There has been a fair bit of publicity lately for Ajne's new range of perfume pendants, including one featuring their latest scent release, Vanille. Ajne being of course the Carmel-based niche perfume house famous for its all-natural fragrances and celebrity clientele. Well, reader, I bought it - in silver - because I already own a 0.5 oz bottle of Calypso, a sultry tropical floral launched last year and featuring notes of frangipani, jasmine, cardamom and vanilla. I have to say that Ajne are quite sketchy on their note information, and until recently I thought there was ylang-ylang in Calypso too. And maybe there is at that.
Going back to the perfume pendant, it has a 36" chain which makes it very low slung. Haight-Ashbury groin-level slung, though there again that is the fashion these days. I am inferring this from the length of the chain on my other pendant from Penhaligon's, which is also sporran-like in its latitude. So yes, I am a two perfume pendant household, though strictly speaking the Penhaligon's one is not quite comparable as it doesn't come pre-filled with perfume; you are meant to fill the ovoid shaped receptacle (opaque, but I shan't hold that against something fashioned out of sterling silver!) with whatever you fancy - it comes with a built-in dipper. I will of course never put any perfume inside because, Flittersniffer that I am, I wouldn't be able to commit to just one scent - whether a Penhaligon's or otherwise.
So, in summary, the Ajne pendant is a perfume bottle first and a piece of jewellery second, while the opposite is true of the Penhaligon's one. I have put the Ajne pendant round my neck but it doesn't come very naturally to "wear" a perfume bottle. To be perfectly honest I felt a bit like a St Bernard, even though it isn't remotely cask-like or bulky. Or an explorer with a water bottle slung round their neck - you know, the sort made of goat's bladder or dingo hide or whatever roadkill came to hand. So the Penhaligon's pendant I wear and the Ajne one I treat like a miniature perfume bottle, though you will catch me fiddling with its chain now and again - it is quite a sensuous feeling to just let its silvery links slip through your fingers...
Which reminds me: the two are both silver, but the Penhaligon's pendant is very pale, shiny silver, while the Ajne bottle is a darker colour, more like a tin can to be frank, and not as silvery as in the illustration. This may well be to do with it being filigree work by "Bohemian jewelers practicing age-old metallurgy techniques that have been passed down for generations". I tend to this view not least because I have an empty Czech mini perfume bottle my brother bought me which has some silver filigree work in a similarly dark colour.
As for the new Vanille scent, I like it - it is exactly as described on the Ajne website: "Gourmand vanilla and toast".
It is deep and rich and has a burnt note, like the vanilla of Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille but without the tobacco, or the vanilla in Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille, but without the spirits and not double, thankfully. After sampling the Ajne, L'Artisan's Vanilia will forever come off as a synthetic vanilla flavoured chewy sweet by comparison. This is the SL Musc Koublai Khan of Vanilla scents, I think it is fair to say, and I mean that in a good way. The company reommends layering it with other scents, but I only own Calypso and a couple of samples that may have evaporated by now, and Calypso is probably vanilla-y enough...
I would LOVE to own Printemps and Fleur Blanche, money being no object (these are all insanely expensive), and I wouldn't be surprised if a smidge of Vanille added a lovely rich oomph to those pretty florals.
I also read on the Ajne site:
"Did you know scientific research indicates that the sultry scent of vanilla increases the element of attraction by over 10 times? Well then, you may be intrigued to learn that the soul of Vanille is deep, luscious vanilla from Madagascar..."
They have also asked that people send in their Valentine's experiences while wearing this scent. Expurgated versions, I presume. But of course they haven't reckoned with the intractable Mr Bonkers, who actually refused to sniff this, fearing the intensity of its essential oils.
The last thing to mention perhaps is the celebrity aspect to Ajne fragrances:
"Celebs that have selected Vanille ~ Debra Messing, Kate Walsh, Judy Greer and Denise Richards"
I happen to know that a number of actors in Mad Men are Ajne customers, though I can't recall which, and I doubt any of them will have copped for Vanille. Felicity Huffmann wears Printemps I believe, and as a huge Desperate Housewives fan I would be lying if I didn't admit that the thought of sharing a scent with a celebrity of her calibre is disconcertingly appealing. A sort of fragrant stalking, if you will. Which is harmless enough, I suppose, if pricey. But anyway, I don't happen to own Printemps - I just aspire to being scent twins with Felicity. And the flipside of all this celebrity endorsement malarkey is that Paris Hilton apparently likes Vanille, but I am trying to rise above this titbit of news. Even Britney is allegedly partial to the brand, which I don't even wish to think about.