Sloth by S-Perfume and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I started this blog with a series of reviews of fragrances that reminded me of some of my favorite books (Bonjour Tristesse, Master and Margarita, Roksolana, Heaven Has No Favorites, and The Forsyte Saga). I tried to imagine what each book would be like as a perfume; what existing perfume would fit the “feel” of each book. There was one book that has been left out, simply because I could not think of a scent to represent it. That book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It tells the story of four people and their interconnecting relationships, with particular focus on Tomas, torn between his love for Tereza and his inability to stay faithful to her. The world that Kundera describes in his book is the one where life disappears once and for all; it “is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty meant nothing.” That world “rests essentially on the nonexistence of return”, on “the absolute absence of burden”.
As soon as I smelled Sloth, I knew I have found the scent for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Sloth is a part of /7S/, an olfactory installation of the Seven Deadly Sins by Mother S (Sacré Nobi, founder of S-Perfume). The installation was created in collaboration with seven perfumers, Alberto Morillas (Luxuria or Lust), Annick Menardo (Ira or Anger), Annie Buzantian (Invidia or Envy), Harry Fremont (Avaritia or Avarice), Ilias Ermenidis (Gula or Gluttony), Jacques Cavallier (Superbia or Pride), and Thierry Wasser (Acedia or Sloth). Thierry Wasser is also the nose behind such scents as Calvin Klein Truth, Christian Dior Addict and Addict Eau Fraiche, Gres Caline, and Lancôme Hypnôse.
I find it fascinating that the deadly sin of Sloth was originally called Sadness and only later renamed Acedia or Sloth. There are many ways to interpret this sin; in my opinion, Thierry Wasser has chosen to focus on the melancholy aspect of Sloth, the sin of not living up to one’s potential. Sloth the fragrance starts with a lively burst of orange blossom, bright and sunny; little by little the fragrance becomes subtler, softer, quieter, more delicate, and acquires a sad, wistful quality. There is an interesting accord somewhere in the middle stage, raw and earthy and strangely cozy, it makes me think –rather bizarrely, I admit- about boiled courgettes. The scent continues to develop and the strangely appealing raw note is eventually replaced by a soft, fragile jasmine accord. Finally, having come full circle, it dries down to a delicate scent of orange blossom, only, in contrast to the dazzling smell of the top notes, this is but a hint of the blossoms, a vague memory of the hopeful, forceful beginning.
Sloth is a fragrance of “splendid lightness”. Its poignancy, fragility, transparency, its beautiful melancholic quality make Sloth the perfect olfactory equivalent of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book that tells the story of the lives without weight and substance. Says Kundera: “the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.”
Sloth is most certainly full bottle worthy for me, and I would recommend it to all fans of orange blossom in perfume. It is guaranteed to be eminently wearable and enjoyable in spring and summer. It is available on S-Perfume, $27.00 for 0,5oz.
*The photo of Sloth installation is from Compressedart.s-perfume.com.