In the Search for the Perfect Lavender

Because of the perfume, war clearly was on my mind that day.

When in my office’s vestibule I almost ran into a guy carrying a long box, my thoughts immediately went to the mall scene from Terminator 2:

 

I’d never seen him in our building before so I was suspicious:

– I hope it’s not a shotgun in there…
– ???
– In the box…
– Oh, no. Those are just fluorescent light tubes.
– Ah, I see. That’s reassuring.

We smiled at each other and, as I passed him, he dropped casually:

– Nice perfume!
– Thank you!

I was wearing Lieber Gustav 14 by Krigler. You might wonder how the perfume, notes of which include lavender, black tea, tonka bean, geranium, leather and sandalwood, prompted those violent thoughts.

I could have told you that it was because the perfumer created Lieber Gustav in memory of his daughter’s fiancé who had been killed in WWI.

Or I could have drawn a complex association “Lieber Gustav” -> “Ach, du lieber Augustin” song that in the war mythology with which I grew up stereotyped fascists played on their harmonicas during WWII. Or…

But everything was much simpler: I chose Lieber Gustav as a perfume for the NTS’s Gender Wars Friday community project.

Krigler Lieber Gustav

While in the U.S. lavender is one of the most ubiquitous scents used in … everything (alongside with lemon/citrus, strawberry and rose), it wasn’t cultivated or widely used where I lived as a child. So until I moved to the U.S. in my late 20s the only thing I knew about lavender was the word itself. I’m not sure if that played any significant role in my affection towards lavender. Or maybe it was thanks to Yves Rocher‘s lavender oil that I used on pulse points when I or my vSO couldn’t sleep – and it seemed to help. Or was it a wonderful gift from a friend – “Do not Disturb” Lavender Spa Relaxation Heat Wrap* – that over years soothed many of my pains and left me feeling warm about that scent? Whatever it was, I like the smell of lavender – in body products, sachets and even food. I was surprised when I realized that I also enjoy lavender in perfumes.

Rusty and Krigler Lieber Gustav

In perfumes that I like lavender can’t be too “simple”: both Yves Rocher’s and Demeter‘s lavender scents went directly to the linen closet.

For a while I thought I liked Brin de Réglisse from the Hermessense collection. I even bought a travel bottle. Unfortunately the first couple of hours of licorice are killing it for me since I strongly dislike licorice in any form. By the time it subsides enough for me to tolerate it (or maybe I just get used to it), like most perfumes from this line it’s barely noticeable on my skin. I should probably consider Brin de Réglisse as my first official “albatross” (© Olfactoria).

Before I tried Lieber Gustav 14, I didn’t know anything about either that perfume or that brand. I didn’t know the perfume had lavender as one of the main notes. A friend of mine gave me a sample and offered a bigger decant later from her bottle if I liked it, in which she wasn’t sure since Lieber Gustav isn’t too popular in the Perfumeland. It was love at the first sniff! I decided not even to go through that illogical stage of getting a decant but saving the last couple of drops and not using it up completely and at the same time not buying a bottle because decant hasn’t been finished yet.

With just the right combination of lavender, leather and woodsy notes Lieber Gustav is a truly unisex perfume. Leather in this perfume isn’t harsh or strong but it’s definitely leather, not suede. Lavender is aromatic but not medicinal. It’s the second perfume in my collection that I equally love on me and on my vSO (I haven’t tried it on Rusty).

Rusty and Krigler Lieber Gustav

Serge LutensGris Clair is another lavender perfume that I like. In several reviews (both positive and negative) Gris Clair was called cool or even cold, which was very surprising to me because it wasn’t how I perceived this perfume. It smelled like lavender and heated… heated… but what? Not soil or grass or road – something cleaner. For a long time it bothered me that I could distinctively smell a certain note but even though the recognition was on the tip of my tongue (nose?) it kept slipping away. And then I found and re-read Christos’ (Memory of Scent) review of Gris Clair. He called it “hot iron note.” Of course! It’s exactly what I smell. And since I like ironing (yes, I know how strange it sounds for most people), I’m not surprised my small decant is almost empty. I’m not sure though what to do next: I recently tried another Luten’s lavender perfume – Fourreau Noir – and liked it even more than I like Gris Clair. And since it’s a bell jar perfume, I should probably save my lavender-allocated budget for it and get my hot iron note directly from the source.

Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir

Do you like lavender? Do you wear lavender-centered perfumes?

 

Images: all but the special edition Fourreau Noir – my own

* Do not Disturb wrap on the pictures is the “second generation”: after I wore out the first one I bought a new one here (I’m not affiliated).

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