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  1. #1

    Default A "Comptoir Sud Pacifique" mini-Sniff

    The perfume SA gave me these samples, so I thought I'd have some fun ...

    We are in the Fiji Islands where, not only is it beautiful, everyone conveniently speaks three languages: Fijian, English and Hindi. At daybreak, lovely Priya puts on her grass skirt and enters her Grandmother Selina's thatched-roof hut. With no outsiders to criticize them, they dress in the old way here. Out of respect, Priya says in Fijian, "Ni sa yadra," or good morning. Her grandmother replies good morning and they go outside. Before their thatched-roof huts spreads white sand and crystal clear ocean. They live alone on a lava island, just them, the wild goats, the palm trees, and the massive black rock, formed from a volcano. Years ago, she and Priya chose exile here to escape the jealously of the chief’s young bride—of Priya for her flaming red hair, thickly curled, and grandmother for her wonderful perfumes. When the bride plotted against them, Grandmother Selina left with Priya. At first Priya cried because she missed her childhood playmate, Ravi, but now she barely remembers him.

    Selina says, “Soon it will be time for the great Meke, in which we will sing and dance the history and stories of our islands. Do you remember the Meke, Priya?”
    “Yes, I do,” Priya replies. “Will there also be a lovo, a feast of food cooked in the earth while covered with banana leaves? In a ceremony, will they mix and drink yaqona (kava)?”
    “You remember well. This time we will go. By now the chief is used to his bride and may not be so easily swayed. We will take my best perfume and offer it to the chief. Will you help me pick from these five?”

    After a sumptuous breakfast of goat’s milk, bananas, pawpaws, boiled dalo root (this is quite a fruitful island), and lobster cooked in herbed coconut milk, they begin.

    COMPTOIR SUD PACIFIQUE (Trading Post of the South Pacific). Established in 1974 by (from the website) "Josée and Pierre Fournier, an audacious couple, lover of freedom, unlimitedness and journeys,” this line invites us to let their mix and match fragrances help us escape to the South Pacific.

    COCO FIGUE: Top: Fig’s heart, vanilla flower, coconut pulp. Mid: Hot milk mousse, coconut powder. Base: Fig leaves, Sweet cracking coconut milk, vanilla from Madagascar. “Oh, Grandmother Selina. This is my favorite. It smells exactly like the best fresh coconut. How can anything be better than this, assuming one likes coconut.”

    VANILLA EXTREME. Top: Sugar Vanilla, Heliotrope. Mid & Base: Vanmillas Absolute. “Sorry, I was wrong grandmother. This is the best. It smells like vanilla and sweet milk”

    VANILLE COCO. Top: Heliotrope. Mid & Base: Coconut Milk and Islands Vanilla. “No, this one is certainly the best because it joins them both! Perhaps you should give the chief this one.” Priya frowns. “But Grandma, I thought you had whole collections: vanillas, fresh waters, florals, fruity, woodsy, spicy.” Grandmother Selina replies, “I do, but not handy. Here, try this one.”

    AQUA MOTO. Top: Helychrisum. Mid: Ocean Accord, Lily of the Valley, Warm Sand. Base: Fucus. Priya takes a sniff and sneezes. “Oh, sorry,” Selina says. “I used more synthetics in that one.” Priya doesn’t ask how Selina got them. Once a week a boat of deep sea fishermen pass near and she has seen grandmother Selina talk to them and receive things. Priya has never met the men. Grandma makes her hide in the rocks with the goats when they come. “What’s fucus and helychrisum,” Priya asks. Grandma retrieves a vile from a box labelled Perfumery Notes Kit and lets her smell. To Priya it's sugary, almost like licorice. Grandma explains the note is burnt sugary/curry fenugreek. “And Fucus?” Grandma Selina explains that fucus is the seaweed full of iodine they always find on the beach. “It does smell like the ocean,” Priya says, “but some of the chemicals are suffocating me.” Again she sneezes.

    To Priya’s surprise, the deep sea fishermen appear and bring their boat close. “Time to leave,” Grandma says and gathers her perfumes. "We’ll let the chief smell the next one.” The goats bleat as if they sense their friends are leaving. One of the fishermen jumps from the boat into the water and comes ashore, looking at Priya with kind eyes. “May I carry you?” he offers. Grandma Selina nods. Priya nods. Besides, this fisherman is young and handsome. He turns and kneels so she can climb on his strong back. He carries her to the boat then returns for grandma Selina. It takes a while to reach the village. The Weke is underway when they arrive, dancers telling the story of the arrival of the Europeans, the source of Priya’s red hair. The dancing and music stop when they enter. All is silence as they approach the chief. His wife stands, but the chief indicates she should sit down. “Come, Ravi, my son," he says. "Bring your guests.” Priya is shocked to hear it is her childhood playmate who carried her on his back. "I bring you a present," Grandmother Selina says.

    MAGE D’ORIENT. The chief takes it and sniffs. Top note : Bergamot, Lime, fresh Coconut. Mid : Spray, Jasmine, Orange blossom. Base: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedar, Coconut, Tonka bean, Amber, Vanilla. “Lovely fragrance,” he says then sneezes. He beckons Priya to come try it. She sneezes, too. Ravi say, “This is my friend, Priya, and her grandmother, Selina, who have been gone so many years.” The chief looks at them, then at his son. “Sit, eat,” he says to Priya and Selina. They sit with the others. The chief signals for the dancing and singing to resume. Ravi sits beside Priya as his father sneezes again and puts away Selina’s perfume.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: A "Comptoir Sud Pacifique" mini-Sniff

    What a wonderful backdrop , that being the Fijian islands to sample these very nice tropical scents. Love your descriptions. Interestingly, I am lucky to own all six.
    (1405)
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  3. #3

    Default Re: A "Comptoir Sud Pacifique" mini-Sniff

    Glad you liked it. Spent an afternoon on that deserted island on our honeymoon, complete with fishermen happening by.

  4. #4
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: A "Comptoir Sud Pacifique" mini-Sniff

    Thanks for another lovely story, ScentFan! l hope l get to hear what Priya thinks of Aloha Tiare, one of my favourites...
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

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