Monday, October 29, 2007

Alpona: Still Life with Lemons, Orange and a Rose

When I reviewed Ernest Daltroff's En Avion last week, little did I know that a renewed acquaintance with his Alpona (1939) in the brisk, autumnal weather would reveal a brave new world of olfactory art, like stepping into an enchanted wood or a Zurbarán still life. Framing a heart of thyme, myrrh, cedar and well-blended florals with a bright hesperidic accord of crystallized citrus, Daltroff created the perfume-equivalent of Renaissance chiaroscuro. Out of the darkness emerge warm, vibrating colors, under a haze of old gold. It is an organic vision, meaning that each of its features coalesce with the every other; nothing is artificial, nothing is heaped on or juxtaposed in a way that jars the wearer. Likewise, nothing shocks. It is simply the experience of rightness and the realization that here is the result of an art whereby the “unlike” is joined in such a way as to create something entirely new – classically speaking, an improvement on Nature itself. Daltroff aimed here for an evocation of the mythological garden of the Hesperides. On a cold morning, the breeze coming off the East River, Alpona warms me and surprises me. Here, at last, is a citrus for the fall and winter months, something whose moss, musk and patchouli base I want to smell on my woolens. Something which goes right to the heart, or, in Wallace Steven's inimitable phrase, is “like a blaze of summer straw in winter's nick.”

Alpona is one of the urn fragrances, available in Paris and at select Caron boutiques. In New York, it is available at the Caron boutique located in the Phyto Universe day spa on Lexington Avenue at West Fifty-eighth Street. Image credit: Still Life with Lemons, Orange and a Rose by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Norton Simon Foundation.


Blogger helg said...

Great choice of pic for this lovable Caron!

November 4, 2007 5:14 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Thanks! I'm so happy to associate with a great scent with a great painting (and, I might add, a painting whose reproduction has graced my home for some time). They both speak to me.

November 4, 2007 8:46 PM  

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