When the nose is experiencing the color rather than the eyes

After binge watching Versailles on Netflix a few weeks ago when I had some time off, a—shall we say, very graphic—drama about the earlier life and reign of Louis XIV with much intrigue but very little mention of perfume (there is some, notably the signature cologne of his brother Philippe, and scenes where elaborately dressed women dab liquids from ornate vials onto their necks, behind the ears), I found myself reeling from the intensity so much that all my brain could handle for entertainment after that were reruns of Mr Bean. They were much funnier when I was a tween, somehow, but some still make me laugh, because one’s got to laugh!

Now, said brain is able to take in more substantial audiovisual content, and I’ve been watching random black-and-white films without knowing anything about them beforehand. The Hothouse (1964) and The Widower (1958) are both driven by dialogue between very few characters and seem to be cautionary tales about ego and jealousy. Each was artful but preposterous and depressing in its own way and hopefully won’t stay with me for long.

Color has been provided courtesy of perfume, namely a small decant of Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka over the last couple of days. Ashoka boasts one of the longest lists of notes I have seen, and it’s fun to try to smell each one, although I wasn’t able to reach that level of granularity. It is a fig perfume, but a complex one. At the opening, I smell other fruits—a pear note appears, but it doesn’t last long, and is not listed. Lotus, which is listed, gives a strong and briefly vintage feel (the same as I first encountered in Hiram Green Voyage 2019). It blends nicely with a vegetal green note, which makes way for a powdery iris and warm fig scent. Ashoka is also a sandalwood perfume, exuding waves of comforting creaminess. It wafts milky and elegant all day. Some reviewers have described a strong coconut note, and to me it’s never quite that, but I understand what they mean.

Later, the warmth becomes spicier, and the incense is apparent in this resinous layer. This is a serious, enswathing perfume that speaks of being in the company of someone you can trust. Overall, it smelled more creamy and fruity on my skin and slightly greener on fabric, but the green is always supporting, never at the forefront.

As far as perfumes go, Ashoka beautifully manages to evoke a wide spectrum of colors with its ingredients.

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