Scented Advent, December 16

Today I cheated on the Advent calendar process. I needed a sample from an independent perfumer, to alternate with my Guerlain samples, but I also wanted to take part in Now Smell This’ Friday community project, which was to name your favorite work by, or inspired by, Jane Austen. So I grabbed the discovery set of Francesca Bianchi fragrances, which I hadn’t yet opened, and chose one that I thought might do. My favorite Jane Austen-inspired work is the movie “Sense and Sensibility”, which is why my blog is named, in part, Scents and Sensibilities (full name is Serenity Now: Scents and Sensibilities).

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in "Sense and Sensibility"
The heroines of “Sense and Sensibility”; image from Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The sample I chose was one I’ve never tried, called The Lover’s Tale. After all, Jane Austen’s books are all tales about lovers. But when I read more about it on Fragrantica — bingo! Here’s what Francesca Bianchi said about it herself:

This is a story of by-gone times about a secret encounter of lovers. It represents the contradictions between sense and sensibility, pruderie and passion. The lovers are full of desire but their education holds them back.

Francesca Bianchi

Launched in 2018, The Lover’s Tale has top notes of Honey, Mimosa, Aldehydes and Bergamot; middle notes of Orris, Peach, Heliotrope, Egyptian Jasmine and Bulgarian Rose; and base notes of Leather, Castoreum, Musk, Labdanum, Oakmoss, Vetiver and Sandalwood. It is considered a leather fragrance, as that note is a main player. Given its partnering with castoreum, musk, oakmoss, and vetiver, I venture to say that this is a more stereotypically masculine leather. However, the earlier notes are all very stereotypically feminine, with their profusion of florals. In a way, The Lover’s Tale is a combination of two characters from “Sense and Sensibility”: Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood, who fall in love after various trials and tribulations.

I read somewhere that while it is understood that the title “Sense and Sensibility” refers to the two sisters, Elinor Dashwood who has common sense and intelligence, and the younger Marianne, who has a Romantic sensibility and passion, it can also be read as referring to Brandon and Marianne. He is the older, experienced man who commits himself to solving problems and addressing crises, including Marianne’s. He is practical — but he also has a wide streak of Romanticism himself, with his love of music and his infatuation with the emotional, musical Marianne.

Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood, from "Sense and Sensibility"
Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood; image from Columbia Pictures.

Colonel Brandon also spends much of the movie throwing himself into the saddle and riding off to save the day, so a leather fragrance is well suited to him. The honey in the opening notes can be a nice reference to what Emma Thompson, who wrote and starred in the movie, called the “extraordinary sweetness [of Brandon’s] nature.” The aldehydes and floral notes evoke Marianne’s love of beauty that can sometimes be a bit flighty; by the time The Lover’s Tale is in the final stage of drydown, the floral notes, the leather, and the warm animalic notes of the base have reconciled, and combine with labdanum and sandalwood in a beautiful marriage of scent.

Colonel Brandon and Marianne's wedding, "Sense and Sensibility"
Wedding of Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood; image from Columbia Pictures

Do you have a favorite work by, or inspired by, Jane Austen? Any fragrance you might associate with it?

6 thoughts on “Scented Advent, December 16

  1. What an interesting thought process pairing a fragrance to a book or author. I’ve read all of Austen’s books but can’t say I remember them. I admit to being a charlatan but I find she tells one tale populated by a slightly different cast of characters. I’m not mad about Dickens either.
    As I’m sure you can guess I cannot think of a single scent that I find reminiscent of any Austen novel. Literal not literary that’s me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey OH,
    I have a story for you. While in Cannes for the Priscilla launch I hung out with Greg Wise, who played Willoughby in S&S. It was all just friendly, not sexy, but he was excellent company and a gorgeous lad to have on my arm while we partied with all the big names. He went on to marry Emma Thompson.
    Somewhere I have a couple of photos, hopefully they’ll come to light and I can share.
    I missed the NST thing but really wanted to be a part of it. The timing is terrible for Oz.
    Yes, I love Jane Austen and have read through the most popular titles more than once, P&P is my especial favourite.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A bit more detail on The Lover’s Tale — like all Francesca Bianchi’s fragrances, I think, it comes in parfum strength. And I’m here to tell you that it LASTS. I could still smell it faintly on my skin 12 hours after initial application. Good thing I liked it so much!


  4. I have never been good at matching a fragrance with a book, movie, art. I just don’t “see” smells in that way, I guess! Did love that movie. I’m not sure what my advent calendar will bring today. I put a really random assortment of minis in there!

    Liked by 1 person

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