Synopsis: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not
ButterLSD! ” Synesthesia experiment with Hendley potions
A note from the brand: “I want to create perfume experiences with Hendley Perfumes, that honour our past without being period pieces, while at the same time bravely looking towards a future that is unknown. I want to build a brand that is timeless and honest, free of the weight of contrived marketing stories that are often used to mislead customers about the true nature of a product. The ultimate goal is to make things I love and respect the intelligence and sophistication of my clients; all my perfumes are hand blended by me in my Williamsburg Brooklyn studio.”
Label said: “Evergreen fueled. Forest floor. Through smoke.
Wafts of burnt coniferous woods contrasted with fertile soil & sap-smeared leather.
Conifer resins, smoked tea, galbanum, ruh khus, nagarmotha, oakmoss.”
Taste: vegetal and bitter
Poem shard: “In the mountains, there you feel free. / I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.”
Words: Dreaming and fallings through the worlds, feet first, like sap rolling down Yggdrasil, mad carousel of roots entwined. Nidhug, a baby dragon with milk teeth, gnaws at the root. Fall down, wake up, zip open the tent door. Wearing my favorite black metal t-shirt, break of dawn, autumn, late 90’s. The campfire still fuming, preparing black tea in a smoked tin cup. Strands of heavy fog rolling up the mountain, defying gravity. Peel the wet bark from an old tree, chew it but don’t swallow. Listening to silence, head pressed against the trunk, hands sticky from sap, dreaming of turning into an Ent, not a grownup.
Label said: Panoramic Nostalgia. Disappearing Horizon. Velveteen Drift.
Narcotic flowers & musky fruits reveal supple leather with smooth woods, altogether like clouds floating into an impressionistic haze.
Cantaloupe, jasmine, osmanthus absolute, suede, iris root, sandalwood, musk complex, ambergris.
Taste: cotton mouth
Feel: high, hazy and thirsty
Poem shard: “And I was frightened. He said, Marie,/ Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.”
Words: Cross section, first glance, first taste: a Tokyo airport lounge with beige leather chairs and light wood paneling. A blonde, dressed in a suede jacket leans in closer to whisper something, her breath all cantaloupe – or honeydew – the kind so ripe the seeds get translucent and sticky. Described by the author as having a “panoramic nostalgia”, Blond is a multilayered experience containing iris, leather and fruits, a perfume that is greater than the sum of all its parts. I feel like I’ve activated an organic sentient sphere around me – multiverse, omniverse, meta-universe, all light, muffled sounds and haze. It also has a song, embedded between the notes, repeating over and over, in a loop:
Label said: Intentional Fallacy. Counterfactual Definiteness. If a Tree Falls.
What is the difference between what something is, and how it appears?
Vetiver, iris, sandalwood, musk.
Poem shard:“April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring /Dull roots with spring rain.”
Words: Remember Meg Ryan in City of Angels riding her bicycle with her eyes closed and her arms wide open? Just an accident waiting to happen. Maybe happiness, the one that leaves you so filled with light is just some evolved mechanism of self-destruction. Just a happy accident, Bob Ross said, a tree emerging from the blob of green paint.
Take a step back, drain the emotion out, a step above the animal. Do the evolution, baby.
The creaminess of the sandalwood juxtaposed on the dry iris – minimalist, contemporary and all emotions decanted, filtered, cleansed by the thought process, pushed aside and intellectualized. Vetiver, mossy, green and earthy, the dull roots mixed with spring rain, running in the background. Don’t forget to step back to see the big picture, smiled the old wise man. One can never hold back spring.
“The air is wet with sound
The faraway yelping of a wounded dog
And the ground is drinking a slow faucet leak”
Label said: Languid Breeze. Season’s Swathe. Harvest Moon.
Late summer’s memory of cut grasses, ripened blooms, sun-warmed leaves, cured roots and plush moss.
Chamomile, hay absolute, champaca, dried fruits, tobacco, orris butter, moss, ambrette.
Taste: the orange sun in your teacup
Feel: the orange sun through the closed lids
Poem shard: “That corpse you planted last year in your garden, / Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?”
Suffocating summer nighs in a claustrophobic little village, can you breathe, of course you can’t – but you need to. Having a black hole for a heart, still hungry, being young and stupidly aristocratically bored. Ennui, you write in your diary, day after day after day, like Bart Simson on the blackboard. “We are artists, we are sensitive and important” the song said.
False memories of golden summers, superimposed on the real ones. The resolutions never fulfilled, but you keep pressing yellow leaves in poetry books (the ones that bore you,if you are really honest, but u ain’t, ain’t you), the cupboard smells – earl grey boxes, oh you just sniff it, you never make the tea, too much of a ritual, ain’t’ it, dried fruits, dry tobacco, so dry that you would choke on it, just chew, don’t spit, don’t swallow. Just wait for that perfect day when the grass will be greener on your side and the golden light will hit you just right.
The smell in the air when that old aquaintance came to visit your friends, the one that comes when the sun is high, the noonday demon they say, but you are on first name basis with IT, ain’t you. Of course, they preferred Accedia over you. You would never join a club that would allow a person like yourself to become a member, would ya? “Be water my friend.” – Woody Allen quoting Bruce Lee. “Fear death by water” – Me quoting T.S. Eliot.
Fake Sound: Harvest Moon / Neil Young
Label said: Expectation Subverted. Confection Crystalline. A Sweet Release.
Conjured fruit preserves, wrapped & twisted around balms and cosmetic artifice.
Stone fruit, mixed berries, rose absolute, blonde tobacco, sweet resins, musk complex, ambergris.
Taste: raspberry swirl
Feel: your mouth water
Picture: the garden of earthly delights, the fruit orgy edition
Poem shard: “Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, /The lady of situations. /Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,/
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, /Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,/ Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find/ The Hanged Man”
Words: The Magnus Opus of alchemical work aims to turn the prima Materia intro the philosopher’s stone. Some say there are 4 main phases: nigredo (blackening), albedo (whitening), citrinitas (yellowing) and rubedo (the reddening), others are insisting there are no less than 14 steps that must be climbed.
The first time I smelled Amora, I smiled and said, well if this is not Exuberation,I don’t know what IS. Mind you, not the dictionary kind of exhilaration, but the one that comes right before Fixation and right after Calcination, and rightly so.
The magma of sweet resins, mixed with the Leviatan breath of the ambergris fumes whitely, cools off, hardens, crystalizes and sweetens, swirling you up in a sweet spiral of mouthwatering sensual abandon. It’s busy, it’s boozy, it’s rich, you have the candy apple fallen from the tree, the shedded skin of the serpent – its head a rose bloom, its scales made of plums, cherries, apricots and nectarines.
The point of view zooms in and out, seamlessly, no rough edges, no pyramid of notes, just a perfect downward descent on a spiral staircase, surrounded by the perfect texture of the walls of smell Mr. Hendley created, the tactile and almost palatable olfactive fabric AMORE was conjoured with.
Label said: Flower Child. Color of Love. Clinging to a Scheme.
Rebellion within a traditional theme. Rose and sandalwood thrown askew by patchouli and incense.
Incense, rose, iris, juniper, sandalwood, patchouli, angelica root.
Poem shard: “Burning burning burning burning / O Lord Thou pluckest me out /O Lord Thou pluckest”
A Kafka Metamorphosis reinterpretation – As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic ROSE. He was lying on his back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his long green stem divided into stiff arched leafy segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous leaves waved helplessly before his eyes.
Voice1: Rose-patch-smoke. Incense rose sandal. Iris patch rose. Invocation complete. O Lord Thou pluckest
Voice2: Though I walk through the Uncanny Valey* I will fear no ROSE
*Uncanny Valey explained: “In aesthetics, the uncanny valley is a hypothesized relationship between the degree of an object’s resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to such an object. The concept of the uncanny valley suggests humanoid objects which appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers.Valley denotes a dip in the human observer’s affinity for the replica, a relation that otherwise increases with the replica’s human likeness.”
SPECIAL THANKS: I have the chance to smell these awesome creations thanks to the Cafleurbon contest that I won a month ago.
If you liked the Hendley Perfumes line, also try: Angela Ciampagna