Quick reviews of two fragrances from Lush (Kerbside Violet and All Good Things), two from Imaginary Authors (The Soft Lawn and Yesterday Haze), and one from Memo (Inlé).
Lush Kerbside Violet
A lovely gentle violet with jasmine and ylang. It's sweetish but not too sweet, and nothing like so strong and sugared as the brand's Tuca Tuca. Luca Turin aptly describes Kerbside as a successor to Ernest Daltroff's Violette Précieuse (Caron), a fragrance I bought unsniffed in my very early perfumista days, took an instant disliking to, and swapped away, only later, of course, to wish I'd kept it until I'd grown into it.1 Kerbside Violet replaces the Caron's dark, musty / off-kilter base with a milder, easier-to-wear rosewood. The dry down has a slightly earthy undertone underneath a creamy powder finish. If Atelier Sous le toit de Paris was too conventionally girly-pretty, and Comme des Garçons + Stephen Jones was too spendy to even consider, it might be the violet you need. On my buy list.
Lush Kerbside Violet is available in 10 or 30 ml liquid, 12 g solid. For buying information, see the listing for Lush under Perfume Houses.
Lush All Good Things
Lest you find the name too cheerful, it's meant as the start to "must come to an end", and the description goes "Both bitter and sweet, representing a parting of ways and celebrating new beginnings. A sweet, boozy stumble down a dark basement staircase will leave you in a blissed out cloud of candyfloss and black pepper." And it is slightly boozy and slightly smoky, early on at least, but it's also got a good dose of rose-vanilla candy over a musky cedar base. Add subtle warm spices, and it all adds up to something of an eccentric comfort scent. It goes in my "I'd wear it if I had it pile", but there are other Lush fragrances I'd be more likely to spend my money on.
Lush All Good Things is available in 10 or 30 ml liquid, 12 g solid.
Imaginary Authors The Soft Lawn
The Soft Lawn was a 2012 release from this indie niche brand featuring fragrances inspired by imaginary books by imaginary authors. The coming-of-age story "follows Hampton Perry, a charmingly snotty college tennis champ who, after years of having everything handed to him on a silver platter, finds himself handing it all back",2 via notes of linden blossom, laurel and ivy leaves, vetiver, oakmoss, fresh tennis balls and clay court. It's a soft and summery green with floral accents. The opening is bright and citrusy, the heart is a pretty linden-ish blend with faint accents of that tennis ball and clay court, still very green, and given the air of an early June day by a discreet aquatic / fresh note. The dry down is woody and a tiny bit earthy at first, more so later, and elements of the tennis ball (rubber) and clay court (mineral) eventually take over. It's all very nicely done, and not so overly quirky as to be difficult to wear. The Soft Lawn made me smile, but I already have an extensive collection of summer greens, and it did not make me reach for my wallet. Worth a shot though, and this is just the time of year for it.
Imaginary Authors The Soft Lawn is available in 60 ml Eau de Parfum, $85. For buying information, see the listing for Imaginary Authors under Perfume Houses.
Imaginary Authors Yesterday Haze
Yesterday Haze, the subtly sinister follow-up to Lenora Blumberg’s acclaimed debut -Violet Disguise,- tells the story of a farmer’s wife who, after maintaining a decades-long affair with a crop duster pilot, decides to come clean to her husband, who also happens to be her lover’s employer.3
I guess that sorta/kinda makes Yesterday Haze a flanker? No matter, it doesn't sound anything like Violet Disguise. Yesterday Haze is a gourmand, with a near perfect balance between creamy, sweet, woody, earthy and bitter elements. In keeping, perhaps, with the 'haze' in the name, it doesn't immediately announce any of its notes (fig, iris, cream, tonka bean, tree bark, walnut bitters and orchard dust), but fans of fig in particular will find its unusual take on that note (is there another nutty fig? if so I can't think of it) worth exploring. As with The Soft Lawn, it is just quirky enough to confirm its indie roots, but not so quirky that you'll have to think of where you can wear it (although I do have a feeling it might overwhelm in hot weather). If Imaginary Authors did travel sizes, I'd give this one serious consideration.
Imaginary Authors Yesterday Haze is available in 60 ml Eau de Parfum, $85.
"An osmanthus submerged in a cloud of tea" — hey, that sounds tempting, no?4 Of course, I've already got the brilliant Osmanthe Yunnan from Hermès for bracing and dry, and there's Parfum d'Empire Osmanthus Interdite for a fuller, fruity-leather take on osmanthus + tea. Inlé, named for the lake in Burma, takes the delicate and fresh approach. It's a little breeze of a scent, pretty, with a bright green-ish citrus opening and a transparent blend of osmanthus and jasmine mingling with what smells like a pale green tea with a sprig of mint (the notes: bergamot, artemesia, mint, osmanthus, jasmine, mate, dried grasses, iris, cedar and musk). It's charming if perhaps a tad too placid for my taste; still, like The Soft Lawn above, it made me smile.
1. Violette Précieuse was discontinued, then reissued in 2006. I do not know if they're still making it, but even in 2006 people said it was not as good as the original.
2. Quote via Imaginary Authors.
4. Quote via press materials from Memo.