A Beautiful Blend of flavor and fragrance for a Sultry Summers Day
Two wonderful perfumes and a classic recipe for Southern peach ice cream!
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
It's a balmy summers day in Cleveland, Ohio, the kind of day that just makes you long for the days when you were a child and could rip your clothes off and run around naked with with abandon.
It's the kind of day that makes me want to go skinny dipping and then eat fresh peach ice cream until I'm so full that I could burst.
Alas, I can't do either of these things because I'm an adult now and my days are full of trivial adult like pursuits. A girl can dream though and this morning when I was searching for a fragrance that would cool me down and comfort me I remembered this precious combination. Rose Splendide and Ninfeo Mio from the house of Annick Goutal when blended together are sheer poetry and they remind me of the many days spent in my father's garden when I was very young.
My father had the most beautiful gardens that he nurtured with an incredible passion. His favorite flowers were always the beautiful roses that were in his charge and in an era that was full of strangely scentless hybrid teas and floribundas he taught me to appreciate the simple rugosa roses that he lingered over as well as the beautiful old Roses that he loved because they had the truest scent of all. I spent many years with him while he tended his lovely gardens, quietly working alongside while he pruned, coaxed and cajoled his roses into huge and heavily sensual blossom. The memories of how those gardens smelled in the early morning, petals and leaves dripping with dew and laced with honeybees will never leave me and in fact I’m fairly sure that those earliest fragrance impressions were responsible for my almost obsessive fascination with perfume.
Dad knew more about dirt and flowers than anyone I've ever known. His gardens served as the muse for his true love which was painting. When I was younger his gardens were fairly basic ,but then he fell madly in love with France...more specifically Giverny. He came home from that first trip and began anew. A trained biologist he researched everything, we liked to tease him and say that he was clearly a frustrated botanist and should just go back to school.
He planted old roses and searched for the perfect peonies. He loved his lilies and his Irises. His garden was a symphony of colorful chaos, not contrived at all and completely blowzy in the English style but with a French romanticism that was palpable. He had so many different varieties of so many different plants and his herbs were gorgeous and lush, mixed in with a painterly touch. His Lilies of the Valley have never been supplanted in my heart. He always kept Sweet Woodruff growing underneath his maple trees so that he could make May Wine every spring which we'd share glasses of together while watering the gardens in the evenings.
It took me quite a long time to find a line of fragrance that could truly catapult me back in time to those amazing memories of my childhood and when I’m looking for that sort of impression from a perfume that’s exactly what I want, to be transported, to dream. I don’t want subtle, although it’s just fine with me if the perfume itself is incredibly soft and nuanced. What I am looking for in a fragrance is the olfactory equivalent of a scented love letter that can convey emotions and pictures potently through the exquisite sense of smell. I want to be powerfully seduced by a perfume and I want it to instantly spark my imagination.
Such is my experience with the perfumes from the House of Annick Goutal. From the moment that I discovered them in Bergdorfs so many years ago, I’ve been completely captivated. As one who enjoys perfumes and gaily weaves her way through the world wearing and writing about them, I am lucky to get to try quite a few, many that are very interesting. It’s quite the rarity that I find a line of fragrance where I’m passionate about almost all of them, but nothing else in the world of perfumery is quite like Annick Goutal, fragrances that manage to be creative, edgy and completely elegant all at the same time.
For years I’ve loved them all, from Hadrien to Ninfeo Mio, stopping to adore Gardenia Passion, Rose Pompeo, Songes and everything in between. I love Mandragore with its witchy and magical scent associations and the lovely Muguet is one of my favorite perfumes to wear in the early springtime when the soft green buds are just beginning to appear. Their Neroli is heaven sent from the Goddess herself and Petite Cherie just makes me smile every time I wear it because of its sparkling , fruity nature.
Although all of these scents occupy an enormous place in my fragrance wardrobe, none of them could prepare me for the raw experience of the incredible, ethereal and utterly sensual rose perfume called simply , “Rose Splendide”. From the moment that I opened the sample years ago, I fell instantly in love. Rose Splendide was created by Camille Goutal as a tribute to her mother Annick who loved beautiful roses and sadly passed away from breast cancer many years ago. Based upon the luscious Rosa Centifolia and carefully blended with magnolia, musk and a bit of deliciously ripe pear , Rose Splendide absolutely sparkles with joy.
I love its greenness yet the sultry rose is all there and instantly present on the skin.
The moment I put it on I found myself transformed into a little girl standing in the garden once again, laughing and holding my fathers hand. I was also was transported to the romance of my wedding day, standing outside in that very same garden watching my florist weave masses of roses and ivy throughout the tents. In a simple instant Rose Splendide has become the fragrance that calls to my mind some of the most passionate moments of my life. It is the smell of freshly cut roses, dripping with dew and pressed against musky sun warmed skin. It is that feminine, in my mind an absolutely perfect perfume because it fires up my imagination so completely.
Rose Splendide is exquisite on its own, but I love to blend fragrances so one day I grabbed my bottle of Ninfeo Mio and layered just a bit of it over the top of the Rose Splendide that was already on my skin. The result was magnificent. It made the Rose just a bit more masculine but not in an overtly animalitic way, instead it would be a wonderful combination for any one that wanted a rose fragrance that was more than a little bit Jay Gatsby. The woody notes and salty green aspects of the Ninfeo Mio were warmed to the touch by the sweetness of the Rose Splendide, either of these perfumes are wonderful by themselves, but together they were breathtaking.
Ninfeo Mio is a vey green scent and its very nature is cool and refreshing. Resplendent with citron and petit grain , It opens brightly and teases with just a touch of lavender but very quickly the fig emerges and turns Ninfeo Mio into an experience that’s incredibly sexy. I’m not sure why, but as the sun warmed my skin I notice that this fragrance becomes even more luscious as if it needs the warmth of the day to fully ripen.
If you read my perfume writing you already know that I don't give a fig about a fragrance pyramid or what makes it all up. What I care about is the emotional template of a perfume and this blend reads like a Shakespearean sonnet juicy , musky and green. When I wear them together, they immediately cool me down. Either of these fragrances are lovely, but blended together they shimmer diaphanously , reminding me a lot of the beautiful dragonflies that inhabited my fathers beautiful world. Together they smell wet and almost feral, witchy like conjured images of Queen Titania, and they're the perfect combination of perfumes to wear with long pearls, linen and a cup of tea…..and a deck of tarot cards.
And why not? Rose and Fig? Tea and Tarot with fresh Peach ice cream? That sounds like the perfect summers day to me.
Rose Splendide and Ninfeo Mio are available at Goutal Paris.
Here is a video and article from Southern Living, with the best peach ice cream recipe to be found, because of course, the best fresh peach ice cream to be found would have to come from Georgia! For fun, I’d probably stir in some raspberry and rose jam!
“My truest love though lies in simply being there my gardens, quietly tending and clipping and mulching and remembering. Build the soil, Feed it well, Water it Wisely and you'll have a beautiful Harvest. " Arnold Schreibman
Undoubtedly the best advice for life that he ever gave me. Use it and bloom!
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