Thursday, July 2, 2009

I prefer the smell of damp sheep

I've been knitting a sweater with a plain off-white wool. When I first purchased the yarn, I hesitated, for it smelled like nothing. I love the smell of sheep. As knitting has gained in popularity, finding wool that smells of sheep has become increasingly difficult. For whatever reason, the new knitters have voted with their pocketbooks that they don't like the smell of lanolin.

I hadn't been doing a lot of knitting lately. On these damp chilly evenings of late, my knitting called to me. I was delighted to discover that the project that had sat in a plastic bag for a few months had gotten damp, and with the dampness, the smell of wet sheep blossomed. Hurrah!

This evening I ran out of wool and had to wind up a new ball. When I picked up the skein out of the basket it was in, it smelled like the worst sort of cheap potpourri. You know the kind - it's sold in crinkly plastic bags and is dyed in the worst sort of fake colors. Bright reds and pinks for roses, unnatural brown for vanilla, yellow for hmmmm (I can't think of what). . .anyway, it was simply awful. I don't own any cheap potpourri, so I couldn't imagine why the yarn smelled like it had been steeped in such disgusting scent. As I wound up the yarn, my nose started to feel irritated, my eyes felt heavy, and my tattoos started swelling up. These are all signs of allergy, of course. But why?

Once I started knitting, the smell lessened, for I had the big half of a sweater already done sitting in my lap. But once done, I looked at that overflowing basket and figured the offending culprit must be inside. What on earth could it be?

What's there? A leopard print crumple of tissue paper. Huh? I wouldn't buy that! I picked it up and out fell two carded samples of Serge Lutens Serge Noire. I sniffed the cards. Not wonderful, I must admit, but not the offending smell. But I wasn't done yet, for the leopard skin tissue felt too heavy. What's this? 12 samples of perfume? Yesterday I amended my samples list to 201 and now it's suddenly up to 213! What the heck is inside this ziploc bag, anyway?

I see Chanel Sycomore. Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus. . .but wait. . .I'm opening it right now. . . there's a leaker! It's, it's. . .it's leaked out so much I can't read anything but D___fume Sage. Ugh. You perfumistas out there - what do you think it might be? I want to take it outside and be rid of it! It has ruined my wool and made me feel ill. It's on my fingers!

I put the entire bag in another room, leaving this investigation for another day. The vial looked full. Maybe something else leaked, and I don't want to subject myself to any more vile smells from tiny vials.

Over 200 scents was the breaking point, eh?

Nah. Time once was that an episode like this would put me off fragrances for a good long while. Not any more. Fighting smell with smell, I just brought the unfinished sweater to my nose and inhaled deeply. That's better.

This is rather synchronistic, for earlier today Dick said he liked the scent on my wrist, which was Ginestet Le Bois, which smells of smokey woods, spice, a bit of warm booze, and vanilla. He wanted me to make a mental note that he liked it. He owns one eau de toilette and I think he's ready for something else. Sure, I'd be happy to get that for you, Dick, for I love Le Bois (and I'd be even more happy to share!)

A little while later, he popped his head in and said "What do you call a scent that smells like wood?" "Wood", I answered. He laughed and replied, "I'd like a perfume that smells like wood that's been sawed." I immediately thought of CB I Hate Perfume and Demeter.

I scanned CB's perfumes and found nothing, but then I looked at the accords list. There was Wet Sheep. Fantastic! Finally, a solution to all those odorless new yarns. Sadly, I'll have to go to Brooklyn to get some Wet Sheep. It's only sold in the Gallery, but I'm thinking next time I go to New York a trip to Williamsburg would not be a bad idea. But what about the wood? CB's got three kinds of cypress, for goodness sake. . . where's the freshly cut wood? There's Bonfire, complete with hot dogs! I am not kidding you. Well, if you know Christopher Brosius' work, you're not surprised, I'm sure. After all, the guy does sell Roast Beef accord.

I did find Pine Saw Mill. Dick says that sounds good to him, even though he did say "not pine" in the first place. The words "saw mill" sealed the deal, I'd say. We're going to Brooklyn, baby!

So, what does all of this prove? Nature wins? I dunno. This is another one of those posts where I thought I had a point to make, but lost it somewhere along the line and it just peters out. . .

I forgot about Demeter in all the fuss. There's no freshly cut wood, but there's Giant Sequoia, Poison Ivy ("without the itch!"), and Cypress (but only one kind).

Image note: The mosaic I made for my desktop earlier in this perfume crazed week.

Ugh. My hands still smell like whatever it is that I'll have to deal with another day. It's time to scrub.


Tania said...

The Madini sandalwood oil smells like cut wood, if that helps. I rather like it, but some reviewers have said it smells too much like a lumbermill!

This might be your mystery sample:

I have a sample and to me, it's a bit overpowering and Angel-like.

Julie H. Rose said...

Thanks for the tip on the Madini. I just read the L'homme Sage review on NST and it sounds great, lol!

I realize today that another reason I was on scent overload yesterday is that:
1. Dick spilled about 1mL of Jardins Sur de Nil on the woodstove in the morning. I can still smell it.
2. He washed the kitchen floor with Basil and Blue Sage cleanser in the evening.

This, in addition to everything else. That Hermes, also, has been lingering on my staircase for quite some time. That scent is lovely in TINY amounts (1/1000th of a spritz, and enough to make me almost hate perfume in general in larger doses.

Anonymous said...

It's fun to read about your scented adventures, Julie. Thanks for sharing!
Tania's guess is very good I'd day, Divine Sage was my first thought too. After wearing almost nothing for three weeks on my trip I'm starting to get interested in perfume again. I have some old samples I never smelled so that's what I'm going to begin with.

The big revelation on my trip was how many varieties of jasmine I've encountered throughout the small portion of Greece that we've covered. There were at least six varieties that looked and smelled distinctly different from each other. Honesuckle vine and roses were abundant. And there were streets lined with linden trees, that's a definition of heaven for me. Also, I was very excited to find a blooming champaca tree and to smell the blossoms!
if you have an idea of what SL samples you want to smell, drop me a line and I'll see what I have.

Julie H. Rose said...

Welcome back, Nika!

I think the theme of "nature sure beats perfume" is out there, waiting to be elaborated on or at least said, and your trip certainly illustrates this. You, who must have the biggest perfume collection (have YOU counted yours?), didn't seek out obscure Greek perfumers, and this is 2nd time I've heard about the linden.

And honeysuckle? I'd never wear it, but the smell of honeysuckle on a warm summer night is pure heaven.

And Nika, I have only barely begun to explore all the samples you've already sent me; you're such a sweetie.

Julie H. Rose said...

Oh Nika I meant to tell you. Dick and I were going through some things from his parents' house, and I found a little wooden box that said "GREECE" on the bottom. I opened it up and there was a vial that said Hermes inside. I had forgotten about it until now. Must look at it again.

Anonymous said...

I probably would seek out something perfume-related in Greece if I was traveling on my own, but my companions couldn't care less about that sort of thing and there was so many other interesting things vying for our attention.
I did buy one thing - Pepper Jasmine/Gaiac wood/Passion Fruit EDT from Korres. It's very pleasant in a non-pefume-y way, super-light and lasts about 10 minutes:)

Anonymous said...

I wonder why it says Greece on that box? Hermes is a french house. Maybe because Hermes is a Greek god?