Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Swig & Tipple?

It began with the word "smoke". 

I once read in a review of Lorenzo Villoresi's Piper Nigrum (by a reviewer with a perfume genius...I can't even begin) that it would be a scent particularly suited to astrological fire signs.  Before that gets blown out of proportion, I'm too factual to believe in horoscopes and the destiny of the stars...but I'm allowed my own fair share of magic and witchery here and there.  Well, being a fire sign, I was instantly attracted (all we really love is ourselves, right?) and in some silly way, it explained my love for burnt woody, heady, smokey scents in a cosmic fashion.   Was I destined for such smells? 

In my hunt for blog names, I kept reffering back to the word "smoke".  It was perfect to me, because I've always loved things that were not only fiery, but just a little hard to love.  One can love a crisp cedar smell in an instant, and fall head over heels for a white floral even quicker.  But aren't they both simply begging for the attention?  Take either of those, singe them just a little, let them rot or wither...and there I think you have a smell that YOU want to love.  There is something great about that which mystifies and disturbs the senses.  Like an oddly beautiful woman, she makes you look again. In the words of my inspiration:

"Well, therein lies the ignorance. You see, in the annals of great perfume making, every great perfume was made to be prickly. Difficult. Ambiguous. It was meant to have some attitude. A great perfume did not insist that you love her straight away... Great perfumes of yore did not say, "the world is great, take me now, baby; I'm yours!!" rather, they were designed to be an accoutrement to the woman of sophistication, who read books, who knew history and mythology, who had travelled, who had opinions of her own. Therefore, for every enticing, sweet, "easy", "accessible" note in a perfume, you can bet that your Jacques Guerlains would instill a "difficult" note... notes that, in and of themselves, might smell foetid, foecal, urine-like, sweaty, medicinal, acrid, burnt, brackish, caustic, or otherwise unpleasant to the nose. But used judiciously within a perfume, add that sublime note of hauteur, of inaccessibility, of sophistication to to a fragrance. The "difficult" notes act as a secret "foil" to the accessible notes. True perfume cognoscenti learn that it is the "difficult" notes which actually are the saving grace-- the magic touch-- of a great fragrance."
- Rasputin2 with regards to Guerlain's Shalimar (Incidentally, the same brilliance which pegged Piper Nigrum)

I think I've found some defining characteristic of myself in the word "smoke".  In food, fashion, and lifestyle...I see the patterns.  I learned that to "smoke", is also an informal slang for "drinking quickly".  That's when the synapses began to fire in a crazy indescribable way and we end with "Swig and Tipple".  Two words for drinking that embody a little of the magic of smoke, the wittied humor of a  perfume connosieur (the thing which I hope to be), and the act of smelling that which you love:  breathing deeply, closing your eyes, drinking it in.  Both verbs are somewhat archaic and curious, like the art itself.  And it's just that.... 

The artistry in perfumery is, as of yet, truly untapped by myself...but so evidently weilded by many a blogger, reviewer, and creator.  I've come to notice that along with this particular knowledge comes an edge of humor and wit and craziness that I so so admire.  This is a learning experience for me and if I could ever join your ranks, it would  be an honor.  

Here I hope to make available useful resources for aspiring perfume know-alls and those who are already there and to add my opinion to the mass of lovely and meaningful reviews already out there for what it's worth... hopefully in a way which some of you haven't seen before.  


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