Is certainly blood, in whatever form, followed by certain flowers. While living in Vermont, I once grew a hybrid tea called Precious Platinum that, despite the name, was anything but silver. Platinum was a saturated scarlet, so intensely red that a local boy stopped by the garden one day and successfully petitioned for a rose to take to his girl with whom he’d had a fight.
I never heard if they made it up, but he couldn’t have found a redder rose if he’d trekked from one end of the state to the other. That rose, that particular rose, was the epitome of redness.
Sometimes in the cluttered disorganized closet I call a head, I decide to go looking for a red perfume. This is easier said than done, because really the redness of perfumes is pretty much based on a cross wiring of the brain which allows us to perceive a smell as a color. Those readers persnickety enough to require correct diction will already know the word that describes it: synesthesia. This probably means that I have a hopelessly anachronistic cerebellum, but whatever, I manage. To return to the search for the red perfume, I must admit that red is hard.
I mean that to me, the color is hard to translate into scent. Yellow is much easier, black simple, brown, amber and white present few difficulties, purple and lavender, and pink are walks in the park by comparison, and green is a slam dunk, only blue and red are hard. Some rose perfumes are red of course, but as I’ve mentioned roses smell of many things and it is the damask roses that smell reddest, so you have to choose your rose with care.
What do I think is red? Specifically? Caron’s Poivre is red, scarlet actually, particularly if you can find the vintage extract. Lanvin’s Spanish Geranium is red, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ American Beauty is crimson and her Nourouz is maroon. A number of Montales are red, most notably Aoud Queen Roses and Aoud Red Flowers, Estee Lauder’s Beautiful is red bordering on pink, and CB I Hate Perfume’s Tea Rose is red as well, though not particularly pink. Jean Patou’s Amour-Amour is red but its child Joy is pink? Why? I don’t know. That piece of garbled intelligence is fed me by my brain which after all goes in for this cross perception business in the first instance, and is therefore not to be trusted in matters of taste.
The reddest red perfume I’ve ever smelled? That would be Caron’s Coup de Fouet back in the day before it was, so to speak, watered down . Lately I’d recommend A Dozen Roses’ Shakespeare in Love which reminds me, come to think of it, of the very red rose that boy took out of my front garden. What’s your reddest perfume?