|Harris Museum ~ Source: Wikimedia Commons|
"Hello - I am a curator from the Harris Museum & Art Gallery and I've just read your blog entry. I'm sorry not to have read it sooner and/or known about your visit. There is an information sheet available on Mrs French's collection which I can send to any interested parties. But I'm afraid we have no idea about whether Mrs French loved perfume or scent generally. She certainly loved the bottles. We look forward to welcoming more perfume enthusiasts at the Harris in the future.
Sending all best from Preston."
Now the reason I found this spectacularly asynchronous comment worthy of mention is because I happened to be in Preston again myself last weekend, for another gig by - you've guessed it - The Monochrome Set, their fourth at that same venue since 2011. So the timing of the curator's comment felt a little Twilight Zone-y. ;)
On this occasion, instead of a last minute dash to the museum, I dived into Debenhams just before they closed, on a skincare-related mission that I am saving for another day. (I am stockpiling dermatological disasters, you see, until I have a quorum worthy of a post in their own right.)
Skincare solution sorted, and after an M & S salad, a bit of a lie down and a hot shower, I drove the half mile to the gig at what seemed to me to be the fashionably late hour of 9pm, Hmm, maybe not all that fashionable in hindsight, as the band weren't on till 10.15pm. (Oh, and I would normally walk such a derisorily short distance, but I was on band ferrying duty later, and stuck to the very wonderful Fentiman's Rose Lemonade all night. It is infused with spicy botanicals and is like drinking a pink version of Hendricks gin...er...without the gin.) I immediately ran into the singer in the beer garden, closely followed by fellow fan Andy V, whom I am proud to have converted to Ormonde Jayne. Isfarkand and Zizan are his two favourites from the line as regular readers may recall, but the samples I gave him have long since run out, so he has defaulted to his existing stocks of aftershave.
|Like this, only dark ~ Source: newcontinental.net|
As is the way of perfumistas at large, I asked to sniff Andy, while the singer looked on in mild bemusement. I inhaled the merest vestige of a woody, spicy scent. "No idea" I said, with not even a millisecond's hesitation: "You're going to have to tell me."
"It's Bang!" he replied, "Cillit Bang!" Adding, after a dramatic pause, "Only kidding - it's by....."
"...Marc Jacobs, haha." I laughed, as I finished his sentence.
Next up, I made Andy V and the singer sniff my sample of Amouage Journey Woman, which Hamamelis had kindly sent me that very week. For a fruity floral with leather and tobacco and a smattering of spice it really is surprisingly light. To my nose, if you crossed APOM pour Femme with Diptyque Volutes edt you'd get a vague idea of how it smells. Then if you were to read the reviews on NST and Perfume Posse you'd get a much better one!
The pair leaned in and smelt my wrist assiduously several times. "It's supposed to represent Shanghai Art Deco or something", I added helpfully.
The singer looked incredulous: "Nah, I am getting more...more flowers, lots of flowers - we are talking French country garden."
So that was that, but whatever continent it conjures up, boy, do I love Journey!
Then inside the venue, I bumped into Andy's ex-wife J and her friend X (no, her name really did begin with 'X'!), who quickly engaged me in a conversation about perfume, announcing that they would both like to make their own natural fragrances - as would J's daughter, apparently, and did I know where to start. My mind quickly cycled through all the natural perfumers I had heard of - in the US, mostly - and I vaguely remembered that The Perfumer's Apprentice might be a good port of call for starter kits of materials. But I really didn't know what to advise, and admitted as much, adding that I would see if I could dig out any pointers on the Internet that might get them going. But even after having a look, I am still at a loss as to what to suggest to them, frankly - perfume making of any kind is just not something I have been interested in pursuing myself.
|Is that you, Lindaloo?|
J also remarked on how photogenic Truffle was, which reminded me that we must already be Facebook friends, and that J must therefore be one of the many hundreds of (apparently remarkably resilient!) people subjected to the near daily barrage of kitten pics...
Now J is a taxi driver, and recently picked up a lady who was wreathed in a cloud of Rochas Femme. (J couldn't resist asking her what she was wearing.) So we talked about that for a while: about vintage and modern versions of scents, and about reformulation and skin chemistry - sadly J's quest to find the very same version she sniffed in her cab is ongoing. Or it may just be that her own skin is not such a perfect canvas as that of her passenger. I mentioned that I had a smidge left of a vintage parfum formulation, not that we know if that is 'the one'...
But the perfume sub-theme to this gig did not stop there. For I handed over a bag of Le Labo samples to Caryne, who is in charge of band merchandise, and a vegan. A long-time Lush lover, she was sporting the new release All Good Things - it's reportedly a bit of a Marmite fragrance, but it was spectacular on her. I have only recently discovered that the Le Labo line is also vegan, so it will be interesting to get Caryne's take on the line.
And the last perfume-linked aspect of the gig - again thanks to one of my readers - was the fact that on the way out I donned the reflective armband that Ingeborg had kindly sent me, to boost my visibility in dark alleys and the like.
|There's even the word 'band' in the name!|
It didn't get much of a workout this time, as I was only walking a few yards to the car, but I am sure that in future there will be other possible outings.
|Low jinks with the keyboard player ~ Source: Caryne Pearce|
If anyone has any tips on how to go about making natural perfumes, do let me know in the comments!