Monday, November 17, 2008

Floris China Rose

You may be thinking, "What does that image have to do with something that has the word rose in it? And isn't she writing about a perfume?" I'll get to that shortly.

I woke up bleary and knew that I wouldn't be able to take a shower for a few hours, so I reached into my nightstand for a packet of new samples I have. I figured I'd just pick something at random. Not my usual modus operandi, and not the best of ideas when one has a bit of a headache.

When I have a plan, even if it's very small, I stick to it, so I opened the vial of Floris China Rose and sniffed it. My first reaction was "this smells like acetone." Great. I put some on in spite of my reaction. After all, I was bleary.

The card the vial is attached to was something of an alert. It's a bit too pink and pretty, suggesting something innocent and rather straightforward. Yet, the description promises a good deal of richness: "Top notes of rose, jasmine, violet and hyacinth lead to middle notes of peach, clary sage, clove, ylang ylang and geranium. Base notes include patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, honey, amber and vetiver."

I sniffed my left wrist and the acetone smell was gone. In its wake was violet, a sweet and cloying violet, one that reminded me of something long past, but I couldn't put my finger on it. By the time I got myself to my pot of coffee I realized what it was - the violet candies and gum I used to adore when I lived in New York.

It took a few seconds of googling to find them. Choward's? I had no idea that was the name of the company, even though I've chewed their gum and eaten their candy since I was in grade school. I've never seen these candies sold in Maine, but when I'm in New York City, if I think of it, I buy a few packs. They still sell for under a buck.

Both the gum and the candy are just plain weird, but they truly are wonderful, once you get past the idea of eating violets. Now, that once was not unusual. In the Victorian era eating candied violets and other flowers was quite popular.

Getting back to the China Rose, it is truly awful. The sweet violet is pretty much all I can smell, though I am always a bit stuffed up in the morning. And that acetone scent? It's back and hovering around me. Where's all those other notes? I've had the stuff on for close to an hour and, well, perhaps I can smell a bit of amber, but it's just sweet, fake-smelling violets and chemicals. It doesn't deserve all this analysis.

I'm glad for one thing, however. It reminded me of those candies and gum. I will keep a keen eye out for them here in Maine. And if I don't find them, I'll be in New York in December. Those violet candies do sweeten one's breath. They do a better job of it than any icey-cold breath freshiener gum does. Curious? You can buy them on-line at the Victory Old-Time Candy Store.

And if you're also wondering why I have to wait to have my shower, I have a well. No city water for me (and I sure do miss it). That well fills slowly and if I'm doing laundry (as I am now), if I do something else that takes a good amount of water, like having a shower, the pump will start sucking air. Then poor Dick has to go into the cellar and do a lot of dirty and annoying work. So, I'm careful.

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