To The Moon And Back. In A Bottle.
This is not a review. This is an ode. To a perfume. ‘Extrait de parfum’, if you please.
Looking back, I think it’s safe to say I am obsessed with remembering things. Actually, it’s one of the reasons why I write, why I have always written. To be able to look into the past at a certain moment and remember. A recollection of emotions. So …
What is the nose if not our finest tool that can take us back?
It probably happened to you as well that you passed by a certain building or person and their smell sent some lightning bolts through your brain. Either a childhood memory or the feeling of closeness you had when being around a certain someone. That’s what I am talking about. That’s what the nose is good for.
This post is about an ‘extrait de parfum’. Orion by Tiziana Terenzi. And why it isn’t simply a collection of inflections of smell, but an experience.
Some years back I wrote a review for Ensis V Canto of the same house, Terenzi.
Back then, I said that when wearing Ensis you can be anyone or anything; the only thing you can’t do is staying still. Well, Orion is the same in the sense it does set you in motion, it does make you active, but in a different way.
But let me introduce you to it first.
Orion belongs to the Luna collection. What I found beautiful about it is the legend according to which ‘all the lost items or rather items that have gone astray, end up on the moon. The moon is a place where dreams or tears, love or season, days of idleness or unfinished deeds are kept in precious glass ampoules.’
Orion has top notes of bergamot, red currant, apple and pineapple, spicy middle notes of patchouli, birch, jasmine and thyme, and base notes of incense, amber and angarwood, musk and cedar.
When sailing with their father and grandfather, Tiziana and Paolo Terenzi saw Orion, the most spectacular constellation in the sky. The sense of adventure, the sense of safety they had when being surrounded by loved ones, the salty smell of the breeze and that mysterious whispers you almost hear at dawns – these are all things Tiziana successfully managed to catch in this scent.
My personal take on it
Somewhat similar to their story, mine has a dad and a constellation and childhood memories in it. When I was a kid, my dad used to show me the constellations of the starry sky of Drăgășani. Orion is by far the most vivid memory I have of that time. It’s also easiest to identify when you look up.
Because of those memories, I wanted to study astrophysics but, silly me, I didn’t know how nonexistent this option was in Romania at the time. So I continued with aerospace engineering, something close enough to the sky – I thought. It was a disappointment, that’s what it was, but a necessary disappointment. I went through five years of study, four years of a Ph.D. and three years at Airbus only to come out at the other end a copywriter with an engineering background. And yet, I feel like I have done nothing wrong with it. More importantly, I came to cherish and appreciate my past.
Why is this relevant to the story? Because when I first smelled Orion I didn’t particularly like it. For some reason I had expected to be swept off my feet, almost physically; I expected an explosion of smells. As much as astrophysics wasn’t possible, the sweeping off my feet didn’t happen. Consequently, I was disappointed, so I moved on to other Terenzi creations. Then, after a while, I came back, smelled it again. Its fragrance seemed to tell another story. A more wholesome, more real, more mature. Just like with my career, I had come to see a bigger, more complete picture.
If I can speak about the actual smell of this fragrance, I like the way it’s balanced.
It’s very strong, you could maybe even say manly, but without losing grace. Or you can say that it’s feminine without forgetting to be tough, even a little aggressive. But the kind of aggressiveness that protects, that embraces before the storm. It’s persistent but not overwhelming, it’s magical but realistic.
Some principles that guide my choosing a perfume.
I always said that perfume needs to be an extension and a complement of myself. Parfums need not annihilate a personal scent but embrace it, and, furthermore, empower it. And, if they tell a good story, that is just a bonus. Sure, one can argue a perfume simply needs to smell good; at that I’d say, sure, this applies the same way there is no such thing as cheap wine and expensive wine; it’s all just wine.
With age, a time comes when you simply don’t choose perfume um simply because you like how it smells. You choose a perfume because, when you close your eyes, it takes you places. Kind of like a journey through your past, present and future self.