Sunday, April 19, 2015

inside the circle of her body heat lingered a skanky fragrance

Fifi indulges all the senses, and is foolishly enraptured by perfume.  Never pink or purple smelling perfumes-- only green and brown perfumes. 

When I was an undergraduate, a friend gave me a bottle of Secret of Venus by Weil. It was an astonishingly intimate gift-- the initial smell out of the bottle and on the skin resembles insecticide.  The kind of smell that makes you recoil in shock with a grimace of distaste.  When warmed on the skin, the perfume has an intense carnal personality, like a lubricious courtesean who could walk into a man's bed directly from the bed of another man, and make a date with a 19 year old boy for later in the night.

Not that I ever did that.

MIMI FROU FROU review of Secret of Venus:
It is a perfume with a rich past. It is also a perfume that borders on the overtly sexual but this naturalness while very much present is contained as if kept in check in the folds of a very civilized, ample and urbane fur coat.
This idea is conveyed by a raw civet note with naturalistic fishy undertones. It is also a perfume that has a dreamy quality about it; is calm and contemplative.
This latter mood is suggested by the orris, the sandalwood and the incense. The perfume is officially classified as a woody aldehydic floral and it has the feel of an oriental.
The perfume starts with a fresh and slightly syrupy-sweet herbaceous accord a little reminiscent of green Chartreuse liqueur. The tarragon is quite prominent to my nose.

Although as I already said Russian leather is not mentioned, it smells of Russian leathers and of what I think might be betula alba extract, the typical scent that was used in Russia in the old regime to perfume leather-bound books as well as boots and which is used in Russian leather scents. If it is not that, it is something closely associated with the Russian leather accord.
 The fragrance lets the finesse of the orris prevail as if a veil of pale mauve mousseline was caressing the scent. The aldehydes come into play rather forcefully to provide amplitude to the perfume. They are on the sharp side but well-rounded.
These recede after a while letting the feminine floral heart composed of "Orient rose", jasmine, lily of the valley, ylang-ylang, orris, and gardenia develop evoking the image of a bouquet of flowers wrapped with orris mousseline. The woods play they lower-pitched notes underneath this layer of the composition. The orris is cool, revealing metallic nuances yet is warmed up by the wooden embers in the base notes.
Zibeline then becomes more powdery and the softness of that accord is balanced out by the more vivid impression offered by the aldehydes as well as the stimulating piquancy of sandalwood.
The civet becomes more distincly perceptible realistically evoking feminine sexuality with the help of musk and sexual ylang-ylang.
The fishy undertones intensify, making one think of oysters and of a pungent vaginal smell. Then a very unexpected accord evolves evoking powdered milk, later a little butterscotch, and still later, plain good old butter. The dry down is animalic, woody, sweet due to the honey, and powdery.
The older versions of parfum were indeed buttery and very skanky, deliciously civet-laden with the fruit and floral elements more of an afterthought and around the 1950s the batches gained an incredible spicy touch to exalt that quality.  Later versions of Zibeline from the 70s and 80s attained a more powdery orange blossom honeyness, backed up by fruit coupled with the kiss of tonka bean and sandalwood, only hinting at the muskiness that was so prevalent in previous incarnations
Venus in Furs

   "Parfums Weil is the most characteristic example of "parfums fourrure" (fur perfumes), being the perfumery offshoot of Parisien furrier, Les Fourrures Weil (Weil Furs)...  the venture  into perfume resulted from the direct request of a client for a fragrance suitable to fur wearing.
 Weil obligingly capitulated to the request and produced scents that would guarantee not to harm the fur itself, yet mask the unwelcome musty tonality that fur coats can accumulate after a while."
As an advertisement read in the 1930s, Zibeline was meant to be "Strictly an odor for furs." (In the 1970s, Zibeline and Secret de Vénus would be advertised together as one entity called "Secret de Vénus-Zibeline Perfume Oil". )
 Zibeline (sable) was created for Parfums Weil by Claude Fraysee with, it is said, the assistance of his perfumer daughter, Jacqueline. (Fraysee's sons were also perfumers. Son Andre became known for his work with Lanvin. Son Hubert for Synarome.)
An Eau De Toilette version of Zibeline was released in 1930. After the Weil family was forced out of France by Hitler, they reestablished themselves in New York. Zibeline was one of the first perfumes released from their new location.

Zibeline was meant to evoke the immense oak woods and steppes of Russia [from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia] – home to the noble sable [of the marten family].

The intention of perfuming furs was to camouflage the naturally musky odor of the skins- not unlike the custom of perfuming saddles and glove leather in order to mask the urinaceous tanning process

"A New York Times article from 1910 mentions that “there are girls who like to have their furs scented, because most pelts are apt to have a disagreeable odors, particularly in warm weather. To pour perfume on them is vandalism, for they are injured upon contact with alcohol. So sachets should be slipped between the linings, and the furs when storing, should be rolled in wool saturated with the perfume.” "
From a August 26,1945 article in the Milwaukee Sentinel by Dorothy Parnell:   "PERFUME POCKETS IN NEW FALL COATS!  The perfume pocket is the latest fashion and beauty trick in New York.  Each coat in Esther Dorothy's new winter collection has in its lining a miniature pocket, only about an inch in width and depth, placed high at the left side just under the shoulder pad. Out of it peeps the corner of what looks like a doll's chiffon handkerchief, but is in reality a tiny square of maline tied around a piece of cotton holding a drop or two of perfume. 
A 1934 article in the Kentucky New Era newspaper stated that a famous perfumer suggests that rather sweet odors such as gardenia should be applied to fox furs, spicy perfumes on shirt haired varieties, and subtle elusive scents on luxury furs such as mink, ermine and sable. He also says to use an atomizer to apply the scent, as it will remain on the individual hairs much longer when it is sprayed.

*** Chandler Burr on real musk, not the isolated musk molecule that is synthetic musk: 

"But Tonquin musk is animalic in its most elevated form. It is a perfumery raw material that was extracted from a gland under the lower stomach and before the hind legs of the male of the species Moschus moschiferus L, the Tibetan musk deer.

Not muscone, the molecule found at 2 percent inside this stinking cream; Tonquin musk is the real, natural, glandular product. It is one of the most astounding smells you will ever experience.

It is, to put it most precisely, the rich, thick scent of the anus of a clean man combined with the smells of his warm skin, his armpits sometime around midday, the head of his ripely scented uncircumcised penis (a trace of ammonia), and the sweetish, nutty, acrid visceral smell of his breath. There's simply no other way to describe it."

1 comment:

  1. I was compelled to seek out a dictionary to better understand the preset definition of lubricious although the Latin root is evident. To my pleasure, I discovered that this word can be applied to a well maintained steam engine, a Caesar salad, as well as to a desirable woman, painted with heat resistant enamel or in a natural state of health.
    This fragrance in its dissipation makes me think of a 7 course meal of olfactory degustation, from soup to nuts and from head to toes.