The two fragrances that I want to write about today really couldn’t be further apart. I could find some things that would bind them together, but really all that warrant this combination is that fact that the two fragrances arrived on the same day.
April Aromatics Ray of Light; “Ray of Light is an EdP flooding us with life (…) confidence, joy and clarity.”
Serge Lutens Orpheline; “Fragile but whole. Its name hints at a break but before the fissures show…”
Ray of light is lemon full on; you can smell the oil from the citrus peels and feel the yellowness in a way that makes this citrus dense, rather than the floating space-between-notes that one is used to from mixed and synthetic fragrances. What keeps the citrus peels fresh and thirst-quenching cool is a mint note, which works beautifully with the lemon peel and takes us in a fresh-earthy-green direction. In the middle of all the hesperidic notes and the greens, there’s a bit of sweet floral lightness and in the combination with bergamot, I’m reminded of a delicious home-made ice tea. Towards the dry-down what I get mostly is a mellow vetiver and a light blond tobacco, both maintaining a green and light feeling. Sipping ice tea under a lemon tree, above you the endless azure sky…
Without doubt this is a great summer citrus fragrance, 100% natural, for both men and women, or perhaps Mignon, the young girl from Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister dressed as a boy when she sings the famous ‘Kennst du das Land wo die Zitronen blüh’n?’ as I am reminded of wearing ‘Ray of Light’
“Do you know the land where lemons blossom,
Where oranges grow golden among dark leaves,
A gentle wind drifts across blue skies,
The myrtle stands silent, the laurel tall,
Do you know it?
It’s there, it’s there
I long to go with you, my love.”
Serge Lutens; ‘L’Orpheline’ is a fairly linear composition, consisting of notes of cashmeran, pepper (?), blond woods and light sweetness of coumarin swirled in a whisper of a clear incense. If Ray of Light was azure sky then the overall feeling of L’Orpheline is like watching a grey sky on an autumnal afternoon, being inside looking out, wrapped in an old blanket. It’s the fragility of a single ray of sun trying to find its way through the clouds. The fragrance is more akin to the Eaux line than to the other Lutens’, and even if not the most exciting SL composition, I must say it’s very wearable and has a way of drawing you in, much like Serge’s stories. Because even if I don’t like to admit it, all this talk of orphans and a fragrance dusty, woody and with a bit of comfort in the middle of the solitude, reminded me of the boy Bastian Balthasar Bux, antagonist in the Never Ending Story by Michael Ende, hiding from the world in the school attic, reading a magic book which transports him to Phantásien/ Fantastica.
“Bastian was aware of the gray daylight, but he could not make out whether it was morning or afternoon. It was bitter cold in the attic, just as on the night of Bastian’s departure.
He disentangled himself from the dusty army blankets, put on his shoes and coat, and saw to his surprise that they were wet as they had been the day when it had rained so hard.”
And in the end, unknowingly, I ended up with a link between the two. Goethe’s Mignon who sings of the land she remembers as her homeland, before a travelling circus group took her away, is an Orpheline… And that’s the magic of perfumes; they speak to you, even when you need some time to take notice.
Translation of Mignon by Richard Stokes and of The Neverending Story by Ralph Manheim.
Pictures as always by me