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Friday, February 18, 2011

Sweet Milk for the Soul. Perfume Review

Gale warning hail warning
Sky sifts high drifts
Finding bright blinding white
Snowball snowfall
Moonscape snowscape
Frostbite dost bite
Rococo swirls hot cocoa curls
Icy glove spicy love
Huddle in cuddle in
Rock salt clocks halt.
Blizzard by Barbara Reiher-Meyers

This winter has been formidable. Blizzard after nor'easter after snowpocalypse put me in dire need of comfort. Nesting with the family in a snowed in house is the best kind, especially when one has a warm, cuddly little person to snuggle with...(Although that little one is partly what made this winter so challenging. A blizzard has nothing on a helpless baby in terms of causing havoc.)... A good book comes as a fairly close second on the scale of comfort (Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale suits my mood perfectly). As far as comfort perfumes go, goodness knows I have many. From armor-like green ones to serenity-now incense ones to good old-fashioned vanillas. But I wanted something else, something softer than soft, not too sweet but still delicious, something milky...I've done a post on milk in perfume before, and not much has changed since then in terms of the number of properly-milky fragrances to choose from. It's same old, same old and a little too sweet Matin Calin, Lann-Ael with just a tad too much apple and...well, that's it really. This year, Jo Malone added one more to this short list.

Sweet Milk, the charming little number from the Tea Collection came just in time to satisfy my craving, and let me tell you, it hit the spot. As Goldilocks would say, it was Just Right. Very delicate, silky-smooth, soft as a feather, moderately sweet...I was apprehensive about anise, a note I am not comfortable with ordinarily, but it works well here. The piquancy of it blends right into the lactonic fluffiness, making the scent not as monotone as it could have been without it. Food-wise, I would liken Sweet Milk to a very, very thin rice pudding, spiced by a tiny pinch of anise. Mmmm....

Do not expect from this very straightforward blend it a new word in perfumery. It is a simple pleasure, and those are such exactly because they seem familiar. It is also not a powerhouse of a fragrance, but in this case I appreciate and prefer subtlety. A strong perfume of this nature, a seemingly one-note, gourmand kind, becomes bothersome after a while, too cloying, too samey. The sheer quality of Sweet Milk therefore was one of its pluses for me. Overall I think that to do a gourmand with a light hand is quite an achievement and, compared to, for example, Guerlain's Elixirs Charnel by the same perfumer, showcases the versatility of the talent of Christine Nagel, the author of Sweet Milk.

So what comforted you this winter? Any particularly cuddly fragrances that you discovered? Read any good books lately? Do tell!

Available along with other four scents in this limited edition collection, wherever Jo Malone is sold, $55 for 30ml...and for once I wish it came in a 200ml bottle.

Image, my own.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet N. loves that one too! ;)
My favorite cuddly scent these days is Iris Ganache.
Beautiful photo!

4:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've thoroughly enjoyed Diptyque's Eau Lente this cold (for us, unusually snowy as well) Georgia winter. It has a warmth that's comforting yet prevented from becoming too sweet by the herbal note.

Good books: where to start? Rebecca West's "Black Lamb, Grey Falcon" has kept me busy for 5 winters so far! Jeanette Winterson's "Art Objects" (object is a verb here) was great, as was a much-needed reread of Larry Kramer's "Faggots." Still get a kick out of Dickens, and "Little Dorrit" was entertaining and edifying (reread). I like to laugh in winter, so John Waters' "Role Models" was terrific (again). I haven't worked my way through Somerset Maugham, but give me time. And "Sex at Dawn," Geoffrey Miller's "Spent," and a review of the first chapter of West's "The New Meaning of Treason" all served to keep my feet on the ground. I'm so glad someone is reading! Also went through all the NZZ Folio of Luca Turin, and photocopied Michael Edwards' "Perfumes of the World" for reference. And poetry! But you didn't ask!

6:41 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The Iris Queen! :)
I need to re-try Iris Ganache, it's been a long time!

7:12 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I wrote down the books from your list, which I didn't know. I love several of Winterson's books, especially Gut Symmetries.

7:14 AM EST  
Blogger Isa said...

It's not a gourmand, but this winter I have been comforted by Kenzo Amour Le Parfum :)

The last good book I have read has been "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls.

7:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

And please do tell about poetry!

7:27 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I too think it is very comforting!

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger Katy Josephine said...

Marina, Sweet Milk sounds lovely - thanks for the review. White Aoud has been my comfort scent of this winter, although Rykiel Woman and even Heavenly have popped up as surprising comforters, too.

8:32 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

White Oud is one of my most favorite comfort scents. I need to try Heavenly!

8:40 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's back onto e. e. cummings for awhile, but lately I've opened myself to the truly wonderful Liz Waldner. Some would argue she needs an editor (same was said of cummings). Nonsense! Recommended: Dark (Would) and Etym(bi)ology. She's terrific. Plus, the Shakespeare sonnets still call to me from the distant reaches of time, and speak clearly. Number 73 is a tear-jerker for sad, over 40 me!

9:42 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Great! I learned a new name, thank you! Off to amazon.

9:46 AM EST  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Somehow it did not sound at all appealing, but your review is tempting.

10:30 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

to me neither because of anise. I am an anisophobe, totally. But it did not bother me here at all.

10:31 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Funny, it seems to be a purely US release (no mention about it on the J.M. website, and I didn't see it either, when visiting her London boutique last week)

12:31 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it is not actually out yet, although I saw it on Nordstrom website

12:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm, I'll be back in LDN in two weeks again. Maybe then ?...
(I have a Dzing! revival right now - could bath in it... I'm sure there is a deeply psychological explanation for that)

1:43 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am intrigued! :)

1:50 PM EST  
Blogger Tammy said...

Congratulations on your new angel!

2:39 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Tammy! :)

2:40 PM EST  
Blogger Michael said...

I find By Kilian's Back to Black a bit of a comfort fragrance, and Costamor's Tabaca did a similar thing for me.

This winter I've really got into Philip Roth and enjoyed reading American Pastoral and The Human Stain. Neither were feel-good novels though. American Pastoral in particular generated tortuous feelings in me for a father's pain from the 'loss' of his daughter, who while still alive, has essentially disappeared after bombing a post office in a small New Jersey town.

4:05 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Tabacca is delicious.
I haven't read American Pastoral, will look into it!

4:56 PM EST  
Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

This winter DSH Mahjoun was my ultimate cuddly.

8:05 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a lovely review. Sweet Milk sounds just up my alley, but too late. Our winter is over, and a comfort scent that's sweet and milky is no longer needed. This winter I cuddled with Frederick Malle's Noir Epice and Byredo's Bal D'Afrique.

As to books, I spent most of winter finishing the writing of mine (now in design--yay). Ken Follett, who wrote Pillars of the Earth, wrote World Without End--1,056 pages of 14th century intrigue, war, love, hate and religion. I'm slightly more than halfway through and love it.

1:21 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

My warm and cuddly has been Areej's Syoufi Oud, a furry blanket that never failed to warm me no matter how many inches of snow was piling up on my terrace. Friedman's The Next 100 Years makes some very surprising and interesting predictions based on geopolitics.

8:19 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

a.k.a. Warum
Mahjoun sounds great

8:27 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I thought our winter was over too, but today there is wind advisory, and snow is promised on Mon. :)

8:28 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That is quite ambitious to predict whole 100 years, no? Maybe a decade...But sounds very interesting nevertheless!

8:29 AM EST  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Oh, what a beautiful photo! Love the little newborn fingers! Thank you for reviewing Sweet Milk, dear M. The Tea Collection has caught my eye and I think Sweet Milk would blend quite nicely with JM's Vanilla Anise body cream!

3:14 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think those two would definitely layer very well

3:15 PM EST  
Blogger Undina said...

I tried and liked Sweet Milk but not enough (well, at least yet) to warrant a FB - even though I really appreciate JM's choice of bottles sizes. For me it smells like a sweetened condensed milk and for a while I thought it was an official note description. Now I'm waiting for samples to appear either at on of the perfume counters (now they claim they do not have any - even when I was buying something and asked, so probably they don't have it indeed) or at eBay to get myself couple of purfect companions to my Assam & Grapefruit recent purchase.

Can't chime in with the weather condemnation - it was a good North California Winter this year, but Ubar was comforting me during those readings of all sorts of Winter disasters everywhere in the country.

5:50 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I need to try layering it with Assam too!

6:00 PM EST  
Anonymous jen said...

I'm reading "Glass Castle" and loving it--its funny and horrifying at the same time. Fave winter scent is Jolie Madame cause it lasts and lasts with only the edt. Plus it is surprising cause Im blond, fair and wear beige clothing!

2:53 PM EST  

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