I am quicksilver, the fox in the night, emotional about the poetry, love & desire in scent, read me.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Rum-Soaked Love & Sorcery: ‘Vanille Absolument’ by L’Artisan Parfumeur, Part I
not been so besotted with a scent for years. I am in love. My heart races, my
skin flushes, I lift away from myself, aroused and unsettled. Flung recklessly
on clothes, skin and hair, it swirls around me in conflicting waves of
olfactory emotions. I crave comfort, shelter, sex, skin, fucking, licking,
darkness, sun, kisses and love, loss and mourning.
lashes of desire be this languorous as they bite the skin? The answer is a sweet
smoky yes. This boozy tobacco tinted hymn to the vanilla pod is unbearably
beautiful. Extreme and emotional, divine and dirty. It moves with an animalic
grace over the body, intoxicating and teasing the senses. Some experts claim
that vanilla increases endorphin levels in the body. I virtually fall apart as
it hits me. It feels like a drug kick, alcoholic and vaporous, wrapping it’s oh
so sweet musky arms around me. I imagine myself in an old Buick, pulled over on
a hot Southern road, being kissed till I bruise, fingers clawing at
condensation and car seat.
talking about Vanille Absolument by
L’Artisan Parfumeur. Created by perfume savant Bertrand Duchaufour and launched
in 2009, this atmospheric and edible Eau de Parfum was originally called Havane Vanille. This gives more definitive
clues to its inspiration and soul, as it was the latest (at the time) in the
series of fragrances inspired by perfumers’ travels that L’Artisan Parfumeur have
been releasing for some years now.
micro collection contains some of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s most original and
striking work: Timbuktu, Dzongkha and Fleur de Liane by Bertrand Duchaufour and my two personal
favourites Bois Farine, the
extraordinary smeared nut and patisserie dough scented wonder by Jean Claude
Ellena and the bravura Traverseé de
Bosphore, also by Bertrand. (Please
see previous blog on this entitled – ‘Sweet Fetish: Traverseé du Bosphore by
was inspired by the sights and scents of Cuba. Rum, rhythms, tobacco,
sweetness, spice and magical sensuality. A scent of history, tobacco rolled on
thighs, rum sweetened with cane sugar, skin sticky with night heat. The ghosts
of piracy shimmering across the island. Rum, sodomy and the lash. Woods and
potions, spells and rituals, all swaying to a sensual beat, echoing through
bars and cafes, days and nights, regimes and history. The forbidden mingling
with the tolerated underground beats of a near mythical Cuba.
conflict over the name forced the company into a name change to the safer and
truth be told, slightly less interesting Vanille
Absolument. But the original name and marketing campaign was around long
enough for the connections to be made and the visions and influences acknowledged.
sometimes feel these travelogue fragrances by L’Artisan Parfumeur are not given
the recognition they truly deserve. Arguably they are art. Depictions and impressions
of a place and time, locales, ambience, emotions; all distilled into a vibrant
and evocative collection of natural essences, aromachemical accords and stylish
rendering of the Wusulan beauty ritual of Malian women scenting their body and
hair with spices and incense is all there in Timbuktu, alive and beating, earthy and deeply real. Images of cold
temple stones surrounding sacred fire in the high pure mountains of Bhutan rise
and fall through Dzongkha. Fleur de Liane oozes with the fleshy sap
of tropical vines and moist heat of Panama. Jean Claude Ellena’s childhood memory
of his mother’s kitchen-scented hands are mirrored in the scent of a sacred
tree found only on the Ile de Réunion and cleverly reproduced in the unique and
compelling Bois Farine.
dedication to presenting a deeply personalised perfumed vision of the external
world is rare in fragrance and the fact that the results are so diversely
evocative proves that L’Artisan Parfumeur is a House with a unique and singular
vision. The only other comparison I can think of is Mathilde Laurent’s
beautiful and hypnotic work at Cartier on Les
Heures de Parfum collection of fragrances. The aesthetics are different;
the L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances have tremendous character and emotive
direction. The Cartier brief is incredibly glossy and abstracted, pulling
references from all over the place. But Laurent’s talent is such that she can
weave magic from such disparate elements and present a collection that is both
haunting and classically referential.
Vanille Absolument is not their first run at
vanilla; that honour goes to Vanilia,
a heady snarling gourmand with lethal yet perversely perfect doses of ethylmaltol
poured into it. It was glorious and trashy in a Studio 54 kind of way. It should
not of worked, but it did. No longer part of their catalogue but worth
searching out, it can be giddily glorious as the lights go down and the music
starts to take you.
a liberating unleashing of piracy in the brain, synapses sensually firing when Vanille Absolument hits the skin. A
fantasy blend of The Crimson Pirate and Jack Sparrow set against an edgy
dreamscape of marauding sexual boats, salt stained wood, hot skin and rum
soaked violence. In idle moments I fancy myself a pirate lover deep in the
creaking bowels of an aging galleon, lolling amid barrels of spices and
plunder, rum and liquor leaking into the skin of the aching ship. I imagine
kisses torn from me; skin rubbed and pushed, the air awash with clove, booze,
leather and tobacco, the cargo shifting and creaking around us as the ship rolls
with the rhythm of the waves. We carry
vanilla pods, bound for Europe, worth more than gold. My dirty lover splits the
pods, running a finger down the sheath and smearing the sticky black resin on
our skins, the air filled suddenly with a memory of pudding and distant winters.
Rum from a flask is dashed into open mouths, our laughter stifled with fabric
reeking of smoke, sweat and spices. Our eyes cloud over with sweet druggy abandon
as waves crash around us and the crew shout and sails crack above. This is my
dizzying vanillic romance, swirling in a golden brain.
dramatic and persuasive fragrance, aromas to burn alive too. Vanille Absolument is fucked skin,
dirty, sweet and smooth. Sugared, porny and utterly compulsive. Nothing I have
worn really comes close to the aching ‘touch me hard’ signals it throws out
from the skin. It forces a compromising of personal space, to reach through and
kiss, violate and ravish.