On the Jasmine Spectrum

jasmineThe new Aerin Lauder range has just been released, and along with the news that she is now a billionaire because of her share in the company’s stock, it was the most one had seen of her in the media for a long time.

Ikat Jasmine was in the pages of Vogue and I have been admiring it for the clean understated floral that it is, and observing that it falls into the sweet and fresh part of the jasmine range.  Having grown jasmine, I noticed that the scent falls into a spectrum of sorts the first day is the smell approximated by Ikat Jasmine, the second day takes on the famous stinky notes, which some French writers call odeur de femme, that underline the sweetness, and then on the third day the blossoms turn purple and fall off the plant with a decidedly indolic smell to them.Jasmine perfumes tend to fall into one or another of these zones, and if you like your jasmine redolent of sex and eventual death and other such potentially sexy momenti mori, the skull in the still life, then you are not going to care for this new Lauder.  This is first day jasmine, suitable for vacations, young girls, and theatre visits; no one will get up and move seats because of you and your perfume.

There are other jasmines, a good number of which were mentioned recently by the Nonblonde, a wench who admittedly loves a stench, but that roster contains a number of sensually smelly jasmines.   Lutens’ Sarrasins made her list, as did the more lady like Juicy Jasmine of Krigler.  Don’t be fooled by the name, there is nothing artless or naïve about that scent, it is rich and fond of a good old time, and could have been worn by Paulette Goddard in The Women. If Ikat jasmine is clean and chaste, Juicy is for lack of a better phrase, sex positive.

But there are jasmines that are dirtier still, jasmines that never seem to change their underwear, and those can be good fun to wear, though not perhaps at this time of year.  I still mourn the disappearance of Mona di Orio’s Oiro; that was great good dirty fun, and seems to be gone now. You can imitate the dry down with some jasmine oil from Egypt in a little coconut oil, and that is a less expensive option.

I also love the expansive old Acaciosa of Caron, which has nothing much to do with acacias to my nose but quite a lot to do with jasmine.  The first part of the fragrance with its pineapple element is very indolic-downright ripe, you worry that the pineapples were fermenting maybe, but afterwards the jasmine rises through this heavy fragrance phase, going from narcotic to sweet to flowery and finally ending in the cheerful freshness that is similar ground to the new Lauder’s.

Or, in other words Acaciosa traverses the jasmine spectrum but does it from stink to pink, and also manages to maintain a cheerful holiday tone during its excursion, which is a day trip.  Acaciosa is not a perfume for evenings or brooding.  It is like a bottle of good white wine light but nuanced.  I think it’s the nuance I’m missing so far from this new Lauder perfume.

Where do you fall on the jasmine spectrum?

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9 thoughts on “On the Jasmine Spectrum

  1. I’m so glad you articulated the smell as a spectrum. I probably have thought more of jasmine as “dirty” or “not dirty” with the corresponding thoughts of “don’t like it” and “like it.” The spectrum is a much more helpful way, because like you, I do miss the complexity that gets stripped out when a jasmine is too cleaned up. My favorite jasmine scent is actually an oil that is an Indian variety, but that is all the label tells me. There isn’t another pure oil that I am happy to wear as a perfume, but that one is complete in itself.

    • Jasmines do fall along this line, and like you, I find that sometimes the best way to wear them is as an essential oil.

      My favorite at the moment (if pressed) is probably Acaciosa, because it does have this joyous complexity, like a fine wine’s. Somehow Acaciosa is also wearable, which is odd really, you would think that it wasn’t.

  2. Not a big jasmine fan here – which still surprises me because I love most white florals, and I tend to like jasmine in a blend. But I like jasmine on the clean-and-green side. One of the few jasmine-centric fragrances I actually enjoy is Septimanie Pavillon des Fleurs (despite the name, it’s allllll jasmine). However, my small decant’s gone, and since I just don’t love jasmine I’m not going to replace it. Give me all the tuberoses, all of them (except maybe Tube Criminy, which has that rotting raw-chicken note), and some of the gardenias, but jasmine only in other company.

    Sarrasins sent me to scrub. Joy is famously and unrepentantly odeur de femme on me. It’s a bit horrifying, actually – I don’t mind smelling like that per se, but at least if it’s ME, the only person smelling it would be my husband. (!!!) I’m definitely not spraying THAT on, no way.

    • Jasmine runs the gamut doesn’t it? And stanky just isn’t your thing, or thang perhaps , in this context.

      Now I’m fascinated that you tried Septimanie Pavilion because that bottle on Aedes website made my heart go pitty pat. I do love a really expansive floral (see all the comments about Acaciosa which goes from stinky to prim and pretty) but I love the idea of a floral which stays pretty if not necessarily prim. Nobody wants to replicate Patty’s bathroom cleaner experience after all.

  3. Wow, jasmine flowers don’t last long, do they? Had no idea, never having grown them. I like the jasmine spectrum, from fresh to fecal. Tawaf is dewy jasmine picked early in the morning of its first day. Lili Bermuda Jasmine (if memory serves) is more second-to-third-day indolic.

    • P.S. Forgot to mention my unfortunate experience with Acaciosa. I wore the EDT to work once, and people going by my cube commented that they smelled potpourri, or worse, bathroom cleaner! Never wore it again.

    • Jasmine doesn’t stay long on the bush, and like you I enjoy the whole spectrum, even the worn underwear aspect.

      As for Acaciosa doing the bathroom cleanser imitation-eek! Never had that problem or that reaction. But then I am selective about the Carons I wear publicly and only wear the extracts, because the edts are not so reliable. The extracts don’t smell typical of anything but organic smells. Um- what I mean by that is, that so many people have been trained to think that this scent is “jasmine” or this scent “rose” by the likes of air freshener products- that the real thing smells like garbage or animals or bathrooms to them. This is my theory anyway, so in public I stick to perfumes like En Avion or Bellodgia. Folks can just about deal with those.

  4. You’re in luck too because there are so many really great jasmines out there. Lush’s Lust is a good option, which I forgot to mention, though that’s on the dirty end of the spectrum.

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