Thursday, 7 May 2020

Ready, steady, heady: sniffing shots of lilac gin

I should have been taking a plane today. Somewhere far enough away to seem utterly fantastical in today's new reality. The pandemic feels like a waking dream most of the time, with news bulletins recycling the same terminology on an endless loop. If I had a pound for every time someone in the media says 'unprecedented', 'vulnerable', and 'frontline', I wouldn't need the Government's self-employed rescue package I may or may not be invited to apply for before they decide to withdraw it again because of easing the lockdown.

Actually, I say 'frontline' is mentioned over and over, but if you google it (as I just did to see if it was two words or not), you get the flea treatment for dogs and cats of that name as the first search result in Google. Which tells you all you need to know about the all-conquering dark art of SEO.

Much paler in reality than it appears!

But no, instead of going anywhere beyond my limited local circuit at the moment, I have been bird watching and lilac spotting, knitting, reading, cooking, and having psychological battles with Truffle over whether she will or won't get out of the office chair last thing at night. I have taken to carrying the chair with her in it all the way along the landing and tipping her downstairs, even though this is probably not an ideal manoeuvre for my compromised pelvis. This MO does seem to work, mind, with minimal hissing and personal injury.

But I digress...back to my new and colourful pursuit of lilac spotting. The latter has escalated to the level of a sport now on my daily constitutionals (or however often I manage to take them, given how absorbing my many knitting projects are proving at the moment!). Last night I clocked up white, pale mauve, mid-mauve, and a rich magenta. Along the way I also paused to sniff a hawthorn tree (disappointing) and a neighbour's wisteria, as I missed the flowering on my French house this year. I had forgotten how lilac-like wisteria is as a scent.

Now I know I said "lilac gin" there in the title, messing with Elkie Brooks' preferred tipple. That was purely to grab readers' attention, in much the same way that mine was attracted the other day by the headline: "Adele is so skinny now and looks like Barbie." So a low tactic, I concede.

I am not sure I would like lilac gin actually, though my friend David - whose own lilac is the deepest purple one pictured above - makes me fruit-flavoured gin every Christmas. I currently have bottles of his raspberry and pomegranate varieties on the go. If there isn't some lifting at the end of the tunnel from next week, I can see me making greater inroads into my gin stash!

Following on from a recent post by Undina, I was rummaging for the sample she gave me of Jo Malone Sweet Milk a while ago - I didn't care for it, and she mentioned having nearly run out - when I came across another JM sample she'd given me, namely Wild Lilac & Rhubarb. Given my current lilac craze, I have been enjoying wearing it lately, and it doesn't seem either synthetic or overly sweet as I had mistakenly remembered.

Notes: lilac, rhubarb, rose and heliotrope

I am now curious to smell En Passant again, and revisit Opardu and Pacifica French Lilac (the latter also courtesy of Undina), which has given my usually reliable photographic memory the slip for the moment. Oh, and Vacances, which I gave to my brother because he asked if I had a lilac perfume a man could wear.

Source: fragrantica

And speaking of knitting, in my recent yarn splurges, I seem to have been drawn to shades of are the balls in question: for some reason I can't turn the photo round the other way.

Are you flower spotting this spring, in lieu of going to gigs / Nando's / the pub / for a curry / your venue of choice etc?

PS Undina, this still isn't the post inspired by your Sweet Milk post, though you might well think so! ;)


Sarah Waite said...

Hi Vanessa,
We have a beautiful lilac bush at school. I was tempted to take some scissors to it yesterday, but I was put off by the idea of trying to juggle my work bag, computer bag and a bucket of cut lilacs, all whilst trying to open and close the reception door using one hand with the other full of hand sanitiser ready to rub post-door, pre-car.
This is the paranoia that happens when your workplace furloughs the blooming cleaners!
I was lucky to win an art competition by Puredistance recently so I'm waiting for a bottle of Opardu to arrive here. I'll be sure to send you a bit when I get it. Lilacs are a great fluffy dream...

Vanessa said...

Hi Sarah,

I loved the story of your encumbered exit from school - touching things is a logistical nightmare at the best of times, never mind with full arms!

Well done on your art competition win. I have a sample of Opardu somewhere, so will remind myself what I make of it. I remember thinking it a bit musky the first time I tried it, but my views (like the perfume samples themselves) can easily evolve over time. ;) Will report back, and thank you for the kind offer.

Tara said...

Hi V
This was a lovely restful read. Magenta is probably my favourite colour so enjoyed seeing that top ball of yarn too.

What I wouldn't give to experience Vacances! What do you think of it? En Passant is a pale lilac beauty but I need a bit more of a twist. I'm not good with photoreal fragrances.

I've been paying more attention and getting more joy from the plants in my parents' garden, particularly the bushy yellow acer.

parfumista5 said...

Around the corner from where i live is a huge Wisteria (i always call i Hysteria, because the smell is just so dramatac and intocicating) and you can smell it from miles away .. gorgeoous! As for lilacs, although i like the smell, my favourite "purple" smell is and always will be the iris... oh ok, and violets.... Not sure what lilac infused gin would taste like, but violet candies are at least great! i wonder.... in Australia they have musk candies... what if you munch on a medley of violet candies and musk candies, plus a shot of lilac gin, would that make for a great perfumed breath, or would it send people running for the nearest porcelain throne??? (As a PS, i seem to remember someone telling me that En Passant does not smell like it used to....) cheers, and bon courage everyone! Wendy

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, gorgeous photos. I should be cross with you for teasing me with the promise of Lilac Gin, but I can't be, not when you take such lovely pictures and make me smile at what you say! I have sampled lots of floral gins (violet, rose, honeysuckle, lavender, hedgerow, elderflower etc), but haven't yet come across lilac - probably for a very good reason. And nowadays I hanker after a gin that actually tastes of juniper ....

The blooms of this spring are spectacular - I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like the displays of apple blossom, lilac and wisteria that are on show right now. Nature keeps on going, despite what we humans are doing.

Pleeeeeeease take care of your pelvis!



Anonymous said...

For Wendy - Floris do both a Rose and a Violet mouthwash!!! But you have to be rich - they cost £40 each.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Oh, I love acers! I have one I rescued from our old house which is in a big pot and has good and bad years - much like its owner - but is thriving at the moment. I'd describe it as more of a maroon colour. Am also partial to pieris and hope to have one of those in due course.

Glad you like my magenta wool. The colours are not quite as vivid in reality as they appear, but still fall into that general lilac territory.

Vintage Vacances is AMAZING! The modern incumbent is like a lilac version of FM Eau de Magnolia - kind of airy and modern. Still very nice, but not as good as the vintage version. I will ask my brother for a decant sometime as I gave him the bottle.

Vanessa said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for dropping by with your scary candy mash up idea, hehe. ;) I used to love Parma Violets as a sweet and breath freshener. So perfumey yet delicious.

I was a huge fan of iris, then went off the note a bit, but am gravitating iris-ward more these days. I should set myself an 'iris scent a month' challenge sometime as Undina suggested to see exactly where I stand.

Vanessa said...

Hi Jillie,

I know what you mean about Nature keeping on going! The floral displays have been spectacular. I couldn't photograph it as it was too far away and behind railings, but I saw an extraordinary hawthorn tree that was shaped exactly like a weeping willow with low slung boughs laden with white foamy blossoms.

I do actually agree with you about gins that taste of juniper. There is a place for fruit varieties, but my absolute favourite remains straight up Hendricks. I like rose petals too as a botanical.

My osteopath re-opened the other say with safeguarding measures, and I was in her treatment room like a ferret up a drainpipe, with a follow up session soon.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Vanessa! Hope your osteopath helps. Slingsby Rhubarb Gin holds a special place in my list of top gins that don't taste of juniper.

Vanessa said...

Ah, thanks - have never tried rhubarb gin, though I love rhubarb!

Undina said...

You didn’t like Opardu when you tried it first, but later you changed your mind and reportedly drained at least one sample of it :)

Undina said...

On a daily walk I keep taking pictures of flowers and birds I come across. Nature (wild and human-maintained) is so beautiful around here!

I don’t think it’s possible to get lilac-infused anything: if it’s not possible to use it in perfumes, it doubtfully could be used to flavor food as well. Besides, I would expect lilac to be poisonous.

What are you going to knit from that beautiful yarn? Lilac, violet and such are my favorite colors.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Well remembered about Opardu! I knew I hadn't initially been struck on it due to the musky aspect, but each successive sample I tried seemed to smell different. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Isn't spring blooming at the moment? Ironic in a way.

That is a good point about lilac's inability to be reproduced in perfumery, and what that might mean in other spheres.

I shall knit scarves in different textures - have enough yarn of each colour to make two, so can experiment. It is incredibly soft and should be next to the skin.