September 1, 2010
In 2008, Miuccia Prada released three new exclusives to her elusive line-
No. 8 Opoponax, No. 9 Benjoin, and No.10. Myrrhe.
No. 8 and No.10 were surprisingly dry, for resin- inspired scents.
Perhaps it is because we associate opoponax with beloved Shalimar- and both Keiko Mecheri and Serge Lutens’ renditions of myrrh [Myrrhe et Merveilles, La Myrrhe] are shimmery with aldehydes and sweetly light-hearted.
No. 9 Benjoin was the one I most badly craved.
No. 9 begins with a lovely bitter-orange [bigarade], neroli; the heart [and also base] is benzoin, aka styrax .
Vanilla and musk are the foundation; sadly, I couldn’t locate more precise information.
Benzoin- styrax, storax, benjoin – is a resin which is pathogenic [bacteriocidal].
It is released from the injured tree, and resembles tears…hence the reference to ‘larmes de benjoin de Siam’.
There are two types of benzoin utilized in perfumery and the crafting of incense- benzoin Siam and benzoin Sumatra.
Siam- aka Styrax tonkinensis is found in Southeast Asia- Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.
Sumatran benzoin comes from the Indonesian island of the same name.
Benzoin has many healing qualities; it is used as a skin protectant in dermatology, and uses include an ingredient in ancient dentifrice, and anointment to heal wounds of the scalp and body.
As a fixative, it lends longevity when wed to other aromatic materials, as it slows the diffusion of volatile oils.
Prada No. 9 is a velvety sensual pleasure, an intimate sensuality for oneself.
And one’s chosen ones.
The tenderness of neroli in loving union with vanillic benzoin and soft musk, create an atmosphere of comfort and well-being.
The feeling of being swathed in a sybaritic cloak
No harm can befall you.
It doesn’t need to shout or impress; those who nuzzle one’s nape or nestle in the curve of a breast will be gratefully aware of its presence.
Benzoin harvesting- mimifroufrou.com
Benzoin resin- aromaceuticals.com
Prada exclusives – fragrantica.com
Ruben’s Fur Cloak- artsunlight.com
Klimt’s Kiss –counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com
–Ida Meister, Senior Editor