… for Words and Pictures, hosted by Meet me at Mikes

rose red

When I was in my 20’s, I was fascinated by perfume, especially the classics of the great French perfume houses – oh, the incomparable glamour!  I was particularly keen to wear Jean Patou’s Joy, reputed to be the “costliest perfume in the world”.  Created in 1930 as a reaction to the Wall Street Crash, Patou sought to create an extravagant scent of jasmine and rose.  Apparently twenty-eight dozen roses are required to make 30mls of the parfum.  Costly Bulgarian roses are used as well as rose de May, only picked at dawn when the perfume is strongest.  I read some time ago that Joy was no longer “the costliest …”, and that this title rightly belonged to Bal a Versailles by Jean Desprez.  Created in 1962, Bulgarian, Anatolian and May roses are used.  Now these are real perfumes, not like the sanitised, synthetic, clean scents popular today.   Grain de musc makes reference to the extravagance of such classic scents as “graveyards of blossoms” in a fascinating essay about the traditions of French perfumery in using unlovely scents to temper and throw into relief the magnificent essences of flowers, spices and the like. 

These heady, grand scents don’t really fit in with our perceived contemporary lifestyles, but I would like to think that there will come a time to be that mysterious woman-of-a-certain-age leaving an enigmatic, grown-up, heavenly scent (rose, jasmine, sandalwood …) in her wake.

snow white

Please excuse the indulgence and sentimentality of these photos, I couldn’t resist …

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