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Arbolé Arbolé – Earthy, and rich, and velvety and spectacular – January 7, 2018

Arbolé Arbolé  - courtesy of hiramgreen.com

If you haven’t yet discovered Hiram Green’s natural perfumes, it’s time to step up and experience something wonderful. But let me set the scene first.

Hiram lives in Europe but grew up in Toronto, and on his most recent trip home to visit his folks he gave Gwen a call, so the three of us met up for lunch at our favourite spot on the Danforth for what turned out to be a very long lunch. Hiram arrived with samples of his two new fragrances, Dilettante and Arbolé Arbolé, which he laid on the table as our wine was served. Gwen reached for Dilettante, I zeroed in on Arbolé Arbolé, and the conversation flowed from there. We talked and laughed non-stop for three hours and when the server cleared our table I was honestly surprised to see empty plates. Who’d had time to eat?

A short time later in May 2017 Gwen wrote about the “rapturously beautiful” Dilettante with its fresh orange flower accord, “a stroll through a garden after a rain shower, a celebration of summer”. She jokingly mused that although Hiram told us he’d made this special fragrance for himself, she thought he’d made it just for her.

I felt the same way about Arbolé Arbolé, a woody-based fragrance that I fell in love with immediately, but it had an unusual beauty that I knew my skin would best reveal in in cold weather, so I patiently waited for winter to write about it. When I began to set down my thoughts, I realized I had more questions, so Hiram and I had an e-mail conversation….well, I asked the questions, and he kindly responded. With his permission, here it is, edited for brevity: 

HI Hiram,

It's me, Kay

Right now I'm sitting in front of my bottle of Arbolé Arbolé …which I've patiently saved to write about as soon as the weather turned cold.

Well today is the day, and since the moment I sprayed Arbolé Arbolé on my skin about 30 minutes ago, I've been transported. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful! I'm so glad I waited. I know I 'm going to be wearing this a lot this winter.

I have some questions ....

I'm fascinated with the creative process, which got me wondering about your creative process and the path your patchouli vision took to becoming Arbolé Arbolé. 

I know the background of the Lorca poem. Was the connection through the story told in the poem, or inspired by particular images in the poem, the colours he describes? Was it the life story of Lorca (quite a story), a visit to Granada near where he lived?

What were the triggers? 

And which came first? Did the fragrance evolve from your experience of the poem, or vice-versa?

Warm regards,

K.

Hi Kay,

It is great to hear that you enjoy Arbolé Arbolé. I really like it as well. Although I think you could wear Arbolé Arbolé all year round, I certainly agree that for whatever reason it is particularly suited to the colder months.

As for the creative process, I work best when I start with one material and slowly build up an accord combining a couple like and contrasting smells.

In the case of Arbolé Arbolé, I wanted to make a woody based fragrance and started blending various kinds of woody materials together. The problem was that most woods are base notes and are not very strong in terms of projection. As all my perfumes are all-natural, I needed to mix the woody materials with a natural material that would not only add a bit of projection but also create some depth. After several trials and errors, I eventually added some patchouli to the formula. It was a last-minute addition and changed the entire character of what I had been working on for months. It often works out like this, months of struggling and then one drop of something and voila, it’s finished. What is difficult is knowing when to stop adding things. 

As for the naming and the story of the perfume, that came after the perfume was finished and often does with my perfumes.

I find it very difficult to name the perfumes, tell stories and provide imagery about the perfumes. Nevertheless, I realise that the perfume is only one-part scent and I spend just as long agonizing over names and writing simple stories that hopefully help give a meaningful description about the perfume. Naturally, if you see no connection with the Lorca poem or smell other notes than the ones mentioned, that is totally fine.  

Sometimes I wonder why I go to so much trouble with the naming and stories for my perfumes. Perhaps I should have just called this perfume for what it is, F*** Fabulous which, for whatever reason seems to be a perfectly acceptable name for a luxury perfume these days. I would have also been a year earlier. It is not easy being ahead of your time…

I hope to visit Canada more often, but not in the winter, maybe another trip next spring.

All the best from cheesy Gouda,

Hiram

So what is Arbolé Arbolé all about, how does it smell? To my nose, Arbolé Arbolé is one of those fragrances where the note list is interesting but unimportant in terms of enjoying its beauty. Arbole Arbole is all there in the first spritz, it’s quite linear, but what follows is pure magic. Here’s Hiram’s description on his website:

“…Arbolé Arbolé opens with a burst of earthy patchouli that slowly merges with rich cedar wood and velvety sandalwood. Vanilla and tonka bean anchor the fragrance and provide a sweet and powdery base…

…Arbolé Arbolé, is a warm and woody fragrance that takes its name and spirit from Lorca’s eponymous poem. Ostensibly simple, yet subtly complex, this is an unashamedly romantic fragrance for those who dare to dream.”

The poem by Spanish poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca, is about a young woman who is in a tree by the roadside, picking olives. Suitors on horseback pass her by, offering to take her with them to the city, but she refuses, choosing to stay in her own sweet spot. The scene is set – hot, dry, dusty, woody, aromatic, and the patchouli and cedarwood accord that emerges from the bottle is extraordinary, dry and soft with a slight cosmetic waxy quality, conjuring the scent of the ripening olives on warm scented air.  

Hiram Green is a natural perfumer, so there are no synthetic or animalic overtones, nothing too heavy or resinous or sweet. The patchouli is cleverly balanced with the clean cedar and satiny sandalwood notes so that the accord feels polished and smooth, yet Hiram allows hints of its earthy roots and green leaves to shine through, creating a glamorous vintage sensation, an unashamedly romantic, slightly dirty quality that becomes stronger and stronger as Arbolé Arbolé dries down. Tonka bean and vanilla wrap this sensation in a featherweight veil of musky sweetness, with hints of cocoa and coffee which add to its romantic velvety warmth.

Experienced through its long and quietly tenacious dry-down Arbolé Arbolé is extraordinary, and is also so unique I’m hard-pressed to think of another woody patchouli fragrance to compare with it.  It is one of the most beautiful fragrances I own.

Hiram,

Just keep doing what you're doing,…because it really is f*** fabulous.

All the best from Frigid Toronto,

K.

Arbolé Arbolé is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.