Lucien Ferrero Harmonie Pastorale fragrance review first published in Cafleurebon
Do you often see animal shapes in clouds? Have faces looking back at you from the nervures of an old armoire? Periodically check to see what the man on the moon is doing? Then, you are experiencing pareidolia (a word derived from the Greek para, meaning something wrong and eídōlon = image or form), a phenomenon that occurs when the brain is trying to make sense out of visual stimuli, making you see familiar object or pattern in otherwise random or unrelated objects. This associative thinking is rooted in our evolutionary history, helping us faster process the data around us, for example in just one-fifth of a second, your brain can scan an image full of objects to find a face (or face-like pattern or object). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human brain’s tendency to find meaningful connections in random information. Scientists argued that the inclination and frequency in seeing meaning and connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas can link psychosis to creativity and it can be said that apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin. How seriously you take these “coincidences”, their frequency, how you process them into a larger picture, and how meaningful you find them carries a different name, Carl Jung coining the term synchronicity.
Very often, I find a strange kind of comfort in Arthur C. Clarke’s words “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” and I sometimes use it regarding the way I approach spirituality and some of the processes that run in the background of my mind. But sometimes, well… sometimes, things can get truly magical and I hold them as such, defending them even against the analytical side of myself. One example of a flawlessly arranged series of coincidences, that is especially close to my heart, is the “Dark Side of the rainbow”. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s the incredible way in which Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The dark side of the Moon perfectly aligns and pairs with the 1930’s movie The Wizard of Oz. The two art pieces merge together into a fantastic rainbow of synchronicities, varying from contextual to awesomely incredible: lyrics match up to events on screen, heartbeats in sync with the apparition of the Tinman, perfect tempo of scenes and the overall overwhelming feeling that everything, somehow, strangely FITS and belongs together. Of course, the analytical side of my brain exasperatedly sighs, pointing at the evolutionary theories mentioned above, telling me that the left hemisphere of my brain is making up the evidence before the facts are in (also, THE facts are that the band has repeatedly denied any intentional connection and rejected the theory as the fabulations of somebody with too much free time on their hands). Usually, I shush the cold voice, pour another glass of wine, and keep losing myself, in awe, in the psychedelic and dream-like atmosphere created by the dark side of Oz.
Waking up on the other side of the rainbow, descended into clear –as–day crisp, technicolor countryside, we have the strictly structured, clear as crystal, music composed by Beethoven, and the most befitted perfume to be paired up with it: Lucien Ferrero Harmonie Pastorarale
A note from the brand: “This perfumed composition draws inspiration from the harmony of notes that can be felt in Beethoven’s symphony no.6, nicknamed ‘Pastoral’, much loved by Lucien Ferrero. He has chosen to use his expertise to give a voice to Nature and its elements as if they were notes of the score or as if they were musical instruments directed by a conductor on the podium.“
Harmonie Pastorale is the kind of perfume that appeals to the right side of my brain hemisphere,as it feels outgoing, active, solar, logical, and optimistic. I would have it as the olfactive translation of my love of nature, simple joys, and with its cool old-school fougere vibe – the perfect trigger for beautiful old memories, picture-perfect and unencumbered by any trace of emotional baggage, be it positive or negative. If I were to put gender labels on it, it feels more Yang than Yin, and it makes me wear white linen, dust off my hiking backpack, and look up the next train to the countryside.
In the association game, I am beginning to be convinced that I feel the tempo of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, with its five movements, in the way the fragrance develops and evolves on my skin:
Allegro Ma Non-Troppo “Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the countryside” The first notes ease us into the landscape with bright, zesty sour citruses, sizzling on top of deep green mastic.
Andante Molto Mosso – “Scene at the Brook” Next, the scentpaints the picture of a winding stream, flowing near the lavender fields- an almost tactile experience: cool water drops sparkling in the sun, pressing your palms to the perfectly polished stones picked up from the bottom of the river, holding in all the freshness of the spinning waters.
Allegro “Merry gathering of country folk – Laughter and loud voices echoing in the town square, besideslarge cauldrons filled with homemade soap, large wooden spoons stirring in, mixing, rising to the surface and drowning back again the handpicked herbs, minty, green, sappy, bitter.
Allegro “Thunder. Storm” Women running, hiking up their skirts, fastly taking down the rain-soaked laundry from the rails, while yelling at the barefooted kids, splashing in rain puddles, to get back inside.
The wind blows, carrying ruffled flowery smells mixed with the faint traces of ozone from the lightning strikes, brazing the sky.
Allegretto “Shepherd’s song. Happy and thankful feelings after the storm.” The impossibly fresh, mossy, bitter green smellscape of the countryside after a storm. Evernew, neverending green cycle. Beautiful.
Top notes: Lentisque, Lavender, sour Mandarin
Heart notes: Peppermint, Clary sage, Thyme, white Jasmine
Base notes: Java Vetiver, Lentisque , Patchouli, Teak Wood
Disclosure: Bottle kindly provided by Lucien Ferrero Maitre Parfumeur, opinions are my own
If you like Lucien Ferrero Harmonie Pastorarale also try Goldfield & Banks Australia Blue Cypress