The way your lips move when you pronounce its name…
Quite a mouthful sounds so grand, happy, and sad at the same time.
I received a beautiful package.
Puredistance Warszawa, a fragrance honoring this city. It was carefully crafted and released in 2016. but one-year exclusivity was granted to Missala family, owners of Perfumeria Quality in Warsaw. This November it will be available worldwide. The nose behind it is Antoine Lie.
The message of the package in which it had arrived is clear: a silver frame for a masterpiece, green velvet, aiming to make you feel special and lavish. It did:
I approached it with respect, ignoring all the information I have gathered before receiving it. Notes, structure, the way others experienced its breath or written about it. The green ribbon is off, I hold in my hands a small vial of promises! A 25% pure Perfume Extract, to be exact.
I thought about it for days. At the same time, just as I was ready to finally test it on my skin, a friend visited the city and sent me afresh photos of Warsaw, taken last week:
Since there was no ball I had to go to, I dressed up – for the perfume, feeling silly. Velvet and lace, corset, and perfume. Felt just right.
My first breath was deep. Eyes closed, I felt the sweetish floral kiss of violets on a bed of white flowers, grand and quite ladylike. Velvet and lace. Feminine, classy feminine. Just a bit powdery but not overly sweet, which was never my game anyway. The first association that came to my mind were paintings of Stanisław Wyspiański, a multifaceted Polish artist:
Warszawa recalls the era of Fryderyk Chopin, one of the most famous Warsawians. He learned to play the piano there and gave his first concert when he was eight years old, performing in the salons of the Warsaw aristocracy, capturing the sound of his melodic lines of dreamy romanticism. Velvet and lace, a lot of grace. I bet those salons smelled just like this. As the story goes, Jan Ewoud Vos was inspired by Chopin’s Nocturne No.20: a short piece of music with a rich array of depth and emotion for both the pianist and listener. If you listen to it, you might understand this perfume better.
As the first impression of grandeur fades away, I find the heart of it providing a very sensual sensation of jasmine in a slow and sensual dance with vetiver. Spanish like, just like the middle notes of Nocturne No.20 in C sharp minor.
It sublimes slowly into David Bowie’s Warsaw. I feel styrax, resin-like, and down to earth. Bowie dedicated a song to the city he stopped in during 70’ – because he was afraid to fly and traveled by train. That kind of situation, when you travel and stop by accident somewhere and suddenly realize that all things happen for a reason…and you find yourself in a world you don’t belong to but somehow feel at home.
You should know that Warsaw was quite different in the 70’ than it is now. I know the difference, coming from a country that was similarly “different” and I can just imagine how Bowie felt when he got off that train at Gdanska station.
A legal alien. Inhaling the scent of a city before him.
The finale, if you might call it that since it lasts and lasts, is somewhat quieter, in the lower register of tones but playful, refined like partiture of a great classic music theme, twisting the scents in a rather a melancholy filled way. Happy and sad at the same time. Timeless elegance. It requires self-confidence…
Wear it to seduce yourself, to feel good in your skin. With a hint of Slavic melancholy in your eyes…
Dzien dobry, Warszawa!
Notes: Galbanum, Grapefruit, Violet Leaf, Jasmin Absolute, Broom Absolute, Orris butter, Patchouli, Vetiver, and Styrax.
The Plum Girl