September 29, 2017
Maria McElroy of Aroma M via instagram
“Brown is surely the most underserved color in all of perfumery.” ~ Maria McElroy
Perfumer Maria McElroy of aroma M is known and loved for her initial Geisha series of roll-on perfumes; in 2011 she was showcased in ÇaFleureBon’s Profiles in American Perfumery. Maria has since branched out into Eastern-inspired beauty products based upon luxurious camellia oil for face, hair, body and bath. She also has expanded her original oil-based fragrances to include eau de parfum versions. When Geisha Marron assumed an edp format, I was thrilled to be able to share it with you. Like each of Maria’s offerings, it is a tiny jewel of fragrance with its own particular atmosphere.
Itō Jakuchū (Japanese, 1716-1800) ~ White Plum Blossoms in Moonlight
Geisha Marron is autumn unexpected, in that one doesn’t habitually associate this season with a primarily white floral fragrance.
Painting Nihonga Geijyutu
Marron has a double meaning: in French it serves as both the word for chestnut and the color brown. Although far less frequently nowadays, one can still find roasted chestnut vendors with their pushcarts (if you know where to look) throughout a New York or Boston autumn. It is in Japan where they still thrive, leaving seductively beckoning toasted trails in their wake as winds turn mordantly crisp. The sense of autumn’s brevity only adds to its charm; it presages still-slumbering winter, soon to awaken in howling earnest.
Hidetoshi Mito ©
How glorious the varied hues; how inadequate the simple monosyllable BROWN. Think sepias, ochres, ambers, burnt and raw umber, russet, sandy shades, coffee, mocha, tan, caramel, walnut, milk and dark chocolate, copper, bronze, even khaki! My mother loved to paint in oils, and she would point to the bark of trees and inquire: “What do you see? It’s not just brown – there are so many colors there…” I grew to love browns of every description.
Marlene Dietrich 1930s ©
So it is with Geisha Marron. Maria has chosen the spicy-nutty chestnut blossom, a white flower – to combine with a luscious Japanese white magnolia and a winking muguet note (classically French). This bouquet benefits from the scintillating lift of citrus notes: mandarin, bergamot, and grapefruit. Marron’s subtly leathery, musky base flirts discreetly with divine decay – but only just. As a lifelong connoisseuse of Japanese incense, art, music, food, tea and culture in general – and one who spends time regularly in Japan (her husband is Japanese and a chef!), it is not in Maria’s aesthetic sense to overdose. Balance and harmony must be achieved and sustained. This delicate, exquisite floral glimmers like nearly-extinguished embers, imparting a muted foreshadowing of looming wintertide lurking beneath the blossoms..Notes: grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, muguet, japanese magnolia, chestnut blossom (white flower), leather, musk
Thank you for my sample, Maria! My nose is my own…
~ Ida Meister, Senior Editor
~ Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
aroma M Geisha Marron EDP photo via Maria McElroy
Thanks to Maria McElroy, we have a dram of Geisha Marron edp for our US one registered reader or a dram of Geisha Marron Oil for our Canada and Europe readers. Please be sure to register. There is one winner. To be eligible please let us know what appeals to you about Ida’s review, where you live, your favorite aroma M perfume, or what you love about chestnuts, brown, autumn!
Follow us @cafleurebon and aroma_m_perfume on Instagram