|Guerande salt marshes~ Source: definingfrance.com|
I was very, very shocked at this impulsive behaviour. As regular readers know, I have absolutely no need of any more perfume, given my 60? strong bottle collection, countless decants, and innumerable samples. And while I do hanker after a few things: more/back ups of DSH Foxy and House of Cherry Bomb Immortal Beloved, for example, plus samples of Chanel 1957 and that new rose Hiram Green people are raving about - Lustre, that's the one - it is a big old leap from hankering to actually acquiring any of the stuff.
UPDATE: I have broken off writing this post to go and order samples of Lustre and Slowdive from the Hiram Green website! And was also bidding on eBay on a BNIB bottle of 1957 that is running at £75 at the moment, so I have accepted that while it is still a bargain at that price it is too much to pay, and way more juice than I need, so have bowed out of that particular fray...
But back to my 48ml of Fleurs de Sel. I wasn't lemming after this scent - not remotely. I only have a dim recollection of how it smelt, though I do remember it as haunting in a flinty, grassy, salty way, as well as being splendidly evocative of the Brittany coastline with its wild, wind-whipped vegetation, spiky thistles underfoot as you tread on hot sand. Well, hot in the summer, maybe. You may recall how I am quietly obsessed with this particular hair gunk from Label M, which sadly makes my locks greasy, but has the most wonderful scent imaginable, far superior to many non-functional fragrances.
I blogged about the Label M mousse here, and note that I incorporated a mini-review of Fleurs de Sel into my post, along with one of The Different Company's Sel de Vetiver, of which the hair goo also reminded me:
"First up was MILLER HARRIS - FLEURS DE SEL:
Notes: rosemary, thyme, clary sage, angelica, iris, rose, narcissus, leather, amber, oakmoss and vetiver
This is very piquant and aromatic and an excellent rendition of the wild grasses in the sand dunes and the beach. It is grainy in texture and a bit salty too, as though someone had gone for a swim and then rolled around immediately afterwards in a carpet of marram grass, sea rocket, holly and spurge. Maybe even the odd sprig of mouse ear hawkweed.
So notwithstanding its strongly vegetal focus, I think FdS is a very successful olfactory interpretation of the Breton coast which was its inspiration."
Well, well, I appear to have appreciated how Fleurs de Sel captures the Breton seascape way back then, even though this is the furthest thing from the style of scent I usually go for - vanilla-forward orientals and sultry white flower florals being my go-to genres for the most part.
And in that split second when I perused the Facebook seller's list and typed my request to buy her bottle of Fleurs de Sel, a switch must have flicked in my brain and reconnected me to that beautiful rocky wilderness, even though I have never in fact been there. I have been to Brittany, mind, to interview a company that made cling film, but saw very little of the area. I just looked up where the factory was - in Pontivy - which is about as far inland as it is possible to go. Now that I have the house in France I am perhaps more drawn to perfumes inspired by anywhere in the 'hexagon', as the French refer to their country.
On a whim, I googled Batz-sur-Mer, the childhood home of perfumer Lyn Harris, which provided the inspiration for Fleurs de Sel. And lo and behold - it isn't in Brittany after all, but a bit south and round the coast in the Pays-de-la-Loire region, specifically the Loire-Atlantique department. Maybe there has been a deliberate spot of geographical fudging, as Brittany is so close, and more people would have heard of that area than its sister region. I have also pegged the salt marshes that provided the aromatic trigger to the scent's creation as those of the Guerande peninsula, also in the Loire-Atlantique (Pays-de-la-Loire). Frontier quibbler, moi? Oh, and I so wanted to put 'Quimper quibbler', but Quimper, being about as inland as Pontivy, doesn't come into it.;)
UPDATE: further research has uncovered the fact that the Loire-Atlantique department was spun off from Brittany in 1941, but was part of 'Old Brittany'. Apparently there is a big kerfuffle about it all that is still raging on, with many of the locals eager to be reintegrated into Brittany. More on the controversy here:
|Batz-sur-Mer ~ Source: Tripadvisor|
So anyway, the bottle arrived, and the perfume was just as I remembered it: bright, granular, herby, salty and earthy. I am pleased to be adding a bottle by Miller Harris to my collection - I have had one or two in the past - including Fleurs de Bois, for sure - but must have sold or lost them. Obviously I would not dream of suggesting I might have actually used them up!
Oh, just checked the notes of Fleurs de Bois - now discontinued - and it is classed as aromatic-citrus. I must be a closet herbal fan after all...For there's rosemary and grass in there!
Notes: galbanum, grass, Sicilian lemon, tangerine, rose, rosemary, iris, oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver
I have been wearing Fleurs de Sel for two days now, and it is as haunting as I remember - and as 'not-really-me-but-I-like-it'. Then, because it was so out of character for me to buy a whole bottle of something so vaguely remembered and so far from lemming status, I felt I needed extra validation for my - if not blind exactly, but definitely somewhat myopic - buy. I turned to Bois de Jasmin first of all, whose taste happens to be closely aligned with mine, such that many of my most loved perfumes historically have been ones she has awarded four or five stars. And blow me if she didn't give Fleurs de Sel four stars too...;)
In her review, Victoria writes:
"Fleurs de Sel is one of the best examples of Lyn Harris’s ability to marry a lush, nature-inspired quality with modern minimalism. The result is nuanced and elegant, with an interesting twist on the classical theme."
On a reviewer roll here, I dared to consult the original Perfumes The Guide book, and was delighted to see that Luca Turin gave Fleurs de Sel four stars as well! He calls it "this elegant, highly original herbaceous-marine composition", adding that it cannot have been easy to compose.
So I feel completely vindicated now. I Did Not Need this perfume - and didn't even know I wanted it until a moment before I committed to buy - but it feels like a distinctive and special addition to my collection. Intimately bound up with my happy links to France. And as I have a friend in Nantes, the nearest city, maybe I will visit the Loire-Atlantique one day...