I had a reliable trio of winter fragrances: Donna Karan's Black Cashmere, Annick Goutal's Encens Flamboyant and L'Artisan Parfumeur's Dzongkha. Especially Encens Flamboyant which smells like fire.
It's either because I'm getting old or because this winter is taking a toll on my nerves. Or because this is not a proper winter. I just didn't feel like using my winter classics and way too often, I went around without any fragrance at all - me who carries a bottle or two in her bag, just in case. (I would still carry those without using them.)
I got a Christmas bonus just before, well, Christmas so I decided to invest it wisely. I bought a few books, an Issey Miyake purse (no idea what I will do with it but it could hold a small knitting project, I envisage), a pair of Blahniks and a few other things I'll be painfully decluttering in a few years' time... and somewhere between a crapton and a shitload (the decision which of them is bigger hasn't been reached yet) of raw materials.
It all happened to arrive within three days - four different orders from four different directions, mind you. I'm often surprised how raw materials smell differently from the plants they come from (I haven't had a chance of a close encounter with a civet cat and I know the musk ox only from the fine fibre it yields). I'm a wood freak so now I'm richer by one big bottle of Atlas Cedar essential oil, which is so much nicer and more interesting than the generic cedar oil I used to get in the local fancy faux handmade cosmetics store, more smoke, more of a certain harshness. Or oakmoss - the absolute is dark green, smells faintly of crushed vegetation and glowing embers and it's totally different from the smell of actual oakmoss or whatever I thought it in fragrances that contain it.
Should a dear reader remember some of my former perfume musings, I have a certain predilection for weird stuff. Eyewatering leathers (such as Cuoio di Spagna by Santa Maria Novella), patchouli that needs three or four baths to disappear from one's skin (I'm looking at you, Patchouly Indonesiano) or just something plainly extraordinary.
Being pretty choleric, once again I chose the DIY path. Upon careful reading and considering my financial situation, I ended up with several bottles of basics - Siberian fir, vetiver, cedar, cypress, rosewood or benzoin, and hear me say, there's never enough benzoin and cedar, several bottles of basics I was able to afford only due to huge discounts, such as neroli or vanilla absolute.... and then the odd stuff. I wouldn't believe what can be distilled, dissolved, absoluted or extracted.
I spent a fruitful evening trying to render a cuir-cologne version of a perfume I've been making for myself for a few years but that needs maturing or I need to mature and find out what my opinion actually is. I don't really like citruses and I can smell that damn petitgrain and neroli in it but day after day, it appears to be more and more promising
Meanwhile, the ugly brown jus made of birch tar and many a viscous dark thing is living its own life. I blended the dark and viscous things with all things leathery I could think of (which amounts to exactly two, ylang-ylang and vanilla) and some odd-smelling plants - mainly but not exclusively tagetes. I wanted to render a salty floral and I was hugely disappointed when it smelled of vetiver and vanilla - nice in itself but not what I wanted. Things kept happening, though, and this is the magic of natural materials - they keep changing. Now, four days later, I'm wearing the would-be salty floral which is actually.... sweet and leathery. I need to find someone to blame yet but meantime, to put it in Elena's words, I'm walking around wrapped in an olfactory equivalent of expensive fur - warm, pleasant, protecting one from however evil the surroundings may be.
Speaking of fur, I got half of a fleece the other day. For those who don't happen to be fibre maniacs, fleece is what comes off a sheep. Half of a fleece... go figure, my dear smart readers. Almost a kilo of sheep fibre along with an occasional bit of twig or grass. It was washed but not totally devoid of both lanolin and vegetable matter so bit by bit, I soaked it in hot water with some soap and it's then when wool yields the most beautiful smell of lanolin. I did a cursory search but I couldn't find any information regarding possible existence of a lanolin absolute or any other sort of extract of whatever the fragrant bits from the complex composition may be.
And now excuse me while I go and bury my nose in my virtual fur. Meantime you can check variations on the same theme at Abigail's, Katie's, Gaia's, Ines', Carol's and Elena's blogs.
Added two hours later: Reconsidered. My newest thingy was a virtual fur yesterday. Today it's approaching towards the salty garden. Life is interesting.