There were two perfume-related articles in the Sunday New York Times Magazine yesterday. The first, by Chandler Burr, explores attitudes towards perfume in Japan, "a culture whose relationship to fragrance is more ambivalent than perhaps any other on the planet."
The second article is about the cookbook Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Food & Fragrance, released last year by perfumer Mandy Aftel of Aftelier and chef Daniel Patterson:
...the two connect in their longing to marry scent and taste. ''There was no template for cooking with essential oils,'' Patterson says. So they decided to create one. First came chilled carrot soup, with fresh ginger and a drop of ginger essential oil. That led to blood orange sorbet; mojitos with spearmint oil; crab salad with coriander oil; and white chocolate with sweet fennel and the essence of tarragon, which pushed the boundaries of chocolate as a comfort food. ''I remember being knocked out by how they just transformed things,'' he says.
The article includes three recipes.
Morning R, I was so fascinated by the Chandler Burr article that I read it aloud to dh as we drove to the farmers' market yesterday.(Yes, dh was driving.) I love Burr's examination of the role of perfume in Japanese society. And I WANT some Shiseido White Rose!! (googling brought no results. I guess it is manufactured only for the Japanese market?) Related to this, I was looking for Guerlain's 'Lovely Cherry Blossom' year before last and emailed the Guerlain site to see if I could buy it in Paris. Mlle Whatever wrote back to say it was made primarily for the Asian market and was no longer available in Paris. Interesting to think about in light of Burr's article.
Morning L! I read a post on basenotes awhile back that said some of the Asia-only fragrances, including Shiseido (doesn't that White Rose sound wonderful?), could be found in the small stores in NY's Chinatown, but I have no idea if it is true. I would love to try some of the Cherry Blossom series.
Chinatown, you say? Will have to look. Loved reading the Burr article, partly because it reinforced something I said back when I finally tried Nombre Noir — that it was a French idea of Japan, and nothing the Japanese themselves would probably create. I'd love to go to Japan someday and try the fragrances there. I think my taste in fragrance has come a long way, to the point where now I can wear and love heavier, spice-based, musky scents. But my first impulse is to gravitate toward sandalwood, citrus, grass, tea, or incense scents that, now that I think about it, smell less like a person and more like a wonderful room. It never occurred to me that my Asian-ness might have anything to do with it, but it's true that East Asians don't tend to have the same quantity of apocrine glands that generate body odor, which probably radically alters the way we experience scent on the skin. It makes me wonder whether China has a tradition of personal fragrance wearing or whether they too have historically focused on scenting the room. Given the omnipresent shrines in every house with joss sticks burning for ancestors, I'd bet you couldn't easily smell a fragrance on someone in China anyway. (Japanese incense is a fabulous thing, by the way. It generally costs more than the ordinary joss sticks, in my experience, but the scent is terrific.)
Thank, darling. I am printing out the Chandler Burr article as I type this to you!
T, if you happen to run across a couple of bottles of Nombre Noir in Chinatown…not likely, I guess.
Interesting. I am always put off by directives about perfume and hair color or skin tone, e.g. this is a perfume for a pale blonde, but perhaps there are racial or genetic differences that affect scent in ways I hadn't thought about. I know the big name labels are going after the Chinese fragrance market, there have been several articles about it lately on cosmeticnews.com.
R, there is also an article on fragrance in this month's Allure, which includes a sidebar in which Burr tries to identify a few scents by nose alone…one of which, amusingly enough, is Jardin Sur le Nil. Of course, he gets that one right.
I read that, a couple of times actually! :):) He was fairly good at spotting the notes and getting the “ambience” of them. And yes, he nailed Jardin Sur le Nil! I doubt my nose would be that seasoned or astute. LOL!
I'm always rolling my eyes at the whole notion that brunettes should wear one kind of scent and blondes should wear something else, but part of that is because that whole blonde/brunette/redhead partition has absolutely nothing to do with me. My people, we're all brunettes. But yeah, there's apparently a difference between East Asians and most other peoples when it comes to apocrine glands. As in, we don't have them. Where did I learn this? From the Straight Dope, naturally.
Great column, although some of the details are rather gruesome! I just subscribed to his mailing list (just what I needed, something else to read).