Scent Sample Sunday: St. Clair Scents’ Frost

Scent Sample Sunday: St. Clair Scents’ Frost

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?

To Earthward

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.

Photo by Stephen + Alicia on Pexels.com

Perfume Chat Room, December 4

Perfume Chat Room, December 4

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, December 4, the first Friday of the last month of 2020. Hurray! This year has been famously destructive in many ways, but I see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. In my own religion, Christianity, the season of Advent began last Sunday, and it is one of my favorite times of the year. Not just because of preparations for holidays (with most celebrations on hold this year), but because it is a season of hope and anticipation. Many religions and cultures have some observance of this time of year, leading toward the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice when the Earth is tilted furthest away from the Sun and the day is shortest, night longest. Not surprisingly, a common theme is the emergence of light from darkness, since our winter solstice marks the end of daylight diminishing and the start of the gradual increase in light.

The season also brings with it many wonderful smells! Classic associations with this time of year are evergreens like pine and fir; spiced drinks like mulled wine and apple cider; beeswax from lit candles; incense from places of worship; sweet and spiced baked goods, often including vanilla; woody and smoky scents that recall hearth fires. I enjoy them all. Some perfumers try to create fragrances that evoke cold, like notes of snow, or ice, or frost. I was so excited in 2018 when Jo Malone had a limited edition fragrance called White Moss & Snowdrop, I thought I’d love it. Sadly, I didn’t. It was pleasant enough, but it didn’t make a big impression. My wallet was grateful! Now I’m excited at the news that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz will create a new fragrance for Zoologist, called Snowy Owl. Can’t wait to try it!

What fragrances do you enjoy at this time of year? They don’t have to be perfumes, you can list any scent!