Scent Semantics #1: BRAVE

Introducing a new collaboration of six bloggers: Portia (A Bottled Rose), Elena (The Plum Girl), Sheila (Alembicated Genie), Daisy (Cool Cook Style blog and IG), Old Herbaceous (Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities) and Undina (Undina’s Looking Glass).

Once a month, one of us will be selecting a word (any part of speech representing an emotion, color, flavor, etc.), and we all will try to come up with a scent that we can connect to/associate with that word. We’re not limited by any particular format, so expect anything from a New-Yorker-cartoon-style picture caption to a War-and-Peace-type piece of writing (and everything in between).

Scent Semantics Project Banner

I agreed to participate in this project only because I love group efforts, AND it was Portia who organized it – how can anyone refuse? But I’m beyond bad in paring anything with anything. Nevertheless, I’m here, so let’s try.

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This month’s word is: BRAVE

Unexpectedly, this one came easy.

Vol de Nuit was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1933, according to mentioning in different sources, inspired by the title of the book by his friend, Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

Vol de Nuit, both in its extrait and EdT versions, had been reformulated since then, probably more than once, which we all got used to. What amazed me beyond any words (well, I found some once the first reaction subsided) was that now marketers and brands reformulate not only perfumes and their stories but also classical literature.

My search for Vol de Nuit extrait (it seems no stores carry it now in the US) brought me to Harrods, where I discovered the following:

Vol de Nuit description at Harrods

the story of love and romance”? Have we read the same novel? I won’t argue “spicy musks” since for all I know we smelled different versions. But I question a blanket statement “the first years of aviation” (but that time aviation in general was quite well established). But at least they still mention the Art Deco aspect of the bottle design.

And then I decided to check the brand’s site. I don’t think they read the book at all:

Vol de Nuit Description at Guerlain site

Just in case you don’t remember or haven’t read the book yet, without giving away too much, I’d like to mention that the flight central for the story takes place on the route from Patagonia to Buenos Aires; it’s a storm, not a tornado, that plays an important role during the flight; there is nothing sudden in losing radio contact; and, finally, the pilot is flying towards his loved one (though, alright, let’s issue a poetic license here).

Night Flight is a story of bravery, bravery demonstrated not just by pilots who flew those early planes, but also radio engineers who accompanied them to keep communications going between the plane and airports, and even by those on the ground making decisions that influenced not only the lives of people who worked for them, their own careers but also the progress itself. It’s not war-time heroism we grew up appreciating and almost expecting, regardless of the cultures we were brought up in. It’s ordinary, almost prosaic courage that still would deeply impress you if you muse about it for a while.

What about perfume, you might ask? I hoped one day to try the current version again and, if it’s still recognizable, buy Vol de Nuit extrait during my trip to France or the UK. But with all the recent changes with Guerlain perfumes (and considering their attitude towards both their brand’s history and their national literally treasure), I started thinking that maybe I should brave international shipping from Harrods while that beautiful Art Deco propeller bottle is still available?

Guerlain Vol de Nuit

Please visit other participants (links in the opening paragraph) to see what associations for the word “Brave” they came up with. And return in a month for the second episode of this joint project.