I’ll never forget the first time that I read Amanda Hesser’s amazing first book, “The Cook and the Gardener, a year of recipes and writing from the French countryside”. Aside from the incredible recipes there were several stories that captivated me, one in particular about a day that she’d spent with the gardeners wife picking linden blossoms off of boughs that he had trimmed and brought into the barn for harvest. I was enchanted by her descriptions of the blossoms and the fragrant cups of linden tea that she was drinking. I dreamt of sitting in that very barn sharing tea and eating fresh madeleines in the dappled sunlight while an old barn cat circled my ankles sniffing the fragrant yellow flowers.
It’s incredible how one story changed my fragrance life forever. I hadn’t known of linden trees, french lime perfume or the wonderfully relaxing tea that they produced until that very moment. She then went on to speak of waking up the next morning and making her way down the long driveway that was lined with the linden trees. Her description of the lovely long lane of lindens that had woken up almost overnight in full blossom was incredible. I was left with an image that I’ll never forget, of walking under a lane a abundantly blossoming trees that were swarming with bees and dripping with a honeyed fragrance that was almost beyond imaginable. To be there was my dream.
I became a woman obsessed. I sent my sister off to Paris with a shopping list and she brought me back several wonderful linden teas, books by French herbalists and essential oils in an effort to quench my thirst. That summer I learned of the relaxation that a cup of tilleul could bring. I still will drink it gently sweetened with a touch of honey on nights when I cannot sleep. I am sure that it brings me the sweetest dreams. I love to infuse the blossoms in a bit a wine with some agave as well. It is one of the best love potions that I know.
I spent several months trying as many different linden perfumes as I could find. L’Occitane made one that was wonderful and sadly not available anymore. Provence Sante’ makes a single note linden fragrance that’s beautiful but almost a bit to simple for my tastes. Jo Malones effervescent French Lime Blossom is a beautiful interpretation but smells a bit flat on my skin, the same with her Nectarine Blossom and Honey. Annick Goutals lovely Dans les Feins is gorgeous and tragically no longer available. I have never smelled the D’orsay Tilleul but am told that it’s exquisite.
Life goes on and new scents are constantly beckoning, but I’ve never forgotten that enticing story of the linden trees or the overwhelming hunger that it produced. Enter MAC’s limited edition fragrance Naked Honey! I’ve never paid any attention to MAC, mostly because I’m a NARS kind of girl but I was intrigued when I read several interesting reviews. I am very happy to say that Naked Honey is exquisite and quite surprising given its really reasonable price of 25.00 per bottle.
Naked Honey is a bewitching sort of fragrance that just relaxes me from the instant that I put it on. To me it smells a bit like the autumn days in the northeast, still very warm and but extremely ripe. I have no idea what’s in it, but I don’t care. This is the first fragrance ever to have immediately conjured up that first honey filled image of the linden trees that I read about so many years ago and I adore it and its oozy, dripping sweetness. Wearing Naked Honey also reminds me of pleasant afternoons spent at the Farmer’s Market in La Jolla where there is a delightful British woman who sells the most precious honey I’ve ever tasted. She first makes you smell and then taste and she cherishes her bees. Her bee pollen , ginger and cinnamon infused honey is incredible and I eat it by the spoonful , it is an elixir of the finest sort. Her honeycomb almost defies description and crackles in your fingers leaving them moist and tasting of sunlight. To me, her fresh honeycomb is the essence of what all honey comb should be. It is fragrant of flowers and beeswax with delicious little nibbly bits of pollen and a flavor that is a bards tale of magical days. Just like that incredible honeycomb, MAC’s Naked Honey is honey in a perfume just the way that I love it, undisguised , sexy and warm on the skin. It is simple in a way that is absolutely beguiling or as my husband put it when I asked him “not to be too technical darling but it was really very sensually inspiring”. When I wear it, I envision lying with him beneath those dripping linden trees, enjoying a picnic and a very languorous afternoon. There would be wine and fresh bread , with honey , cheese and figs, juicy fresh pears and yummy roasted chicken that we could eat with our fingers, but mostly there would be time, a lot of precious, sweet time............
If you love pure sweet honey in a fragrance this is definitely the one for you. Naked Honey is also one part of a two part release, the other being a fragrance called Africanimal. I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t love me in the same way but maybe you’ll feel differently about it. MAC’s Naked Honey is a limited edition so run to the nearest MAC counter and buy some. GO now, because I was lucky to find two bottles!
Medieval love poem : 1170- 1230 by Walther von der Vogelweide.
Photographs courtesy of MAC and Beth Schreibman Gehring.