Perfume Chat Room, June 3

Perfume Chat Room, June 3

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 3, and it is the first of my “summer Fridays”! As I did last summer, I am taking Fridays off work in June and July, using up some of my massively underused leave time. To be honest, it has been an exhausting two years, having added COVID-related duties to an already full plate at work, so the long summer weekends were a boon last year. I’m very happy to be able to have them again this summer!

I’m looking forward to doing a lot of fragrant gardening; we just installed a “dry creek” for drainage in our garden, which leads into a “rain garden” to catch excess water. Our soil is very dense clay, typical of this area; and in a wet spring such as we had this year, it gets so sodden with water that we’ve had water in our basement, erosion on a small slope in our back yard, and areas of lawn that haven’t been able to grow any grass for ages. The dry creek is a rock-lined channel that leads to a sunken area filled with gravel, then soil, then planted with vegetation that doesn’t mind wet feet. That’s the rain garden, which holds the excess water until it can percolate down into the soil. I’ve incorporated a number of pollinator-friendly and native plants. The dry creek has a long, low berm alongside it, for plants that need good drainage, which I will plant with creeping rosemary and upright silver lavender, mixed with some fragrant dianthus and creeping phlox as groundcovers.

Close up of lavender plant "Silver Anouk"
“Silver Anouk” Lavender

So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend, and my hands will smell wonderful after handling all these scented leaves! Speaking of lavender, I used to think I didn’t care for it much as a fragrance note, and now I love it. I think Jicky eau de toilette was the turning point for me. Do you like lavender? Do you have any particular favorite lavender-centric fragrances? What about rosemary? That’s a less common note in fragrance, I think; one of my perfume souvenirs from our recent trip to Italy was a bottle of Carthusia’s new A’mmare, by perfumer Luca Maffei, which has a vivid rosemary top note. It’s a great summer scent, and I look forward to getting to know it better.

Creeping rosemary plants, "Huntington Carpet"
Rosemary “Huntington Carpet”
Fragrance Friday: Rosemary

Fragrance Friday: Rosemary

I grow rosemary. I love the small blue flowers, the grey-green evergreen foliage that resembles needles. But most of all, I love the scent of rosemary. Freshly picked and minced, rosemary adds fragrance and complexity to so many dishes. In ancient Greece, rosemary was thought to improve the mind and memory, a belief later supported by some modern studies of aromatherapy. It later came to signify remembrance: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” Ophelia, in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5. Rosemary was also carried in a bride’s bouquet or worn in a bridal wreath as a sign of fidelity. All in all, an herb and fragrance with many meanings and nuances. Some lovely quotes about rosemary, and its uses, can be found at the blog The Herb Gardener. Even more detailed information about its varieties and culture is at Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.

Coincidentally, a fragrance that currently fascinates me also has rosemary among its notes: Diorissimo. I used to wear it many years ago, in the 1980s. Diorissimo is another scent that seems to send the perfume blogosphere into orbit — not because people hate it but because they mourn its reformulation. I loved it because of its strong lily-of-the-valley fragrance, another favorite scent and plant of mine. (I grew my own to carry in my bridal bouquet and for my husband’s boutonniere). I hadn’t realized Diorissimo also has notes of rosemary until I did a search for rosemary-inflected perfumes on Fragrantica.com. Another surprise? It appears in Hermes’ Un Jardin Sur le Toit, which I am lucky enough to have received as a gift but haven’t tried yet! Can’t wait, as I have loved the other Jardin perfumes. Tomorrow, perhaps?

Rosemary may be having a cultural “moment.” The most recent catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a gorgeous rosemary necklace with patinated metal “leaves” dangling from freshwater pearls. The jewelry maker is Michael Michaud, and his company makes a whole line of rosemary jewelry. I plan to enjoy this moment while it lasts! And maybe I’ll even try today’s Diorissimo.

Photo: Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.