Guilty. Of naming a perfume by playing with words. And then trying to make the perfume fit the name.
I first got to smell opoponax about a month ago, and bought some because I fell in love—or at least a lot of like. It reminded me of a dried tropical fruit called longan, which is literally “dragon eye” in Chinese. Once I realized that, I couldn’t easily get off the olfactory hook enough to detect the incense, aged whisky, caramelic, and other notes that people have described.
In any case, I knew I wanted to build a perfume around opoponax, making it the star. In my first iteration, I added a little bit of “animal” (para-cresyl acetate), some “green” (hexenol-3-cis), and chamomile EO (to spell out “relaxing”) into a fluffy base of musks. I don’t know much about opossums, but they look cute with the potential to be quite vicious, and it wasn’t a stretch to imagine one making itself comfortable on some grass. I also wanted some depth and complexity in the perfume—a dilettante can dream—so I included some Auralva and Ebanol. None of these ingredients made it into the next round.
In this case, simpler was better.
- Main note: opoponax
- Other notes: bergamot, rosewood (it had to be the essential oil as linalool would have been too one-dimensional here. My “rosewood” is a mix of mostly other woods such as ho wood for sustainability reasons), hexyl salicylate, methyl laitone
- Musks: Ambrettolide, Ambroxan, ethylene brassylate, Habanolide, Hedione, Iso E Super
The “rosewood” was a nice touch to take the edge off. At one point the mixture reminded me of a botanical liqueur, but that’s just a phase. I think the woody and fuzzy character is developing, as the… Opossum Tries to Relax!