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Nose-to-Nose – Ten Harvest Scents for October - September 24, 2014


Photo - Withrow Park Farmers' Market, Toronto - Timeline Photos 

Gwen:        You know, I really love going to our local farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings.

Kay:           Me too! Especially this time of year with the Fall harvest on the tables, and spilling out of the baskets. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.

Gwen:        It’s all so fresh, organic, and de-lish, and there’s such a  bounty of gorgeous fruits and vegetables to choose from – plums, peaches, pears, figs, pumpkins, peppers, herbs and celery. And unusual things to choose from, things you don’t find in a regular supermarket, like cardoons and sunchokes. It makes it so easy to do “snout to tail” cooking, even with vegetables.

Kay:            I think that’s called “root to shoot” cooking!  I love those concepts – use every part of the animal and vegetable, be adventurous with flavours and textures.

Gwen:        And those Harvest smells and scents….can we talk about those?

Kay:            Yup, Fall officially arrived at the beginning of this week. Which ones are you thinking about?

Gwen:        Well, I love a good pear - Anjou, Bosc, Bartlett and the beautiful bi-colored Forelle, and a good pear scent like…

PEAR -   La Belle Hélène by Parfums MDCI

This was inspired by Escoffier’s famous dessert, but don’t expect a sickly sweet confection from Bertrand Duchaufour. His work is too sophisticated for a literal translation. Crisp tart pear surrounded by a floral bouquet of rose, violet-ylang while myrrh, patchouli amber vetiver give it an animalic depth. What a fall stunner!

CELERY - Yatagan by Caron

Strong, beautiful and exotic. Green and bitter at the start, wormwood and pine needles create a very refined, multi-faceted note of green, aromatic, celery that is an olfactory love call. Leather and castoreum at the base give it a warm, swarthy dirtiness while styrax adds an exotic oriental/incense note.

FIG - Premier Figuier Extrême by L’Artisan Parfumeur

My favourite fruit, fig, is beautifully represented in this fragrance. Premier Figuier Extrême is a rich, succulent, lush fig, its fruitiness heightened by dried fruits – I smell peach here – gently sweetened and softened by creamy almond milk, with stone pine to add a camphouros note, all on a woody base of sandalwood. Nuff said.

HERBS - Garrigue by Maître Parfumeur at Gantier

Garrigue features the sturdier, fragrant aromatic herbs I love so much this time of year. Wild thyme, rosemary and sage feature prominently here. They smell sun-bleached and dry and are lifted with a piney note from juniper berries. The drydown is dry, cool, soft and woody – just like the scents air carried by the mistral.

FRUIT - Bois et Fruits by Serge Lutens

Peach, plum and apricot are perfect now, but dried in Bois et Fruits they last till the bottom of the bottle. Cedarwood surrounded by thick dried plum, peach and apricot - the dried fruits aren’t overly sweet or sugary, they are toothsome. Over time, the dark resinous aspects of the cedar wood bloom and combine with the sumptuous fruits so that the drydown is creamy, opulent and sensuous.

Kay:  Here’s mine….

RED PEPPER – Espelette by Christian Louis

Espelette is HOT! Chili pepper, spicy black pepper, and cardamom, wonderfully dry but loaded with sensation. Then sweeter notes – peach and ylang-ylang - float rather than settle. The dry-down pulls Espelette out of the air and brings it down to earth. Smoky sandalwood becomes creamy with musk and vanilla, and patchouli adds an earthy depth.

TOMATO – Tomato Leaf by Illuminum

 At first, Tomato Leaf is rooty carrot seed, bitter tomato leaf, and the sweet zest of a ripe orange, all in one big sniff. The astringent green tomato comes to the top, then white florals come into play.  The base notes add light musk and vanilla, but the tomato leaf note makes it smell a little like coconut milk. Tomato Leaf is green, a little bit earthy, fresh and sweetish, like a stroll in the garden as the sun fades.

PEAR – Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse

Sweet or fruity or gourmand does not describe Pear + Olive. This perfume has a green sweetness to it, like the firm dense flesh of an almost-ripe Bosc pear, but it also has a savoury edge from the olive. It’s the perfect marriage of opposites which makes it a divine skin scent with an aesthetic that you will love if you want “something different”.

PLUM – Mon Parfum Chéri by Annick Goutal

Dry, powdery iris peppered with spicy clove from the violet, then becomes rich and buttery. A hint of green funk from patchouli plus almond-y heliotrope wrap around ripe purple plums, their fruity sweetness forming an accord with the patchouli that has nuances of woods and tobacco. What a stunning chypre – deep, dark , and delicious!!

PUMPKIN – Tilda Swinton Like This! by Etat Libre d’Orange

I can smell the zing of ginger, then yeasty earthy pumpkin. Oddly different, Tilda Swinton Like This! smells like a well-tended home – baking and furniture polish and flowers in a vase. Immortelle flower delivers its wonderful spicy burnt caramel note and rose and musks add a slightly sweet layer. The opposite of edgy, this is a deeply personal scent, created for Tilda, the real person, not Tilda, the persona.

Kay:            Gwen, we shouldn’t forget that fruits and vegetables ripen at different times of the year, depending what part of the world you live in.  So just because these are our Harvest scents, doesn’t mean they are going to be everybody’s Harvest scent.

Gwen:        You make a good point, BFF. But these are ten fabulous frags that are so great they can be worn and enjoyed in every season!

Kay:            Harvest here, Spring there. Great perfume is great perfume. Let’s get sniffing.