January 18, 2013
Miranda, John Williams Waterhouse
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea…
…when I did not know anything about vintage Guerlains, nor did I even knew who Guerlain was and had just discovered what perfume could be about. Just like many of us I have been reading the blogs and learning, and learning more, trying the new things and finally graduating into buying my first sample pack. Love, perfume, reflect, learn, repeat. At some point I aquired a dab sample of Sous Le Vent. I disliked the sharp and chilling (on that many-year-ago day I said “masculine”) blast of green and slightly woody that took my breath away. No, I did not scrub. I waited along, smelled a beautiful base and concluded that the top notes and the base did not match. End of the story, decided I. Oh indeed I was a child.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee
Monet's Rocks on the Mediterranean Coast
Who doesn’t love these beautiful rolling lines? I haven’t yet admitted my weakness toward the long lines of poetry, not long poems necessarily but the long lines, with each line containing a lot of words and a rolling rhythm. These lines do not look long, but as you start reading them out loud you realize that they are drawing out, unfolding in a rolling motion, as regular as the waves crushing into the shores. Poe creates the sound rhythm of the waves as the painter works with the color. I cannot help by digress and say that a perfumer may decide to use marine notes to envoke the sea, or perhaps work by riding on our associations – tropical flowers for “a beach” perhaps, or citruses for the Mediterranean.
When I smelled Sous Le Vent in my more recent perfumista time I thought of the citruses and the Mediterranean. And it was clear enough that there was a blast of a cold wind in this potion – but this time I did not think of that refreshing yet brisk mixture of citruses and tarragon as particularly masculine. I was ready to be windswept, and I did not mind the coolness and the crispness. I enjoyed every bit of it. And, unlike poor Annabel Lee, I survived it.
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee
Close up of 'The Angel' by Giulio Monteverde, Giulio Monteverde family grave, Verano Monumental Cemetery, Rome, Italy
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
My experiences of reading the last lines of the poem and of gluing myself to my own wrist (there is no need to do it until you’re in the deep drydown, Sous Le Vent has a marvelous projection) are similar. The beautiful soft run of the rolling lines – the whirlwind of an elegant classy green notes that never completely lose the floralcy, thank iris for that – soft as a feather yet absolutely definitive – and a declaration of love that will not lose its strength and dedication.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
Casper David Friedrich Wanderer above the Sea and the Fog
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Almost the entire month of January since the beginning of the new year I was inseparable from Sous Le Vent. I adore that chilly wind. After all, it is said in the poem that was brought on by the angels from above.
-Olga Rowe, Contributor
Art direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief
What was your first vintage Guerlain or your favorite Edgar Allan Poe story.
Edgar Allan Poe January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849. One of the great American writers, Poe is known as the father of American Gothic. He married his 13 year old cousin Virginia Clemm in 1836 and she died of consumption at age 23. Annabel Lee was written in her memory. Poe died of mysterious causes less than two years later. Guerlain's Sous Le Vent was created in 1933 by Jaques Guerlain for Josephine Baker.-MC