does denim smell like? Indigo dye and cotton? Or like jeans? Metallic zipper & button, detergent, dirt.  And corduroy--what is its smell? Velvet & heat, tiny rhythmic burnings. Silcoff:
We all know that scent is the most emotional of the five senses, and linked to memory like none other. We know this because we have all smelled fresh-mown grass or the hair of a passing person on the street or the notes of a shot of J├Ągermeister, and been instantly transported back to a childhood summer in the country or the arms of the first person we kissed or some bender weekend that occurred over a decade ago. There is a certain uric smell in certain London Underground stations that can literally make me cry from the number of stacked emotions it brings up. Ditto for the smell of Dove soap with Listerine and corduroy, which is the smell of my grandfather.

17 comments:

Britta said...

Might be my favorite yet. "Velvet & heat, tiny rhythmic burnings." Elizabeth! Your gift for scent and description is turning into something rhythmic, burning, heat-driven. This blog has got me all kinds of ga-ga.

Preets said...

Galbanum, river, blue tansy! But do they mean river as in river? If so, which river? Tansy, tansy, I love the word tansy. And my goodness, yes, that smell of metallic zipper & button.

Jesmyn Ward, writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesmyn Ward, writer said...

Sigh. I deleted my previous comment because I misspelled something. Anyhow, I have this set. I love Aztec and Utopia. Aztec smells like chocolate and pepper and smoke, and Utopia smells like beauty. Seriously, I put it on and I feel beautiful and invincible and like I can charm everyone around me into falling in love with me. Lol. It's so wonderful I can't even describe it in solid terms. :-)

nosy girl said...

jmimi--you are those things that you feel when you're wearing utopia! green tea notes can go either way for me, but you have me wanting to smell this whole set even more.

thanks to all three of you for being so supportive of this here smelly site. ♡

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