here. Well, I'd say it manages to be brooding and upbeat if that is possible, and the Carner website does describe it as inspired by "the urban lifestyle and the Mediterranean spirit of Barcelona", with an added "touch of mystery". Now that I have walked up and down the bustling thoroughfare of La Rambla for myself, I can relate to the tie-in between D600 and the rhythm of Barcelona's daily life, with its kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and scents.
I have also tested the other perfumes in the Carner stable, namely Tardes, Cuirs and Rima XI. Tardes was a bit heavy on the almond for my (admittedly almond- and heliotrope-averse) tastes and reminded me a bit of Miller Harris Fleur Oriental, with which I never got on; Cuirs was too leather-forward, though it can hardly be blamed for that, while Rima XI - a sample of which has just arrived from the Carner press office in response to my request - is Another Matter Entirely. I tried it briefly on skin during my recent trip to Spain, and have been giving it my undivided attention today.
Rima XI was created by Sara Carner in collaboration with Sonia Constant, the perfumer behind Cuirs. In my opinion, Rima XI tops D600 for mystery. It is much lighter and more attenuated. Woody orientals are my favourite category of oriental, and this may turn out to be my favourite of them all, because it has been given that wan, wistful treatment I so admire in a scent, which is a pretty nifty stunt to pull on a fragrance with a fair few spices in it.
Guatemalan Cardamom, Madagascan Black Pepper, Moroccan Nanah Mint, Saffron
Ceylon Cinnamon, Indonesian Nutmeg, Indian Jasmine Sambac, Coriander
Virginian Cedar Wood, Australian Sandal Wood, Madagascan Vanilla Absolute, Benzoin from Laos, Soft Amber, Musk
If you like DKNY Black Cashmere, but wish it could be more vanillic and less austere, if you like Penhaligon's Elixir but find it a wee bit arid and dusty, or Kenzo's Flower Oriental but you are not always in the mood for such an in-your-face whallop of patchouli, this could be the spicy oriental for you.
Rima XI is a gauzy web of spices backlit by a soft, sheer glow. It is pale and interesting, with a warm hum from its amber and vanilla base. It should be worn by heroines of romantic novels draped languidly on chaises longues, though never in a dead faint. I am so affected by the wan yet robust beauty of Rima XI that I feel myself most uncharacteristically waxing lyrical, turning purple and generally coming over all Mills & Boon.
Which is my cue to introduce the background to the perfume, a much finer work of literature by one Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, a postromantic writer most famous for his anthology of poems and stories called the Rimas & Leyendas (Rhymes & Legends). The scent takes its name from poem No XI. So just in case you were asking yourself: "Does it go up to eleven?", the collection most certainly does, and well beyond in fact. But we won't go there, not least because No XII appears to be a bit rude (in a Georgia O'Keeffe kind of a way, if you know what I mean...)!
And it is a single verse of Rima XI the rhyme which Carner cites as the inspiration behind Rima XI the perfume. I shan't include the original Spanish, but it is readily google-able for any Hispanic speakers reading who would prefer to appreciate the original text. That said, even my fairly remedial Spanish can confirm that it is a pretty literal rendering, with little if any of the atmosphere or emotional charge lost in translation.
"I am a dream, an impossible
vain ghost of mist and light
I am bodiless, I am untouchable
I cannot love you.
Oh come, you come?!"
On its website Carner also provides a summary of the ethos of the perfume - it could relate equally to the will-o-the-wisp scent itself or the siren-like charm of its wearer:
"Mysterious and sensual, with a hidden power of destruction under her radiant innocence, captivating and unforgettable, impossible to conquer..."
So as with D600, Rima XI is intended to be a double-edged fragrance, with a darker side to its beauty, presumably because the woman in question - though feel free to subsitute a Lorelei-type man if you prefer (I'm sure we all have one in our cupboard of crushes, even if it is only the ghost of David Cassidy, and I've got him as well : - ) ) - is emotionally unavailable. Hey, those are some of the best relationships - you don't stand to get hurt if the unrequited goalposts are clearly established at the outset!
Now to be honest I don't really get this undercurrent in Rima XI - it is just plain beautiful to me, with no kind of "iron fist in a velvet glove" vibe going on. D600 is more edgy in that way in my view. At the end of the day, Rima XI is a delicately nuanced, barely there, warm caress of spices on my skin. Yep, it's the Bonkers-friendly Woody Oriental scent from Central Casting, and my latest heartbreaker of a lemming...
Photo of Rima XI from pinterest.com, photo of male siren from mangaslife.centerblog.net, photo of G A Bécquer from Wikipedia, "The Ghost Of A Skeleton" photo of Brighton West Pier from Wikimedia Commons via Robin Webster