Almost Too Much Love: Frost by St. Clair Scents

I wrote a short overview/review of St.Clair Scents perfumes not long ago. As I continued to wear Frost, it just asked for more. When a fragrance keeps calling me, I answer. With love.

Frost is named after famous New England poet Robert Frost, whose summer writing cabin in the woods still stands 25 miles away from Diane St.Clair’s farm.

When I read this information for the first time, it made me curious. To name a fragrance after this great poet? I admit I love Frost’s lyrical expression. My favorite poem by Robert Frost is “Acceptance”: we all need more of it! So, what was the first thing I did? Sample the perfume? No. I read the poem “To Earthward” over and over again.

Frost, as the poet. Yet, come Winter and first C-minuses, I became aware that Frost (fragrance) is so soothing – a perfect cold-weather fragrance, capturing the energy of Spring and warmth of Summer, releasing it in deep and slow fragrant breaths, reminding me of a famous quote:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

I am not a “Winter person” (as I take a closer look at St. Clair Scents newest fragrance, Casablanca, I sense that Diane isn’t either…). The more temperatures drop, the more I tend to seek out perfumes that will keep me warm, fragrant stories or poems one might describe as cozy, like “fireplace fragrances”. Or the ones with breath heavy with roses, spices or vanilla. Trying to keep that flame of invincible Summer in me burning…

On the dark, gloomy and cold January mornings, lacking sunlight, while I dream of sizzling hot seaside beaches and warm hugs of Adriatic Sea, I am still grateful for all the varieties that living in a mild continental climate provides: to watch four seasons change is a blessing. When it comes to perfumes, it is also interesting to observe how they perform at the different times of a year!

Frost slowly became my first choice fragrance this Winter. If you prefer that classification of perfumes, yes, this is a unisex Winter fragrance by all means! It felt so comforting to wear Frost and read a book of poems, cuddled at home and wrapped in a warm blanket on peaceful holiday afternoons. Frost felt like…home. Like…hope. Like…life.

Paradoxes and complexities of life: without shades, we would appreciate sunshine less, without tears, smiles would be taken for granted.

Without poets and artists, this World would be a sad place!

Without artisan, indie perfumers…the term “niche” would become just an overused word in the perfume world.

Paradoxes and complexities of a perfume: Diane is well aware of cycles of Nature. There’s no better teacher than farm life to provide you with first hand experience of it’s ways, and she managed to translate that longing for warmth (of emotions and weather) in fine olfactory sentences and rhymes, earthbound in the sense of knowing how sweet warm earth smells, how it’s breath mixes with yours, and how connecting with Nature nurtures our souls. Olfactive poetry does the same. Can’t you just feel the scent of a foggy farm morning just by looking at this photo?

Like a poet, the perfumer thinks about composition, balance, notes as words forming sentences and meanings.You instinctively “feel” extraordinary poetry – just as you can instinctively “know” when a perfume is a fine work of art. If you can feel it singing, whispering on your skin, if it touches your soul – you can never forget that feeling!

This fragrance also follows stages of love as described in the famous poem “To Eartward”.

Love and attraction change over years or stages of a relationship, fragrances change in their development and life cycle.

Frost is a journey starting with young love, full of hope:

“Love at the lips was touch

As sweet as I could bear;

And once that seemed too much;

I lived on air.”

The opening is a bright, soothing and comforting verse of freshly cut chunks of citruses, peel living its scent on your warm fingers, juices marking their trail of condensed sunshine. First whiffs are softened around the edges with petals of a bright rose, smooth like lips going over lips, exploring, tingling and warm at the same time. That warmth is gently dark: like a fire burning in an open stove, earthy-woody comfort.

We remember all our first kisses as sweet, musky, intoxicating and passionate. Yet, even at its very beginning, bergamot bright, filled with sparkling sunshine, there is a fine darkness present: bitter bark and the feeling of rough earth, clove-infused.

You are flying, living on air and the feeling of love is so strong that it almost hurts:

“I craved strong sweets, but those

Seemed strong when I was young;

The petal of the rose

It was that stung.”

Sprays of a juicy rose stream through, flying on wings of lush green tones.

After a couple of minutes, darker layers shift upwards, circling gently, like soft fog rising from the ground. Patchouli-like earthy tones are in the background, clove lingering in shades. Burnt, dry clove, bittersweet…like a romance withering and dying slowly.

Just as the poet intentionally engages all the senses – from taste, scent, touch, and sound, and makes a very strong comparison between the past and the present, moving from honeysuckle sweet vibes to its opposite: a tears-salty taste, so does the fragrance shift, like liquid poetry. Dynamics of relationship and the fragrance change…

After the initial introduction, florals seem thoughtful, almost sad. Roses and jasmine are present, but more like a dry bouquet placed as centerpiece decoration on a solid wood table. The fragrance reflects a feeling of a late afternoon breeze rolling down from a woody hillside, its waves ripping above a flower garden, traces of incense-colored smoke lingering above. Memories of happier days…of love and passion that used to be.

Just as the narrator in the poem at the end longs for the feeling of earth against all the body, the fragrance changes its mood:

I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark

Of almost too much love,

The sweet of bitter bark

And burning clove.

As time passes, the “earthward” element becomes prominent. I feel the softness of dark earth, there are no sharp angles or anything to disturb this balance: earthy and woody feeling grows and glides, with an almost vetiver touch, yet I do sense occasional citrusy sparks. In the end, the fragrance stays quite skin close, refined and elegant. Seamless and voluptuous, lingering like feelings that refuse to go away.

The longer I enjoyed it, the more I thought that this fragrance is brilliant. It’s small yet expressive nuances and the very cadence in which the perfume performs is absolutely spectacular.

Please bear in mind that this is a “natural” fragrance: although the concentration is 20%, which would put it into Extrait perfume category, naturals desperately need your skin (and patience) to breathe and live, to bloom fully. Frost has a dream-like quality, but if you expect bombastic sillage or performance – you might be disappointed. If you think that naturals are boring, prepare to change this assumption!

Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin Yellow and Green, Coriander, Petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer Lemon

Middle Notes: Honeysuckle Accord, Rose Geranium, Elderflower Absolute, Petitgrain Absolute

Base Notes: Cistus, Labdanum Absolute, Vanilla Absolute, Vetiver , Cedar, Smoke, Clove Absolute

Frost is available at St.Clair Scents: 30 ml/125USD, or 2ml sprayers/10USD.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl Blog, Diane St. Clair

Samples provided by St.Clair Scents, opinions of my own.

Disclaimer

To Earthward

Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963.

Love at the lips was touch

As sweet as I could bear;

And once that seemed too much;

I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,

The flow of—was it musk

From hidden grapevine springs

Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache

From sprays of honeysuckle

That when they’re gathered shake

Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those

Seemed strong when I was young;

The petal of the rose

It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,

That is not dashed with pain

And weariness and fault;

I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark

Of almost too much love,

The sweet of bitter bark

And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred

I take away my hand

From leaning on it hard

In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:

I long for weight and strength

To feel the earth as rough

To all my length.

2 thoughts on “Almost Too Much Love: Frost by St. Clair Scents

  1. Your writing is sublime. I am a huge fan of the perfume and am thrilled to see her getting the accolades she so richly deserves. Thank you for this spectacular review of Frost.

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