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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Girl With The Golden Pearl - Creating Perfect Perfume for March.

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago the very lovely and the very talented March of Perfume Posse decided to help me in finding my Holy Grail Fragrance. She created three versions of what she thought would be my perfect scent by mixing the already existing perfumes. The time has come for me to get back at her thank her. My gratitude comes in form of four fragrances (and a bonus) concocted by me using the same method as March, i.e. by shamelessly using the scents created from scratch by Real Perfumers.

March described her Perfect Fragrance wonderfully well. I quote:

What I am looking for is something I will call The Golden Pearl. Mitsouko is a pearl to me – it is luminous, it is haunting. But it is a baroque pearl – it is not something I wear easily, or often, as much as I love it. Guerlain’s Plus Que Jamais is a different pearl – ladylike on me, but not anywhere near enough of whatever it is I’m looking for. The two scents that probably come closest in terms of golden luminosity are Hermes’ 24, Faubourg and Jil Sander No. 4. But Faubourg, a supremely elegant scent, lacks the comfort and warmth I am looking for. Jil Sander I am completely in love with but, while it has the comfort and warmth, it is missing the depth and resonance of The Golden Pearl. (…)I guess I am looking for a rotund floriental with a stronger, more interesting base? Incense. Some skank, possibly. Perhaps leather. Perhaps (I quake writing this) even some amber, which in large doses nauseates me the way big blasts of vanilla make me queasy, but I see amber in a small dose as perhaps complementing the resinous quality of incense.

Since I personally cannot wear 24, Faubourg, it is hard for me to imagine it being (a basis of) anyone’s Holy Grail, nor do I own any, that is why I decided to take Jil Sander No. 4 as a point of departure for March’s Holy Grail adding to it some comfort, warmth, incense, leather and skank.

In fact, the first prototype, which I called The Golden Pearl March No 4, was Jil Sander No. 4 re-created by yours truly. How did I do that? Easy peasy. Here is the list of notes in No. 4: rose, geranium, peach, plum, galbanum, violets, jasmine, rose, tuberose, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, carnation, tarragon, myrrh, ambergris, moss, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli, musk. And here is the list of perfumes I used to re-build No.4 for March, hopefully amplifying the darker, warmer, skankier aspects of it: Chanel No 19, Meteorites, Crown Rose, Heliotrope, Songes, Carnation, Parfum des Merveilles, Yatagan, Musc Blanc, Patchouli Magique, Fleur des Comores, Ambre Dore (all these basically a drop each), plus a double dose of Mea Culpa (tuberose), Mirra & Mirra (myrrh), Egoiste (sandalwood) and a generous dose of Colombinade.

A word of explanation. Colombinade (the aforementioned bonus) is to these four …um, creations, what Guerlinade is to Guerlain’s masterpieces; it is the base of all The Golden Pearls. It consisted of: Lonestar Memories for leather (sorry, Andy!), Egoiste for sandalwood, Chanel de Cuir de Russie for more and a different kind of leather, Messe de Minuit for incense, Mirra and Mirra and Eau d’Iparie for myrrh, Patchouli Magique for a tiny bit of patchouli skank, and Ambre Dore for some amber.

The second prototype of The Golden Pearl, called The Golden Pearl Sacred Feminine, was my favorite “blend”. I was striving for the soft, mysterious femininity and mixed such perfumes as Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia, Caron Parfum Sacre, Rosine Coupe d’Or, Balenciaga Talisman, Caron Narcisse Noire and, you guessed it, a hefty dose of Colombinade.

The third “mod”, The Golden Pearl Rotund Floriental, was the one hopefully fulfilling March’s desire for, well, a “rotund floriental”. It was produced by recklessly mixing Yves Rocher Nuit d’Orchidee, Orchidee Blanche, Dior Poison (if it is not “rotund” then I don’t know what is), Opium Fleur de Shanghai, Guerlain Apaisant, MPG Fleur des Comores, and of course a quite a bit of Colombinade. Was it voluptuous? You betcha. Was it so heady it almost suffocated me in its rotund fumes? Yeah…I considered sending it in a leaden container.

And last but not least, The Golden Pearl Temple of March was a soulful, spiritual one of the four samples. Its incense note was more emphasized then in the rest of The Pearls. It was made of CdG Kyoto, Donna Karan Labdanum, lots of Messe de Minuit and an inevitable splash of Colombinade.

Have I “created” something at least remotely evocative of March’s vision of the perfect scent? Have I completely discredited, disgraced and embarrassed myself? Is March still alive after testing the samples (especially The Rotund one)? Is she still my friend? Find out for yourself by reading her impressions on Perfume Posse. Me, I will find courage and comfort in words of Camus:

…The failure is complete. I turn my head and go away. I took my share in this fight for the impossible.


Blogger tmp00 said...

I think you should have snuck some Miel de Bois in there, just because...

12:13 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

WOW !!!

You're leaving me breathless, befuddled, and in serious awe.

What I wouldn't give to crawl around your brain !

I love reading about your olfactory exploits...

6:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I couldn't do that to March! :-) Well, actually I didn't have any Miel...:-)

7:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If you could crawl there and run a hoover and clean out all the nonsense I carry around ...that would have been great :-)
(makes me think of a scent in Hannibal where Hopkins is eating Liotta's brain for some reason :-)

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What, really? You got it then. :-) Can I interest you in some Rotund Floriental too? No? Wise decision.

7:29 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Ha!!! I am howling. Okay, I have to go drink some coffee and wake up more before commenting.

7:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'll be right here, waiting. :-)

7:38 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Oh, no! Columbinade sounds brilliant, but I don't have Mirra & Mirra or Eau d'Iparie and so far I only have two samples of Lonestar Memories. I will have to find substitutions for the myrrh and try to stretch out LM as far as possible. You need to list amounts! Fortunately, I have all the other ingredients for Temple of March and Sacred Feminine, both of which sound divine. It's just disgraceful that my boss expects me to work today instead of letting me go happily play w/ working on these recreations.

7:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Funy how no one is intersted in Rotund Oriental :-) Is it Poison that's scaring people off? :-)
I cannot list amounts because ...well it was just, a splash of this and a splash of that and double splash of the other, you know? I think any myrrh would do, really. Do you have SL La Myrrhe?

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Okay, you've seen my reactions, I assume.

Mod 1 -- Gad, it was All Rose on me. I am guessing the combo of Crown Rose and Mea Culpa did me in? It smelled like that Creed rose that's so fab for everyone but me.

Mod 2 -- Fleurs and feet. My favorite along with Mod 4. I am laughing b/c in your search for "mysterious femininity" you put TWO Carons -- no wonder I smell feet!

Mod 3 -- okay, that's just insane. Yes, it was floral, but reading your notes makes my teeth hurt. I'm thinking putting all those heady florals in one small space caused them to kill each other off like Siamese fighting fish, which is why the frag just sat there like a lump on me and refused to play. FWIW Mods 1 and 4 were "sweeter" on me!

Mod 4 -- Scratching my head. I loved this one but got a strong hit of Diorella. I'm guessing the combo of my much-loved (hey, SOMEONE'S got to love it!;P) MdeM and the labdanum melded into that weird green note.

Okay, I emailed you about buying a decant of the Colombinade. No, I am not funnin' you. I don't own all that stuff, and I've eaten my sample. March the Maleficent Decrees: I Must Have More Colombinade!

7:56 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Yes, I was going to use SL La Myrrhe. :-)
Hmmm...the Rotund Oriental...let's just say I suspect you could sell it in the back of magazines as an elixir to increase bust size. :-) I really think it might do that - and then I'd have to repurchase all my bras, tight blouses, etc. Too expensive. Otherwise, I'd *love* to try it. Glances in mirror to see if nose has grown substantially. :-)

8:00 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Definitely need that Colombinade!! And yes, it's the Poison. . . as well as several other things.:)

8:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd make some more for you as soon as (and who knows how soon that might be) I get my hands on more Chanel Cuir de Russie (preferably parfum, that's what I used) and Patchouli Magique or some other prominent patch. But I will the remains of Colombinade that I have left. I am shocked and happy that you liked it so!!

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Elle a.k.a Pinocchio,
I am not a fan of La Mayrrhe, it is powdery-almondy-medicianl on me, ugh, but I don't think it would matter much when it's mixed with other stuff. Oh gosh, I am talking about it so seriously, when in fact it was all thrown together rather at random :-D

8:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd think you can easily make Colombinade yourself. Even if you don't have that exact patch, amber and myrrh, you can replace them with others. I am sure you have the rest. Well, maybe not Egoiste (?), but that could be replaced with his grandma, Bois des Iles :-)

8:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marinka, put me down for a batch of Colombinade, please. Yep, I'm serious.

9:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

Wow! This was great fun. You could make a living concocting Holy Grails, you know. What would that make you then, a Holy Nose? :-) Love that you included Egoiste in the Colombinade.
The blind sampling I shamelessly promised eons ago will sadly have to wait until I've gone through zillions of books for my exams. However, since I know how much you liked the description of the peppery-saffrony cedar thingy, I'm going to wing it your way today. I just hope you haven't guessed what it is by now, but knowing you, you must have ;-)

9:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wish I could...but I am out of the ingredient...wait till I get some Cuir de Russie and a patch fragrance. Or you can make it yourself. Just put a drop of everything together and shake, don't stir :-D

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I have not guessed at all and am very excited to try it!!
Best of luck with your exams! Gosh I hate exams.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Marina -- sorry, I can't seem to let this one go. I can buy large samples of CdR from Patty (I assume she has the EDP) -- what's another patchouli, I don't see Magique on eBay? -- but somebody must have something, which one? I'll buy 5 or 10 mls of each and send them to you... pretty please?

that SL Myrrhe was wretched on me, but blended I'm sure it's great.

10:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hee hee hee Are you serious? Do you seriously like it so much??
I used that Russian scent of wich I literally had a couple of drops left, Patchouli Magique, but I am sure any more or less straightforward patch would do. L'Artisan's perhaps?

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Taking notes here. Will carefully use an equal drop of everything and then will be very sure to shake, not stir. One more question - is that a picture of Siouxsie next to the Sacred Feminine?

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is a pinup image, by Rolf Armstrong.

11:18 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Thanks! Really looks like her, but obviously not since he was long before her time.

11:27 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Our choices, neither of which I've smelled: Patchouli Patch or Montale Patchouli leaves? Patch has patch, star anise, cedar. Montale is patchouli, amber, vanilla, musk

whaddya think? I'm leaning toward the Montale -- that anise notes scares me.

11:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am leaning towards L'Artisan myself as it is a little softer I think than Montale, about small samples of both? We really need very, very little of patch.

11:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I googled her, it really does look like her!

11:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - I am SO impressed! My mind holds notes, but doesn't seem to work this way, at all.

Sounds like you better trademark the Colombinade soon - if it does "come to market" count me in. :) Very fascinating!

1:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I couldn't possibly appropriate what essencially are scents created by other people, real perfumers, as mine. It was I guess sheer dumb luck that my layering of them seems to have been successful. :-D

2:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, luck and a really good nose for the combination! Truly, I was joking about taking the concoction to market - but it does sound like wonderful stuff. :)
You all make the perfume hobby/hunt fun! Thank you for sharing the experiment!

10:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you for your kind words!

10:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm coming very late to this discussion, but I would very much like to obtain some Colombinade. I'm a huge Jil Sander No. 4 fan but, like you, have found it lacking in the mysterious-depth department. Is there any chance of a purchase? Thanks so much.

1:19 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sorry, this has never been meant as a commercial scent. It was a one-off "creation", we were just having fun. :-)

1:21 PM EST  

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