Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Coriander, Petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer Lemon
Middle Notes: Honeysuckle, Rose Geranium, Elderflower, Petitgrain
Base Notes: Cistus, Labdanum, Vanilla, Vetiver, Cedar, Smoke, Clove
I went up to Edinburgh at the end of last year and had the pleasure of finally meeting up with crikey, whom I’ve known through the blogosphere for years now. In 2019 she set up the fabulous Instagram account @scentosaurs. Here, her model dinosaurs pose with perfume but paired with those joyous photos are heartfelt, literary snapshots sparked by the particular fragrance.
crikey loves indie perfumes and is much more adventurous than me. After sniffing a number of intriguing creations she kindly gave me a smaple of Frost released by American indie brand, St. Clair Scents in 2018. Perfumer Diane St. Clair produces artisanal, gourmet dairy products from her farm in Vermont and takes the same approach to perfumery, making small batches by hand influenced by the natural environment.
I had wrongly assumed that Frost was all about cold, icy weather. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually named after the poet Robert Frost whose summer writing cabin is located near the perfumer’s HQ. I was only going to include an extract from the particular poem that inspired Frost but I had to share it in its entirety:
Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air
That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of—was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?
I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.
I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.
Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.
When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,
The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.
The beginning of Frost is bright and zesty with the optimistic air of burgeoning love. Everything feels fresh, exhilarating and filled with a sense of boundless hope. Just below that are the sweet, tender florals of honeysuckle, elderflower and dewy roses. This is the stage where love has blossomed and all is well.
Beneath all that however, are circling wisps of smoke and spikes of spice; the foreshadowing of a heart that will eventually be charred and seasoned by the passing of a grand passion. This effect is softened greatly by a cloud of vanilla so the overall feeling is one of yearning rather than regret. The lovelorn is only focusing on the good times and longs to experience them all over again.
The fragrance ties in with the progression of the poem: we start out floating on air, enjoying the ‘sweet things’ and ‘sprays of honeysuckle’ as we travel closer and closer to the ‘bitter bark’ and ‘burning clove’, inevitably coming back down to earth. Still, the overall mood of the perfume is one of light, warmth and dreaminess.
The combination of the sparkling citrus top, delicate floral heart and vanillic resinous base works well. It’s far from a dupe, but imagine a featherlight, naturals-heavy version of Shalimar EDT and you’ll be close to the general vibe of Frost.
Being able to discern all the various facets from the start is like entering into a romantic liaison having already glimpsed how it will end, but being helpless – and unwilling – to do otherwise.
Have you tried anything by St. Clair Scents?