A simple apple that was all that it took to get humans thrown out of Eden. Now everybody likes apples, but how many of us would go to that extreme for one? Apple strudel properly made? Yes, there’s nothing quite like it, or a Tarte Tatin, also a possibility. If the devil showed up with a Dutch apple pie, we may guess that we’d waiver on the path of virtue. Apples are so far up on my list of Good Things in life, that I have been known to choose an apple desert over a chocolate one (horrors!).
But to return to the original question, is an apple worth Eden?
I’ve had occasion to remember before on this blog, that apples actually belong to the rose family, and therefore there is a resemblance between the smells of roses and apples. But I’ve never found an apple perfume that really knocked me sideways. I’m not counting Demeters, and the many apple scents released by Donna Karan in the Be Delicious series, which smelled plasticky to me, and wouldn’t have knocked me any direction let alone sideways. The scent of a good ripe apple, or even a cider is something you have to do right, after all everyone knows the scent.
There was Joop’s All About Eve, this was a slightly green fruity floral around the turn of the century, and has probably been reformulated, but people still mention it on Fragrantica. What I liked about it was the simplicity of the formula and its upfront apple note. You did get something like a flowery apple pie scent from it with vanilla and apple and cinnamon, bundled with flowers and jasmine over vetiver. All About was a German perfume, which meant that it was modern and had a simplicity and a clarity to it.
If you wanted mid-century French style in an apple fragrance…well, you probably wouldn’t get it. The French are not literalists. Nina Ricci’s Fille d’ Eve is all I can think of from the fifties and sixties. Fille d’Eve, which I only smelled once, was green and plummy rather than apple-y, and although one poster on Fragrantica likens it to Chamade and Patou’s Caline, I thought it was a bit more like a green chypre with fruit notes in it, maybe a bit like YSL’s Y, though it was older, dating from 1956.
Nowadays if I want the apple note I get it from Christopher Brosius’ Gathering Apples, which smells exactly like picking apples. When we were first married, sometimes the Hub and I were in low water, and when that happened, I stuck to my budget, buying produce in bulk, and doing anything I could to it to stretch the dollars. Apples were on the menu one October, and the poor Hub suffered through apple sauce and apple pie, and apple butter, roasted apples, stewed apples, apple betties- oh, it got repetitive. But I still like the smell of picking apples, and that is what you get in Chris Brosius’ perfume: the smell of air, green leaves, and apples, slightly tart, with the faintest afterthought of rose in there somewhere.
Actually, I sometimes play a dirty trick with this perfume by combining it with old L’Origan. Gathering Apples gives a modern lift to the old classic and people no longer know what you’re wearing. “What is that?” is the response I’ve gotten, and when the two perfumes mix, the slightly caramellic notes in L’Origan make me think faintly of apple pie.
Which brings me right back to the origins of this post. If I’d been Eve, I wouldn’t have set foot out of Eden for anything less than deep dish Dutch Apple.