Sunday, March 22, 2009

A wet black bough, or, I discover Grey Flannel

The perfect March scent is not what I expected at all. I'm finally getting out from under the workload, and the SWSX madness has awakened me a bit from all-work-no-play tedium. I've been working my way out of a perfume lull, as well. It's just getting warm enough in Texas for me to starting wanting something crisp, austere, and preferably androgynous. I've got enough girly perfumes, and my mainstays through the winter have been vintage, bosomy, animalic floral parfums like Joy and My Sin. So I was at TJ Maxx one mid-March morning, and what do I find for $16... Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel.

This is what I wanted Black March by CB I Hate Perfume to be, but wasn't. I was disappointed with Black March: it's nice, but too aquatic for my taste, and disappears too quickly. Why is it that aquatic scents don't capture that cold, wet, blustery, wind-chapped-cheeks feeling I actually want? How do they manage not to be envigorating? That aquatic note is like a still pond, not a rainy day, I guess.

I seem to remember having recoiled like I'd been slapped on previously sniffing this wonder. Now I'm fantasizing about finding a man just so I can spray him down with it. It's that good, people! Hm, I wonder if my next-door neighbor would let me...okay, better not go there. That initial smack of citrus and violet (is it also violet leaf, I wonder?) is a little scary at first, especially if you've grown to loathe department stores' harsh, chemically masculines, 98% of which seem to flay your nose with violet leaf topnotes, but hang in for a sec, don't judge, and ... ah, there it is: like a comforting wool sweater after walking through the woods on a moody, scratchy March day. I get rain-soaked, just-budding March branches, and the dewiest, unsweet violets nestled in wind-whipped, bitter green leaves that probably come from the geranium and sage notes, but which to me smell like artemisia. That's probably because I have tons of artemisia in my yard, so smell it all the time. As I compulsively sniff my arm, I keep thinking: not just bitter-sweet, but bitter-warm and bitter-soft, to boot. Perfection.

Notes include: lemon, violet, sage, geranium, oakmoss, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood.

So why did I ever feel the need to go niche to find a moody, rainy-day atmosphere perfume? Do yourself a favor and hit a Marshall's or a TJ Maxx and buy some of this stuff before they change it.

Image of Loch Ness from Sunny Scotland.


BitterGrace said...

What a great review of this oldie, which I haven't worn in ages. You've inspired me to dig my bottle out. Your image of a comforting wool sweater after a walk through rainy woods captures GF's character perfectly.

ScentScelf said...

Considering I've been searching for a same "type," I'm all over trying to locate some o' this Grey Flannel. Very curious to see if I have a similar reaction... (crossing fingers hopefully). BTW, on me, Black March is pretty much potting soil. I like it, but that's what it is.

Good to have you back.

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Thanks, BitterGrace! I love that scratchy wool sweater feel to a perfume.

I agree, ScentScelf, that Black March is more a sweetish garden potting soil than dark and stormy, as I had have heard it described. I hope you love Grey Flannel, too, if you are having the same spring perfume yen as I have been!

Olfacta said...

Welcome back! RE GF: I have it, love it, bought it for the DH (who preferred the more herbaceous "Eau" de GF) at TJ Maax as you did. So I wear it during our summers, which are nothing compared to South Texas's. If it seems too "masculine" so what? I also layer it with a little Eau de Cartier to bring up a sweeter violet-leaf aspect. An excellent find.

chayaruchama said...

Nice to see GF get the love...
I find it pungently skanky; could swear that a good dose of Civetone is in there [not a problem for me ].

That makes it even better.

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Hi Olfacta, I will have to try Eau de Cartier if there's a sweet violet leaf in there...sounds lovely. Thanks for stopping by!

Aimée L'Ondée said...

Hello Chaya! Gosh, I hope you're right about the Civetone--I can't figure out what it is, but I do looove the drydown. For some reason it is raw but soft, for me -- doesn't feel overtly masculine, like, say, Dior's Jules, which is craaaazy pungent in my little sample! Thanks so much for commenting!