Tuesday, September 20, 2011

jitterbug perfume from a garden of delights

Natural perfumer Anya McCoy is a witch, which obviously should be understood as a compliment. It doesn't require mentioning that her creations do not smell like typical synthetic-plus-natural products, but they also transcend the aromatherapy clichés of many natural fragrances. In fact, they speak of a deep wisdom about all manner of plants, as the herb women of yore passed it on from generation to generation. Thus witch (did you know the Royal Mail even features a lovely witch on a stamp? It's Nanny Ogg from Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld, a character worthy of emulation by all of us).
I like to believe that I would smell this wisdom in Anya's perfumes even without knowing about her magic garden in Florida, her ethnobotanical studies and long involvement in organic gardening. They have a certain "je ne sais quoi" that comes about when people genuinely and deeply live what they do ( I'm not being paid for writing this, though please note the samples were provided free of charge :-) ).

I'll be posting about several fragrances from "Anya's Garden" in weeks to come, but Pan deserves an article of its own. It brought a smile to my face the first time I smelled it and still does. Why? Well, for starters, it's a very nice, classic ambery Fougère made from superb materials. That's a good and rare thing and I'm giving bonus points to every perfume these days that will not clobber my nose with cheapo synthetic redundancies because the perfumer had no budget, no time or no more ideas (oh yes, I'm talking $$$$ niche here, not drugstore stuff).

But there's more, beyond the dusty green opening (cedar, hay, lavender), a strong, but really good, non-headshop patchouli that picks up on the dryness and builds a bridge to the gently sweetened beeswaxy drydown (but nothing here is sticky in the least). That "more" is the (billy) goat's hair tincture amply discussed by all reviewers of this scent, which makes the whole thing "Pan out" (cough!). It's not skanky - you have to deduct the droppings, pee and other barnyard details from the animal. This may be a rutty goat, but it is proudly-standing-on-top-of-Olympus-Mons-clean. It's not even erotically animalic (at least in an obvious way), as the homage to Tom Robbins' ribald novel Jitterbug Perfume would suggest, but really quite well-behaved  - definitely there, though, and certainly recognizable if you've spent time around hairy animals. It also seems to modulate the other notes and works nicely to harmonize them in Pan, as it perfectly connects with the coumarinic aspect of the lavender and the leafy-earthy patchouli. Pan can be applied generously, as sillage is rather moderate and it isn't too lasting either (the presence after an hour is very subtle). Great fun while it lasts though, just as those encounters with the horned God, and a beautiful perfume for men and venturous women which one should have around if only to sniff the bottle. My only suggestion would be to release a flanker (Pan-Demonium?) which would sufficiently dirty the original up in the direction of Jicky to create a flat-out erotic variant - a challenge when avoiding civet, but I really think Billy the goat is full of potential. 

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/PanandDaphnis.jpg)


Anya said...

Thank you so much for a good review and a great laugh, Tom! Pan-Demonium indeed. My perfumerie just just four years old, perhaps it is time to start with some flankers.

dukeofpallmall said...

Glad you liked it. And flank away, it's de rigeur these days ;).

eula_w said...

Thank you for reviewing a scent that deserves more recognition than it gets! Hoping for one day I can smell those scents too. :)

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