Hey Crew. Scent Semantics?
We get a word, we get a date, we have to choose a single fragrance that fits the word and then have to explain how it fits together, in our way. As much or little as we feel the word/fragrance connection needs. We are going to probe a little into how each of us bloggers see the world, fragrance, ourselves. We get to see how one word can inspire different directions in connection. or not.
TASTE Scent Semantics #4
Daisy has come up with a word this month that’s meaning is so broad and all encompassing to our lives that I had a real problem trying to narrow my field of choice down. So I limited my view to the noun. Still it wasn’t much help. TASTE is a word that deals with food, eating, choices, structure; both internal and external, inclusion and exclusion, action, growth and the opposites. Everything we do is managed by our TASTE. Even how we see and show ourselves is based on the same TASTE factors. This word is hard to pinpoint and pin down.
- the act of tasting food or drink. the sense by which the flavor or savor of things is perceived when they are brought into contact with the tongue.
- the sensation or quality as perceived by this sense; flavor. a small quantity tasted; a morsel, bit, or sip. a relish, liking, or partiality for something: a taste for music.
- the sense of what is fitting, harmonious, or beautiful; the perception and enjoyment of what constitutes excellence in the fine arts, literature, fashion, etc.
- the sense of what is seemly, polite, tactful, etc., to say or do in a given social situation.
- one’s personal attitude or reaction toward an aesthetic phenomenon or social situation, regarded as either good or bad.
- the ideas of aesthetic excellence or of aesthetically valid forms prevailing in a culture or personal to an individual
- the formal idiom preferred by a certain artist or culture; style; manner
- a slight experience or a sample of something: a taste of adventure.
- a feeling or sensation resulting from an experience: a compromise that left a bad taste in her mouth.
- test or trial.
Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creations
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Fig Leaf, Mimosa, White Lotus, Pink Lotus, Leather, Fig Tree, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Osmanthus, Incense, Myrrh, Water Hyacinth, Styrax, Balsam Fir, Vetiver
As I was growing up the word TASTE when used for style was the simple, go to expression for every experience. Good taste, bad taste, questionable taste. What was really interesting was that good taste would generate an eyebrow raise of approval but both bad and questionable taste would spark discussion. It was in these discussions that Mum and her girlfriends unwittingly taught me the excitement of being right on the line. Also, there was a lot of backstory involved and a persons history always informed some of their choices. This was especially true for a few of our friends and relatives that had lived, or family had lived overseas. A couple of examples are one Aunt had brought back masks and art from their travels with mining. While almost all agreed they were ghastly there was admiration for the way they were displayed and the showing of their shared history. One of my drama school chums family had been in India and they displayed a six foot pair of matched elephant tusks on Jaipuri enamel plinths. While everyone, including them, decried the killing of the elephant and the ivory trade in general they were heirlooms, looked bloody fabulous, getting rid of them wouldn’t bring the beast back to life and where the hell could they get rid of them to anyway.
One of the things I took away from this and used in my costume design was to involve a little jarring change in a single outfit. It could be colour, texture, motif, reflection or any other way to awake the senses to questions. Fortunately with drag there is a much wider scope to play with than regular clothes.
In the year 2000 when my previous long term love, and still best buddy, got together I was suddenly immersed in the subcontinent of India myself. Varun had come to Australia to study a hospitality focused MBA. We met as he was finishing his studies and six months later when we got together he was starting work at one of Sydney’s prestige hotels. Over the years he had to move back and take the reins of his families hotel chain. Through him I was lucky enough to see so much of India and its glaring inconsistencies. We have travelled from Jammu/Kashmir to Kerala, Amritsar to Shillong and many, many places in between. Now India has the world prize for questionable taste and my eyes, ears, tongue and hands discovered new boundaries and ways to incorporate that exciting attraction and conversation.
Cue the entrance music for my choice of fragrance for TASTE.
Ashoka by Bertrand Duchaufour for the Neela Vermeire Creations brand fits perfectly into my story and viewpoint of TASTE. The backstory is of Indian despot and unifier who warred upon India till it was unified under his rule. Then he discovered Buddhism and brought the religion and its tenets into the country. Suddenly this powerful, passionate man became a religious leader and changed the face of India for eternity.
The creamy fig opening is perfectly set, like a jewel set in osmanthus and mimosa with the sweetness of tonka already peeking through. It’s like we are living the Ashoka story in reverse. A perfect, perfumistas dream of sweet floral fruity herbaceousness. This opening lasts unusually well and we really get to enjoy its peaceful, calming, centred tranquillity.
Then the warmth of the resins begins to make its presence known. Still fig-centric but now the glow of fire and the smell of smoke shatters the harmonious zen and we are hit with an exciting change. In the context of our story this feels like a nod to the ravages of war, yet still the fragrance itself remains beautiful.
In drydown Ashoka becomes dryer, darker and malevolent. The woods have arrived and with them an oily vetiver and leather. They’ve been here all along but now they come to the forefront and lead us to the fade.
Ashoka is a journey. It has me excited by change all through and questioning where its will go next. From top to bottom nothing is expected and yet few fragrances make these huge transitions so serenely.
How do you interpret and what perfume would you associate with the word TASTE?