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Monday, July 17, 2006

The Achieving of the Sangreal

No, I have not gone completely bonkers after watching too many History Channel documentaries dedicated to The Da Vinci Code. The Sangreal, or Holy Grail, I am referring too is My Perfect Fragrance. I am incredibly lucky to have a very talented perfumer, Clement Gavarry, working on my Holy Grail as a part of Made by Blog project. Not only that, but my wonderful fellow perfume addict/blogger, March, kindly decided to aid me in the quest for my Holy Grail. She actually created three alternative versions of what she thinks might be my ultimate scent by blending already existing fragrances. I think March should seriously consider doing this for a living, since all three of them smell great!

Holy Grail A. Dry, dry, dry and dry. Woody, earthy, very elegant. March wanted me to guess, which fragrances went into the mix of each sample, and I believe that the main “ingredient” here was Vetiver 46 by Le Labo. Holy Grail A has the same austerity, the same uncompromising dryness about it. Both have a wonderful spicy undertone…There is something else here, however, something that adds warmth to the blend. Hermes Rocabar? Something else? I liked it a lot. It is full bottle worthy for me.

Holy Grail B. This one made me smile, because I knew from the first sniff just exactly what scent served as a base for Holy Grail B. This boozy, leathery, slightly incensy amber is …Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire, which March “lovingly” calls Rasputin’s armpit and I call The Best Amber There Is. It is of course entirely possible that March accidentally (?) created her very own Ambre Russe smell-alike. It is slightly lighter, fresher than the original, not nearly as robust, and also I smell a floral undertone here. Make it richer, get rid of the flowers and the freshness, and it has a great potential of becoming my Holy Grail.

Holy Grail C. I liked this one the most. In fact, I loved it. This is certainly Holy Grail material, and if it were sold somewhere, I would have bought it whatever the cost. This is rich, dark leather with a surprising sweet, fruity undertone. It makes me think of the spicy-herbal sweetness of Andy Tauer's Lonestar Memories and of candied citrus accord in Piver’s Cuir de Russie as well as of the balsamic feel of Parfumerie Generale’s Iris Taizo. I hereby announce March to be a perfume genius. March, you could seriously start selling this stuff, it is THAT good. If you decide to market this, I humbly propose that this dirty-fruity-kinky scent is to be called Colombina The Terrible.

Please make sure that you visit Perfume Posse for March’s Big Reveal. She promised to disclose all ingredients that were used to create my three Holy Grails.

*The image, The Achieving of The Sangreal is by Aubrey Beardsley.


Blogger andy said...

hmmm... we are witnessing a new approach to perfumery. I was expecting agony and now, I am stunned.

5:09 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Well, that is just hilarious! As usual, I am impressed by your perception. My random thoughts:

Sample A -- I sent Patty a set of these as well, and I believe she picked out the other half (the 24, Faubourg) and thought "A" was sooooo swoony, so be sure to tease her, b/c remember how much she hated the Vetiver 46 on our blind swap? I thought this one smelled great, but it never DID blend right -- 24 followed by Le Labo. Man, that Vetiver is something special, isn't it?

Sample B -- Good nose with the Ambre Russe! This was my favorite, which I also knew meant it would be your least favorite, it wasn't near dirty enough. I fiddled with that one for a long time, trying to make it dirtier or ... something. But nothing worked. In hindsight, I think Andy's Lonestar would have dirtied it up for you in an interesting way, but I was just so enchanted I stopped. Plus I was saving Lonestar for...

Sample C -- I did guess this would be your favorite! You smelled the Lonestar in there, too ... so no soap on you? Oh, that 15 minutes was awful for me -- I think it was something about the Fifi and Chergui. I'd forgotten how dirty Fifi is in that easy-virtue way... it was wonderful with Bandit/Lonestar. I'd say it was roughly 25% each Bandit, Lonestar, Fifi and Chergui, and then I just hit it a couple times with the Passage.

That was tons of fun. Thanks for playing with me. I look forward to your real HG.

6:23 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Wahhh!! I want these! Wait a second, I can make these (except there's still something hidden in #2)! I have the ingredients. Rather than mixing, how about just layering? What concentration Bandit did you use, March? I have to say that I am especially intrigued by A, though, since my only problem with Le Labo Vetiver is that is somehow reminds me of my father (I loved my father, but I'm not sure I want to smell like him!) I guess a layer of 24 should take care of that!

7:35 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I managed to rustle up all the necessary ingredients for #1 and #3 and have #1 on left wrist, #3 on right. Purring in contentment. Wasn't sure of exact amounts (went very easy on the Fifi), but so far, so genius. Later on I shall try out #2. Blessedly, my boss is not in today. :-) If Clement does half this well, you are going to be the most divinely skanked up woman on the planet.

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Trying #1--Well, March said on her blog that she also used Demeter Russian Leather, and I don't have that, so I'll do without. (I could use some KJ, but that's probably too strong:). Really, this is very nice (the Vetiver still dominates, but the 24F did make it smell less like my father:).
Verrrrry nice. I will try the others later:)

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

There are dvantages to thsi's fast, it's MUCH cheaper then working with Real sandalwood ...and it does not involve any knowledge of chemistry. :-)

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I would have never ever in a 1001 years guessed 24, Faubourg. I guess the wonderful Vetiver 46 subdued all of the Faubourgs heady floralness and Faubourg added that warm aspect to Vetiver 46...but notice how I DID guess a Hermes scent, although a completely wrong one.
There was no soap in No 3 at all...just "fruity" leather goodness...I don't own Chergui...not a fan of it at all...but might have to get some just to make this masterpiece. (The same applies to 24, Faubourg)

March, you rock!

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wonder what Kolnisch Juchten would do to a blend like will probably take to extatic levels of leather skankiness...*swoons*

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Your boss is lucky he is not there :-) The skank, the skank! :-D

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

The skank is about to get worse. Inspired by Judith, I'm about to try #1 on my ankle w/ KJ instead of Demeter Russian Leather. Happy sigh. :-)

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am all aflutter! HOW does it smell with KJ? Divine?

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Let's just say I'm grateful for years of yoga at this moment. My ankle w/ the KJ subbing for the DRL is wafting up pure skank heaven. Intense. Should come w/ a warning label for the! :-)

9:42 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yeah, it's pretty good. But I still don't think I have the proportions right. The first time I tried, the KJ ate everything else. Now (2nd time) I have the KJ and the Vet, but not much identifiable 24F (even though I used several healthy spritzes of the EdP first). Well, maybe I can get a little. . . But whatever it is, it smells good and skanky:)

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I want!!

9:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

of course, KJ ate everything up! I did not doubt for a second that it would. :-) I wonder what is the proportion you have now that allows for Vetiver to come through too?

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Not quite sure (although I'm quite sure Andy is dying here:). I would say several 24F, a couple Vet, 1 (I am sure of this:) KJ. Good thing I'm alone:) It's still dominated by KJ, but the others are in there somehow. . .

10:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This post and the comments are bound to give any real perfumer a little should come with a warning, Rated A for Amateurs.

10:18 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You guys are totally cracking me up! How can you smell your ANKLE?!?! The closest I can get is my knee... I am picturing it with the KJ and thinking that would smell great. BTW -- for Sample A I used approximately: 50% Hermes, 40% Vetiver, 10% Demeter. If you're using the KJ, you're REALLY going to have to ramp up the Hermes! Yes, Marina, your discerning nose did identify the house!

On Sample B, it was a straight 50/50 between Ambre Russe and Sel de Vetiver.

10:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It might have been 50/50, but, on my skin, Ambre Russe dominated Sel...but of course!

10:35 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, I'm psyched! I used very similar proportions to March's original for #1. When I subbed KJ after reading Judith's inspired post, I used less of it than I had of the DRL. I'm not sure it makes a difference, but I used the 24, Faubourg parfum, not the edp and I actually measured everything out using an empty water paint palette so that I could play around before putting them on my skin.

11:24 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

LOL -- can Clement Gavarry possibly match March's success? Great posts, M & M.

11:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh my god, oh I can't help measured everything out using an empty water paint palette...we are all nuts. And I love that so much :-)

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No one can match the sheer madness of March's genius. :-)

11:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Ahe.... I *knew* 24, Faubourg was in A, and I couldn't smell the Vetiver at all, which is so odd, I think it registers as a nonsmell once it gets blended in. Missing nose receptor? LIkely.

You guys are so odd, which is why I'm glad i know you all. :)

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Checked back in. Laughing so hard reading this. I am loving the paint-palette approach, Elle!! And I bet the parfum would be great.

Andy Tauer is never going to speak to any of us again. Honest, Andy, we are only a little insane! Clement, it's okay! You can come out, we don't bite -- we just smell really, really odd...

2:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are nuts! ;D

3:31 PM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Wow! Fascinating! I must recreate some of these right now.

4:17 PM EDT  
Blogger The Scented Salamander said...

You guys seem to be having the greatest of time! The atmosphere of excitement is so palpable.

That reminds me of an article offering J-C Ellena's favorite combo layerings. You see, even professional perfumers encourage layering:)

4:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is so weird. Sample A screamed Vetiver 46 at me. I knew there was something else there but I would have never ever recognized it as 24, F. Never ever. :-)

4:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This is is the most fund I had, since...well, since our blind swap I guess :-)

4:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, we are quite insane...but mostly harmless :-)

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Would love to hear what you thought? Did you layer them? Which one did you like? :-)

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah, I feel better now...if Ellena The Great says it's OK to layer then it is OK to layer. :-) March and I were a little afraid Real Perfumers, like Andy, would totally despise us :-)

4:45 PM EDT  
Blogger rockinruby said...

I'm about ready to cry! #3 sounds DIVINE, but I don't have any Fifi to make the mix. Maybe I'll buy a sample just to try this mix!! March - can you tell us the approximate proportions for #3?? I must try to recreate it!

9:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think March said it was roughly 25% each Bandit, Lonestar, Fifi and Chergui. I have a feeling that you could substitute Fifi with something like Obsession Sheer or Cartier Must. Not that they are identical, but they are kind of similar.

10:14 PM EDT  
Blogger rockinruby said...

Thanks! I think I'll try it with a bit of MUST, then, since you've authorized the substitution. :-)

By the way - your package is in transit...

Off to try Grail Formula #3 (which I believe should be the official name of the product)

11:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yours was mailed yesterday too! I hope you enjoy.
So how was Grail # 3 with Must? :-)

9:03 AM EDT  

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