|'Tonka beans blogger's own'|
So nowithstanding my underwhelmed reaction to Opardu, I was very excited about the release of WHITE, the capitalised counterpart to BLACK, one infers. It is a tribute to the palpable enthusiasm and verve of the staff at Puredistance that they can still whip me into a fervour of anticipation at this semi-jaded plateau stage in my hobby. I must admit that some of that excitement is due to the exquisite way in which they present their press packs. Well, I wasn't so keen on Opardu on that score actually, as the sample vial arrived in a clunky big black lacquer box, which frankly seemed like overkill, also on the postage front. But my sample of WHITE arrived in a flattish white box, which opened to form a sort of 3D picture frame-stroke-diarama, in tones of white and gold / cornfield yellow, featuring a white silk lining - and oh joy! - an actual dried daisy!
Readers, I inspected this flower very thoroughly, and its very fragility (I accidentally dropped it twice on the floor) tends to confirm that it is REAL. That fact is worthy of upper case letters, I feel. It instantly took me back to my childhood, when I used to make collages of 'found things', as well as pressing the coloured foil wrappers of sweets between the leaves of weighty novels - or flowers (and once infamously, a roadkill lizard!) in the pages of a beloved scrapbook. The whole pack had a lovely aura of an adorable interactive educational toy-cum-ornament-cum-picture. The company had also generously enclosed a coffret of all the Puredistance scents, which is a great aide-memoire, not least because I had drained my vial of Opardu and was keen to try it again. But I will save that story for another time, as I say...;)
Accompanying the box was a rather attractive flyer with a radiant sun design in this same buttery, muted yellow veering to old gold. It features a handwritten note from Puredistance's PR lady, plus sketches of the key ingredients in the new scent for handy identification! Who knew that vetiver looked like a shaving brush?! (Or it does when it is in a bundle, say, while patchouli looks surprisingly like vetch.) There is also an account of the inspiration behind the fragrance, and a list of its 'ingredients' (unexpectedly partly capitalised!) and their provenance, to wit:
"Rose de Mai from France, Tonka bean absolute from Venezuela, Orris absolute from Italy, Sandalwood from Mysore, Bergamot from Italy, Musk, Vetyver from Haiti and Patchouli from Indonesia."
I am not usually one for backstories - or let's say I approach them with a certain degree of caution - but I rather like the premise for WHITE. Here is an excerpt from the leaflet:
"The main idea behind the creation of Puredistance WHITE Perfume has been to create a perfume so beautiful and positive that it gives the wearer an instant flow of happiness. We asked Master Perfumer Antoine Lie (who also created Puredistance BLACK for us) to create a white and golden dream; an intimate escape from harsh reality....In this era of global negativity our aim is to give our customers a positive, mood transforming perfume. We hope WHITE will make many moments in your life a little bit more beautiful and colour your world in shades of serene white and warm gold - instead of grey. ;)"
|My bedroom: fortuitously in this exact colour scheme!|
I like the addition of the smiley face - possibly also a reference to a certain film doing the rounds at the moment, hehe...? ;) But anyway, I like the concept - I have blogged myself recently on the subject of bad stuff in the news and the current, rather downbeat Zeitgeist - so it is a nice thought that Puredistance are seeking to yank people out of that slough of despond, and neatly bridge the gap between winter and spring with WHITE's combination of white and gold tones. For this perfume doesn't evoke simply white to me - it is richer than that. A fitting crossover scent for the chilly yet sunny days of early March we are experiencing at the moment...there are some yellow coloured flowers in gardens - daffodils, crocuses, tulips - but it could just as easily hail at any moment, and did do on Sunday! So the timing for a fragrance launch with that message - both weatherwise and in terms of counteracting negative events in the media - is spot on.
So how does WHITE smell?
Well, I have tried it three times now on consecutive days, with pretty consistent results, though I might get more or less of the floral notes poking through, like spring bulbs in our flowerbed analogy. My overriding sensation, however, is of a seamlessly blended nutty, woody, slightly peppery?, tonka-centric gourmand scent. The tonka itself has those characteristic overtones of coumarin and hay as well as vanilla, which lend it a slightly sterner, drier, more offbeat facet - possibly buttressed by the vetiver. Now I don't know what the scent of a daisy is exactly, but I imagine it might also be a bit austere and vegetal, so in that regard it is a fitting emblem to represent this scent, not least because of its teaming of these two signature colours within its own flower.
Then texturally - you know how big I am on texture ;) - WHITE is muzzy and musky - and warm in very much the style, if not the scent, of Puredistance 1. By the same token it is also quite tenacious. WHITE is 'thickish' and opaque rather than sheer, and although I did spot the odd appearance of iris, I can't say I detect rose at any stage. I should mention that my nose / skin tends to amplify anything on the tonka-heliotrope spectrum, and I see tonka as a halfway house towards heliotrope, although I may be completely wrong there. For me, tonka and heliotrope both hover around that vaguely almondy, milky foody territory, with just a hint of a bitter or anisic twist.
In terms of any other perfumes WHITE resembles, the only one that sprang to mind was PG Tonkamande, though it is a while since I sniffed that, and there is only partial crossover, notewise. On my skin, WHITE is so tonka-forward, at least initially, that it sets itself apart in that way. So overall I would say that I like WHITE quite a lot; it does fit the brief of being warming and comforting in these troubled times. I particularly like its quieter phase about 1-2 hours in, when the coumarin-y aspect of the tonka has settled down, and the composition becomes a little sweeter and more floral (more the iris than the rose, in fairness). The feel of the scent on skin is also more silken and smooth than at the outset. This is when WHITE truly slips into its lazy, hazy, dreamy phase. And after my unexpected bonding with the later stages of MAAI, readers will not be surprised to hear that I am well up to a bit of waiting now when it comes to a perfume's development. ;) I can see myself progressively warming to WHITE, indeed. I would say that it is not an obvious perfume, but strikes me rather as something of a grower.
In the Puredistance literature, I note that the people on whom WHITE was tested 'immediately started to smile and then started to smell again, telling us WHITE filled them with happiness.' I would imagine they must be bigger fans of tonka bean than me. For that reason, I doubt that I will ever feel mad love for WHITE in its entirety, as I am not that keen on tonka bean when it's centre stage like this, and I think you really have to be to fully appreciate WHITE. But props to Puredistance for going a rather unconventional route with this latest release, nailing their white and yellow colours to the tonka mast!
Then on a whim, I googled the origin of 'Honky-tonk blues' which inspired the first part of my title. I knew it was a song, but didn't know what about. I learnt that 'honky-tonk' refers to both a style of country music and the rather rickety bars in which it was performed. 'Honky' on its own, meanwhile, appears to have been a pejorative nickname used for white people, possibly originating in Chicago's meatpacking plants. Well, we'll draw a veil over this nugget of info, as that way lies more gloom and negativity(!), except to say...how curious that 'honky' should mean white. And of course WHITE is designed to drive away the blues, by suffusing the world in white and yellow. Of which it does a pretty good job, I'd say, all things considered.
|Not the right yellow, but still ~ Source: ratemymusic.com|
PS A props credit is due to Victoria Frolova of Boisdejasmin, who gave me the tonka beans when I visited Brussels in 2012. I knew they would come in handy one day!
|My equally colour-coordinated bedroom wool stash!|