Pretty, yes, but when smelling "La Haie Fleurie du Hameau" I can't get past the imagery of a Victorian funeral parlor. It's not the lily influence, necessarily--I often find lilies bring a sunny carnality to blends---there's just something so moth-ball preserved and waxy about "La Haie Fleurie du Hameau". It opens with a sterile, lilac-like sweetness; sugary, creamy and watery all at the same time. As it progresses into its heart, a tinny tuberose unfurls, offering a hint of fleshiness and warmth (thank goodness--"cool fleshiness" would've been the final nail in this coffin of a fragrance). Upon drydown, only a whisper of the florals float over a soapy softness, that which reminds me of the first breeze through a chiffon that had been tucked away in a chest for decades. To me, this smells of death...but in an odd, cheery "acceptance of mortality" sort of way, not reflective of decay or something more sinister but as a pensive and ghostly intepretation of life gone by. It's quiet, reflective and beaming; an auric interpretation of moving toward "the white light".
Rosy, rosy, rosy and ballerina pink, "Rose di Siwa" is the ultimate princess of rose scents; fussy-formal and "Queen of Hearts" Victorian rose garden. Tiny, delicate greenery encircles round, pink roses like painted lace; the rose is sweet, with a nectar feel taken on by the inclusion of pretty-pink lychee. Hawthorn cuts the syrupy-sweetness and adds a hint of powdery dryness. The rose evolves into a refined tea, with violet adding a hazy dash of melancholy to the mix. "Rose di Siwa" is totally for dreamy, hyper-feminine romantics. It's such a "Cinderella" of scent and so royally dignified--but in a cutesy, fairy-tale way. Very pretty.
I'm thrown through a loop after testing "Fleurs d'Oranger"--- it pulls me away from referencing other Serge Lutens options. This is a very pretty scent; unfortunately, I smelled Glade's "Country Garden" vacuum powder first and a strong similarity between the two is undeniable. I like the potpourri scent of the floor powder...but I just can't imagine wearing it. I'm used to the off-kilter magic of Lutens scents like "Gris Clair","Douce Amere", "La Myrrhe", "Fleurs d'Citronnier" and "A la Nuit". I'm surprised "Fleurs d'Oranger" originated from the same house.
There's a patient wisdom to "Joy", as if it's cozy, aldehylic rosiness is like a ray of sunshine through the gathering dust of a fallen empire. Its name would imply ecstatic bouyancy, but in fact, this scent feels more quietly optimistic and reflective than jump-around happy. It's clearer than the decadent orientals dripping off flappers of the 1920's and seems appropriate for evening wear and both a work and home environment---a clever understanding by the house of Patou, considering the financial conditions surrounding its time of release. "Joy" reads like a fresher, airier version of "Chanel No. 5"; where the latter evolves into a creamy-sweet girliness, "Joy" mimics a sun rising and warming dawn---sparkling, free, renewing. Upon first application, the aldehydes tune like an orchestra, then slowly---perhaps, even wih a dash of melancholy--welcome rising notes of slighty castille-soapy-creamy warmth, a hint of summer bouquet, then rose emerges. The rose note is sweet, velvety, without ever evolving into a blood-metallic aftertaste found elsewhere in similar notes. Slightly powdery, but with a shimmering crispness; it's cuddly, womanly but not flamboyantly so--referencing early morning relaxing, that following a shower. Finally, "Joy" dries down into a sheer, animalic softness that's neither too much nor too little carnality. Lovely, lovely and not in the least bit dated, "Joy" is the perfect andecdote to the blues; it tries to "cheer up" while respecting the significance of pain, tragedy and dissapointment. A thoughtfully arranged, sparkling gem.
Spicy, creamy green! Reminds me slightly of "Emeraude" with its spicy, green accords. There is a creamy powderiness that floats over "Connemara's" mossy base, giving off a refined, leather air. Wash with "Irish Spring" soap, put on Creed's "Tuberose Indiana" and you'll find a good (though, oddly cost-contrasting) impression of this fragrance. "Connemara" is stong, but pleasant to noses who love spicy green.
It's a shame for me, really because this fragrance is actually very lovely; quiet and pensive, subtle and paper-like. However, once it hits my skin, "Stella" develops into the most acrid stuff imaginable. If only I could hold onto the loveliness of "Stella" before it comes into contact with my body chemistry! Test this one first--it may turn bitter on some!
At first spray, Hanae Mori "Butterfly" seemed pleasant but common enough. My jerk reaction: "Ah, another fruity gourmande scent". Although "HMB" was released amongst the cellophane freshness of '90s scents(reaching for chypre),the current market hasn't been lacking in those fragrances with "yummy" appeal.
Given this, I was a bit quick to disregard it and sniff onto the next.Things would've gone as usual, except...
"Hanae Mori" grew on me--hauntingly,in a sense. Without my realizing it,the smell developed like some luscious dessert baking on my skin. I would catch drifts of the creamiest, tartest confection I could ever conjure--it couldn't have seemed more provocative if it had a "drink me" sign floating above it, or had been sniffed out by truffle swine.
Just before I could grow sick of it's honeyed-sweetness, flashes of wood and sunlight sparked in my head and I felt like I was walking out of a hayfield into a forest.Berries and bark swirled my cilia, until I reached a dusky dry place, that manifested as...dried leaves...or the pollenesque wings of a butterfly. Amazing, really.
So that is what "Hanae Mori" is to me; flowerbuds in spring, the overipe sweetness and solar haze of summer, the spicy crispness of autumn, the luminous snowbank or holiday pie baking in the oven. It is a rare violin, an ancient nordic church on a hill of berries, the aura around a child amongst cherry blossoms or pop star posters in a plastic house. "Hanae Mori" is every story and will end up seeming all the more extraordinary because of it. It's sort of like becoming friends with a rare and unusual person--the kind you weren't sure you could trust at first, simply because she seemed too patient and gosh darn sweet.