Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Momentous Life: The Five Accords of Ideasthesia and Ideasthesia by MikMoi (2015) (Scent No.4 of the Elegance series).

 Recently MikMoi released five accords and the perfume Ideasthesia. I was lucky enough to be gifted by the perfumer with a sample pack, and as of the last month I have been wearing and thinking about the Ideasthesia project. Recently this last weekend I was able to sit down with Mik and discuss the scents and here is the funny thing as much as we talked about notes and scents, I still came away from our conversation having the exact same feeling  and thoughts about the scents that I had before going into the conversation. There was a few clarifying notes, but otherwise one of the nice qualities about Mik and his perfumes is he simply allows the wearer to bring their own experiences to the perfume. Diversity is one of the cornerstones in his perfume philosophy.  As I have worn and smelled the accords that make up Ideasthesia and I should mention that these accords are in their own right fully made perfumes, there is nothing missing from these scents when you wear them.

There are stages to life and sometimes they do not necessarily come in the order most known but they do happen.I have been struck with how much these accords remind me of these life stages

The first accord and probably the most on the nose one for me is Birth. Birth is a scent that lovingly references the Southern European and Middle Eastern tradition of scenting babies with orange blossom water and it should also be mentioned that this scent is frequently used for brides. This is probably one of the best orange blossom scents I have smelled in awhile, while it is definitely supported by citrus, and juicy citrus at that the scent reads to me deliciously of rich fresh orange blossom. It is a full orange blossom scent, in the likes of L'Artisan's long gone harvest series. At certain stages I almost read an earthy incense note in Birth that reminds me of the ceremonies involved in blessing children. The final drydown for me is a lovely honeyed orange blossom, it's not sweet, but hints are true orange blossom honey that contains frequently just a hint of branch. The depth and tenacity of Birth are excellent for citrus orange blossom scent and it remained with me all day. It is a wonderfully uplifting scent.

The next accord is Breath, Breath is easily for me the stage of childhood. Tt is a wondrous green happy scent that suggests exploration and a sense of curiosity in the world that I think at times is the most strong in our childhood. There is a wonderful opening of spearmint and grass, I sort of forget that spearmint is a note that can be used in perfume, but there it is naturally sweet and bright in Breath. The combination of spearmint and grass reminds me of getting up early in the morning when I was child and exploring the world in the summer while everyone was asleep. Breath for me is that sort of bright shiny exploration of the natural world, it is lolling in the grass, and really looking at the greenery around you. There is a lovely fig note that runs through Breath that provides a green milky backdrop to the scent along with a fresh dose of petitgrain that I feel references Birth. 

The stage that follows birth and childhood is a I think one that is far more universal in our older years but definitely only comes to us with puberty and that is the state of romantic awakening. I'll say it now I fell in love with North. I fell in love with it enough that I bought a bottle on the spot. North is romantic radiance, a crystalline melange of floral notes that I usually run away from, but in Mik's hands are exquisitely rendered. There is just no getting around the romantic beauty of North the use of jasmine, tuberose, and rose is a bit of a trifecta of culturally considered romantic notes. Yet, the thing that makes this so utterly wearable and perfect for me is the use of geranium. Geranium doesn't get enough love, but when used provides that bright luminous quality that I frequently associate with aldehydes but geranium does it more kindly, gently, and with just a hint of stemmy crushed greenery. There is a luminous quality to North that suggests glow of when you first fall in love, the one that everyone comments on because frankly you are obscenely happy. North is about as close as I have ever gotten to finding the olfactory equivalent of romantic awakening in a bottle.

The next stage of life is a bit blurrier to understand but we all go through it. I think at times it is one of the longest stages, the age of getting to really know yourself. This is the part I think is the most varied for everyone for some it is the finding of true identity, for others coming to peace with your actual inclinations, or for some a recognition of how you are a singular creature no matter all our connections. I find this stage in the Known accord. Known is a smoky pinon sort of scent, it suggests incense and arid landscapes. It is philosophically pushing to that area in our lives where we learn to make choices on our own. I think the smokiness of Known suggests the birth of identity aka the phoenix from the flames, this is not necessarily a painful process but is none the less a process of fulling recognizing who we are beyond the boundaries of our childhood. The incense and woods also suggest spiritual growth but on our own terms, it is the passage of one stage of life to the next, I want to say adulthood, but I feel that doesn't full encapsulate the process of knowing yourself because it is a continuing process.  Known is the scent of independence of thought.

The final accord is Found. Found is the scent of finding the familial in our lives as adults. It is an earthy spicy comforting scent that at the beginning reminds me of quite frankly of cinnamon oatmeal cookies, but this is not a gourmand. The spices in this are hot and strong it is akin to grinding your own spices at home when making spice breads. As Found mellows the scent takes on hint of almond and a deliciously warm slightly furry musk. The musk is utterly comforting, not clean, nor funky but familial. Found is ultimately the scent of getting a hug from a loved one, it is that moment in our adult lives where stability and community intersect, it is deliciously kind and strong..

We finally come to Ideasthesia a scent meant to be an accord of the accords. This is obviously the most layered and complex of the scents and I think in a way represents a life well lived. It is a scent meant to draw on all the aspects of the accords. What it becomes is a scent to my nose akin to the classic Nuit de Noel by Caron. They don't smell alike but in Ideasthesia Mik is able to get that grand layering of floral, gourmand, and incense that I smell in Nuit de Noel. The scent of Ideasthesia is the clear fresh white florals of Birth and North punctuated by the smoky incense of Known at least that is what the scent was on me most of the time. On other days Ideasthesia was a sweeter scent with Found playing a greater role with the floral notes adding a bit of spicy sweetness to the florals, At other times Breath would up the fresh notes and make the opening a bit galbanum tinged giving the scent an even more classic quality. Ideasthesia has proven to be a bit of a chameleon scent depending on the temperature of the day you can get so many different qualities, each wearing seeming to play upon one facet being stronger than the other.
Ultimately the art that reminded of the most of Ideasthesia is David Bowie's song Thursday's Child, a song about life and experience through the lens of age.

Birth Image: Joy St. Clair
Breath Image: Peach Blossoms—Villiers–le–Bel, ca. 1887–89
Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)
North Image: Ryan Pickart
Known Image: Mickael Jou
Found Image: Puung


marzipan said...

Wow! Your review really makes me want to try these! Birth would be top on my list? Does Mik sell sample packs?
and yes, spearmint is a much overlooked note that is fantastic! I made an essential oil blend for my daughter with e.o.s from Eden Botanicals with organic spearmint, four different jasmines and patchouli in the base. The spearmint is so uplifting and fresh and takes the jasmines to a whole different level..

great review!

Jennifer Koth said...

Hi Marzipan, Yes, Mik does sell sample packs. I can see jasmine working really well with the spearmint. I think Jo Malone ages ago had a fragrance based around that combo. Sounds like a lovely blend you created :-).

marzipan said...

yes it was the Jo Malone blend that inspired me :)

thanks for the mikmoi link!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful, meaningful concepts these scents have behind them and how poetically you described them :) Breath is the one that really stands out to me - literally makes me wish I could step out bare feet onto an overgrown, dewy lawn on a spring day right now. I would also be very interested to smell Found, as it's quite unusual to find authentic cinnamon & oat notes in a perfume

Jennifer Koth said...

Breath is definitely one of the most evocative of the scents in the collection for me. Found is interesting because it gets the cinnamon oat really well but there is no heavy sugar or butter to let it become stifling.