Emerald city is a good home

by heytherewildflower

Today was my first non spastic not manic no adrenaline HAPPY day in Seattle. Calm and content. Not because I did something good or something good happened to me, just because.

just because I am wistfully  in love with this moody dreamy sleepy ocean city.

running through the rain.

and the green green trees dripping all over me

and dropping my purse in a puddle. but my purse (new purse) is such modernist thick leather it doesn’t matter…

downtown….getting asked for directions and GIVING THEM confidently

going to my favorite restaurant…now a weekly habit. drinking a “tamarintini” and eating a special curry the chef made just for me (a combination of my favorite flavors)

tiny romantic eye flirtations with three different boys…

feeling beautiful for the first time in weeks.

goood goood goood day

After I got this job, the first thing I did was decide what my first splurge would be. It was between Iphone and perfume. I chose perfume. To prepare for this choice, I bought a giant perfume handbook for research purposes.

In the end, I decided upon Apres D’Londee, first conceived of and mixed  in 1906. Said to smell like “violets after the rain” 

I chose it mainly because my favorite scents combine freshness and a bit of almond. some have orange or lime or green tea undertones, some don’t. This perfume doesn’t. I’ve always searched for a “cold” perfume with a hint of musk…and haven’t found anything that comes close until stumbling upon this one. the tradition and the poetry of ingredients and its relevance to Seattle also appeal to me of course.

The rainstorm… Après l’Ondée, which translates from French as “After the Rain Shower” seems like a radiant and exquisitely graceful composition, and yet there is the suggestion of a brooding darkness hiding in its opulent layers.  Like the memory of a first kiss, it was innocent and tender. It was born in 1906 during the joie de vivre of the Belle Époque with its vibrant art and social movements. It was a year when the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt still reigned supreme on stage; when Pablo Picasso was paid the enormous sum of 2,000 francs for thirty canvasses; when the Dreyfus Affair exposing French anti-Semitism came to an end and when Paul Cézanne, the father of modern art, passed away after being caught in a rainstorm…

My book says this of its character: Hawthorn and violets are doused in rain and come up cold and shivering. Cold scents of this type are rare. Its austere character comes from the liquorice-like aniseed note allied to the almond aroma of heliotrope. Underneath, way down, lies the echo of warmth in orris and musk-like ambrette seeds: Garbo-esque.

of its story: This rare scent is like a secret; Guerlain did not promote it, and few find it. Its not widely available. The name means ‘after the shower’, and never was a scent more aptly named. At the same time, it has a cerebral quality. For brainy types.

and a perfume freak reviewer said the following of it:

Après L’Ondée. It was created by Jacques Guerlain and launched in 1906. The notes are bergamot, neroli, aniseed, hawthorn, violet, heliotrope, iris and musk; there may also be carnation, rose, jasmine, vetiver and sandalwood.

Why do I love Après L’Ondée? Well, quite simply, it doesn’t smell like any of the better known heavyweight champions from Guerlain. As Luca Turin notes, “Its simplicity, its keen nostalgia, and its unadorned beauty make this an anomaly for Guerlain.” (quote via Chandler Burr) Après L’Ondée is comparatively without artifice; it smells like a celebration of its components as they might be found in nature: a whisper of anise, then masses of violets soaked by rain, a sprig of hawthorn. There is a touch of pepper, perhaps from the carnation, and the iris lends a mild earthiness and a lightly powdered finish. There is vanilla, but it is restrained. It is, quite simply, lovely.

It smells simultaneously very old-fashioned (it is extraordinarily lady-like and well behaved) and very modern (in feeling it could be almost be a precursor to the Aqua Allegoria line, the modern Guerlain range that is meant to “showcase nature”). According to Susan Irvine, it is a fragrance “for brainy types” (Perfume Guide, p. 25). Trust me, I am under no illusions that that redeems my failure to adequately appreciate Mitsouko, but it is a comforting notion all the same.

While I was dithering about what to add to my collection next, Guerlain went right ahead and discontinued the parfum form of Après L’Ondée. The Eau de Toilette is still sold in France, but it is no longer exported to the US, and is an ephemeral experience in any case. If you are willing to pay for its new “hard to find” status, you can still find bottles online.

Isn’t that just beyond gorgeous? Spending the greater chunk of my first post college partum paycheck on a dream….siiiiiiiiigh