Some folk leave a large sillage behind them. They were not small characters try as they might to behave as though they were. The gale of life, as A.E. Housman wrote, blew high through them. George Sand of course is a case in point.
It’s sort of too bad about George. She was so famous in the 19th century for her writing and is now famous mostly for the unapologetic originality of her life. She did not prosper at the career then considered appropriate for all women, marriage. In her writing George has a great deal to say about bad marriages and the trouble they cause, and since she believed in the interconnectedness of human beings, the far reaching consequences of these troubles. George was the first to point out that a society that is unhappy in its molecular form, is unhappy in the aggregate as well.
As to perfume George has been pegged as a wearer of amber. I don’t know why. Possibly it’s the unisex quality of amber, or maybe one of her perfume recipes survives somewhere possibly at her home Nohant. In any event there are at least three versions of George’s perfume currently on the market, 1804 from Histoires de Parfums, George Sand from Maitre Parfumier et Gantier* and now this perfume from Nicolas de Barry also called George Sand.**
The perfume is one of the best from the set of samples I was sent by by the de Barry company and also one of the most lasting. George is a a rich patchouli, amber, sandalwood and oud fragrance with lemon notes in the head. There is also rose, which seems quite appropriate for George Sand romantic that she was.
This kind of fragrance always runs the risk of treading on Opium territory and George does so but remains to my mind both more floral than Opium and also slightly more subtle. This is a woody oriental that has something remarkably feminine about it, and I think the impression might be due to what I do not see listed but smell,, namely a rose and aldehydic heart. The waxy aldehydic note reminds me of George’s habit of scribbling her novels at night by candlelight, and gives the fragrance more delicacy and lift than you might expect from the list of ingredients. Of the Nicolas de Barry scents I have smelled so far this one is my favorite.
The perfume manages to convey something of George’s career as a woman of passion, an adventuress. But here, it’s clear that George’s heart ruled her head, and the subtitle of this perfume is L’Amoureuse which fits George the inveterate Lover very well.
I may not make it all the way through her novel Indiana, but I might well finish a bottle of this. George would have understood the impulse.
* Undina has pointed out that in a Scented Hound post, old MPG perfumes are now credited to the Maison de Haute Parfumerie Collection Nicolas de Barry label. I stand corrected.
**Kafka of Kafkaesque has pointed out that there is a third George Sand inspired scent from Jardins d’Ecrivains: George, which she has reviewed.