I have long been a fan of Diane St. Clair’s fragrance creations, especially Gardener’s Glove but also First Cut. Frost is the third of that trio, her first releases which arrived in 2018. (For three very comprehensive reviews, you must read Kafkaesque’s detailed dissection of each). When I first read the name of that scent, I thought it would relate to frost, as in fall and winter temperatures, but instead, it refers to the poet Robert Frost, who wrote many of his most famous poems a short distance from Diane’s dairy farm in Vermont. Per her website:
“This scent follows the story of Frost’s poem, “To Earthward” which describes the transformation of youthful love, from “sweet like the petals of the rose” and “sprays of honeysuckle” to painful love, which stings like “bitter bark”, “burning clove” and “rough earth.”
“[The] scent weaves together accords of clove and smoke; bitter woods and earth; sweet rose and rose geranium; sprays of honeysuckle and sparkling citrus.”
- Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin Yellow and Green, Coriander, Petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer Lemon
- Middle Notes: Honeysuckle Accord, Rose Geranium, Elderflower Absolute, Petitgrain Absolute
- Base Notes: Cistus, Labdanum Absolute, Vanilla Absolute, Vetiver, Cedar, Smoke, Clove Absolute
The sunny opening is bright and cheerful; it vanishes quite quickly from my skin, and the next notes I smell most are the rose geranium and the clove sneaking in. As Sam Scriven wrote in I Scent You A Day, this combination with the honeysuckle actually generates a scent that smells like carnation and reminds one of Serge Lutens’ Vitriol d’Oeillet. I love carnation, so this appeals to me.
Frost quickly turns smoky on my skin, and the “burning cloves” take over. This stage of Frost is dry, dry, dry, between the smoke, the vetiver, the cistus, the cedar, and the labdanum. I don’t really detect vanilla.
Bottom line? I like Frost and it is clearly a high-quality artisan product by a very gifted perfumer. It is parfum strength and it lasts for hours. However, I do prefer Gardener’s Glove and First Cut, which are more botanical and floral than smoky. Frost does seem like a perfect scent for this week’s winter solstice, though, with its brief sunlight opening, and its rapid progress into a long night lit by bonfires burning spices and resin.
Have you tried any of St. Clair Scents’ fragrances? Diane has released more since 2018 — any favorites among the original three or the newer ones? Or, do you have any favorite poems by Robert Frost?
Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air
That crossed me from sweet things
The flow of–was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?
I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.
I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.
Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.
When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,
The hurt is not enough.
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.