Shadow exists because of light (Hyde by Hiram Green)

My cousin coaxes her sulking, teary-eyed, 8-year-old daughter to her laptop, admonishing her to stop her tantrum as she is already late to our regular appointment. I wait patiently in front of my own computer and video camera, and when she reluctantly appears on my screen, I tell her, with as sympathetic a voice as I can muster, “It’s okay. We all have good days and bad days.” I repeat this a couple of times in English and Mandarin Chinese, her native language, hoping that she will remember not only the thought but also the English phrasing—that is my main role.

Unrelated, a creative director with whom I used to work was very much into the idea of everything, and everyone, having a shadow side. While most people usually look on the surface, which reflects the light, he was keen to shift perspective (and achieve differentiation) in creative concepts by exposing the “shadow” of the thing. By necessity, having a shadow meant that you were in the light.

Mr Hyde is intriguing as the alter ego of Dr Jekyll, but if he is the only one left of the two personalities, the dynamic with the audience changes. As long as light is on the other side of the coin, to mix metaphors a little, we need not fear the dark—but when it seems as though dark is all there is remaining, we are lost.

Hyde the perfume by Hiram Green does not transform to Jekyll for me, although it does for some reviewers on the brand’s website. This is strong stuff, as expected. The deep red liquid promises a long-lasting, heavy scent, and delivers exactly that. I wore 2 spritzes from the sample vial in the discovery kit I bought, and it’s surrounded me all day with a cloud of resin. The fresh lemon-bergamot opening seems to segue seamlessly into the pungent labdanum that enmeshes the birch tar. Together, these powerhouse natural materials are meant to seal Hyde as a “leathery” perfume, but I don’t perceive it as such—perhaps I am too literal in the interpretation of leather. To me, it’s incense, but mostly chunks of resin. Something is burnt, and a lot more is yet to be. It is sticky and dry at the same time.

Other listed notes are cassie, oakmoss, and vanilla. These are perhaps more apparent in the drydown, like a dense confection made of tart, dried fruits. A sourness lingers, and only the cool smokiness left over from the birch tar can triumph over it.

Everyone has a dark side
Why don’t you like mine

—Melissa Auf der Maur, “Meet Me on the Dark Side”

5 thoughts on “Shadow exists because of light (Hyde by Hiram Green)

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