.:ARS AROMATICA:.
"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

Announcements
If you're new to this blog, then read our guides to the basics: Skin (Part I), Skin (Part II), The Supernatural, Color Theory I, Color Theory II, Eyes, and Brushes.

Also, check out the blogsale.


Contents
· Perfume Notes: Guerlain Vol de Nuit

Favored
Art Tattler
the glamourai
The Non-Blonde
Perfume Shrine
Lisa Eldridge
Garance Doré
Smitten Kitchen
Into The Gloss
Grain de Musc
Lacquerized
Res Pulchrae
Drivel About Frivol
The Selfish Seamstress
Killer Colours
Bois de Jasmin
Glossed In Translation
Jak and Jil
Toto Kaelo
Worship at the House of Blues
I Smell Therefore I Am
Food Wishes
The Natural Haven
Messy Wands
1000 Fragrances
Moving Image Source
Wondegondigo
The Emperor's Old Clothes
M. Guerlain
Colin's Beauty Pages
Barney's jewelry department
Parfümrien
loodie loodie loodie
The Straight Dope
Sea of Shoes
London Makeup Girl
Sakecat's Scent Project
Asian Models
Ratzilla Cosme
Smart Skincare
Illustrated Obscurity
A.V. Club
Tom & Lorenzo: Mad Style
Eiderdown Press
Beauty and the Bullshit
La Garçonne
Flame Warriors
Everyday Beauty
Fashion Gone Rogue
Now Smell This
Dempeaux
Fashionista
The Cut
A Fevered Dictation
Nathan Branch
101 Cookbooks

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Perfume Notes: Guerlain Vol de Nuit
by Dain

Elihu Vedder, Listening to the Sphinx (1863).

There's a wonderful phrase in French, "les parfums fourrure", that seems to capture the odd synthesis of beauty and vulgarity that is so intrinsic to the cult of luxury. All luxury flouts common sense with its wastefulness, but then, utility is quite beside the point. If ever there was a perfume that captured the feeling of sinking your fingers into the yielding softness of fur, Vol de Nuit is that perfume. It is not merely the animalic hints of castoreum and civet in its drydown, for this lacks the overt raunchiness of its cousin Jicky, but in how it provokes such divergent responses from the senses and the intellect: an opulence of sublime ingredients expressed in a manner disturbingly strange and bitter.

Much is made of its romantic association with aviation and adventure, but ignoring Guerlain's poorly constructed metaphor, it becomes increasingly obvious that a kind of stasis grips the heart of Vol de Nuit, anchoring it firmly to this blighted earth. Even the metallic vitriol of petrol fumes, recreated by the corrosive, medicinal sulfuric, terpene-rich galbanum, hints at a cthonic origin. In one respect, the name is entirely just; it is best worn in the chill winter night, not to comfort as Shalimar would, but to belong. No other perfume so perfectly captures the very substance of darkness itself—opaque, vague, and lonely. There is only starlight in Vol de Nuit, a brief twinkle of bergamot and mandarin, quickly shuttered by that bitter cloud of galbanum, poor illumination against the dense backdrop of resinous woods and earthy aromatics: an abundance of narcissus and iris (these are not actually floral), agarwood, cinnamon (though perhaps more accurately a spice), rosewood, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, oakmoss, benzoin, and tonka bean.

Vol de Nuit serves in perfume history as the prototypical bittersweet, caught between attraction and repulsion, and counts in its lineage perfumes such as Bandit and Vent Vert (themselves very influential), as if Cellier dehydrated the sepia-toned original of its Guerlinade and then split it in two halves, one black, the other green. Bittersweet is a common enough theme in art—the grit and heartache in Billie Holiday's voice, that sinister tendency behind Kubrick's films, Hamlet generally fucking everyone up with his eloquence, the Amazonian custom of cutting off a breast to ease archery, Goya's black paintings—it is a little more unexpected from a perfume. If a spirit of adventure guides this composition, it is not, as the name may imply, informed by the rash heroism of youth, but by a mature confidence, leading us on an inward journey, deeper into the heart of darkness.

I often think that Guerlain's perfumes are essays on human frailty, and this is what makes them so fascinating. But Vol de Nuit is a homage, not to frailty, but to human strength, the only one we have, the ability to weather horrible, mindless, meaningless adversity, to face that endless night, know it is there, and still live. If that isn't bittersweet, I don't know what is.

OTHER REVIEWS
M. Guerlain
Perfume Shrine
Ayala SmellyBlog
Bois de Jasmin
Now Smell This
Pink Manhattan
I Smell Therefore I Am
Sweet Diva
Basenotes
Makeupalley
Fragantica

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

2/18/2009 [3]




Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]. Or
follow on bloglovin'. If
you'd like to contact Dain,
feel free to email me.
I'm also on Pinterest.

Features
The Mnemonic Sense
Most Wanted
The Beauty Primer
Lookbook
Bestsellers
Consumer Diaries
Closet Confidential
On The Label
Beauty Notebook
The Hit List
Color Me In
The Makeup Artist
Wedding Bells
Globe Trotter
Desert Island

perfume notes
beauty notes
fashion notes
culture notes
minimalism

chypre arc
floral arc
fresh arc
masculines arc
gourmands
   & orientals arc


Archives
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
June 2013
July 2013

Images
Photobucket