Monday started with a blast (of snow) and a flammable propane tanker truck rolling over on the I-5 freeway near downtown Seattle, shutting down two freeways and blocking traffic for over seven hours. I left work early that day and it took me three and one-half hours to drive home (a measly nine miles). As I sat in traffic I cursed cars that blocked intersections for 10-15 minutes, Seattle city planners who made a system of inadequate roads that cease to function in rain(!), snow or if one mishap happens on the freeway...and I cursed myself. I had only gone one mile from work (it took me an hour to do this) when I realized what a stupid mistake I had made to drink 24 ounces of water before leaving my office. What to do?
Review perfume, that's what!
I took from my bag my tester of Olivier Durbano Lapis Philosophorum (Philosopher's Stone) and immersed myself in it for the next two and one-half hours of my grueling drive — a car is a great place to try out a perfume. Too bad Lapis Philosophorum added boredom, not relief, to an otherwise jittery journey.
Lapis Philosophorum opens with the scents of aggressive "rubbing alcohol," weak grapefruit and strong/dank immortelle (is this supposed to make me think "white truffle" as the perfume promises?) The immortelle lasts a long time but you have to pay attention to detect other fragrance notes. Wine dregs are there, but the aroma stays close to the body and quickly vanishes. Next up are sheer frankincense; a fleeting scent that reminds me of vinegar-y Indian curry sauce (perhaps the fenugreek aspect of immortelle); and woody notes, decidedly phony (Iso E Super stands out). There's also a note that smells of medicated pimple cream (a type of musk I'm guessing).
Given its inspiration and its perfume house, Lapis Philosophorum was a huge disappointment, and didn't improve on subsequent wearings. To me, it's the dud of the Olivier Durbano line.
Lapis Philosophorum is a great lesson in ignoring lists of fragrance notes: how could you go wrong with calamus, juniper, rum, white truffle, grapefruit, wine sediment, Oman frankincense, mesquite, ambergris, menthol, opoponax, myrrh, musk, oak moss? Easily, it seems; I don't smell ten of those notes.
Second lesson of the week: don't drink and drive!
Olivier Durbano Lapis Philosophorum Eau de Parfum is $205 for 100 ml. For buying information, see the listing for Olivier Durbano under Perfume Houses.