30 luglio 2011

Pierre d'Afrique: a scented gem

A chip of Africa stone
These days a friend from the Adjiumi forum with his tuscan verve gifted me with the nice epithome of "Mags stonehand", so in spite of the heaviness of my posts I thought to tell you just about a stone, the African stone. I lived my passion for perfumes in many dimensions that followed one after the other during the time: since ever smelling everything was in my reach and scanning the world with the nose maybe because of my not so good sight, then with the fragrances stolen from mom's beautycase first and received as a gift later and finally the ones bought as an unconscious customer. Furthermore the web arrived with the discovery of many passionate people like me that didn't want just buy scents but also learn more about perfumery history and what's inside it. Gradually the desire to undestrand pushes you to discover raw materials used to make fragrances and you want to smell them to undestand their facets. So just try to guess my curiosity when I read about something extracted from a stone...

Hyrax Hyraceum (Procavia capensis)
Today many raw materials are forbidden because they're harmful (for example nitromusks), others are restricted to prevent allergy risks and finally some have been replaced by synthetics due to ethical reasons. It's the case of raw materials coming from animals like musks and civet which estraction causes pain or the slaughter of the animal. If fifty years ago the ecologic awareness was less sensible letting satisfy the surplus freaks, from one side the thing was tolerated due to the small amounts sold to few lucky ones that could affort them. Costs aside, with the amounts imposed by commercial perfumery nowadays it would be unsustainable the usage of animal bases only like civet fow which it wouldn't be enough the slaughter of legions of cats.
Fortunately for a lover of both animal notes and animals like me, there are also ethically obtainable ones without causing pain to the little animals. It's the case with ambergris that's naturally expelled by the sperm whale in the sea, or beeswax that the hard-working insects produce in huge amounts.

Recently, thanks to the kind Dominique Dubrana better known as AbdesSalam Attar that composes totally natural fragrances, I had the chance to discover hyraceum, also called Africa stone that aims to become a good natural substitute in animal accords while respecting the fauna.
But what's this Africa stone? It is a fossil that can be found in South Africa that comes from the droppings of a rodent (Procavia capensis) that petrify mellowing in the sun. From the infusion of this animal fossil an incredibly vibrant essence is extracted and I confess that I have been quite impressed. The opening both on skin and on paper is potent and urinous, with a good fecal component. On paper this connotation lasts longer while, as for all animal notes it is on skin that it melts and shines of a new life. On the back of my hand hyraceum blooms of somehow spiced facets with a nice herbaceous and paper-like development redolent of immortelle and even more recalling opaque dry woods with an almost sandy surface. As well as coupled with white flowers to give them carnality, it seems perfect to melt in compositions like masculine citrus chypre like the ones of the fifties featuring civet back in time, or in leather scents like in the eighties with herbs and spices.

AbdesSalam Attar's Sharif
For beautiful fragrance lovers hyraceum is a stimulus to fill with new works a white page. There are already two ones I discovered featuring this raw material. The first one is Esprit du Roi, a Penhaligon's classic reformulated by Betrand Duchaufour and relaunched in the Anthology collection that I'm going to smell as soon as possible. The second one is AbdesSalaam Attar latest creation, Sharif.
The fragrance start bringing you to a bedouin tent in the Sinai, to the kaleidoscope of coloured spices and citruses picked together with their foliage. The aromatic and gaudy stinging blow of saffron, turmeric and scented leaves becomes more elegant and honeyed as the big guest arrives, an important figure coming from a long trip, a man whose clothes keep traces of tobacco and animals of burden with their harnesses, mixed with precious ointments for the body and hair for refined purifying ablutions. Hyraceum really confers to evolution a pleasant animal nuance, herbal and slightly leathery. Of course like in all the Middle East a guest is godsend so the sillage ends offering a delicate vanilla and almond hint typical of the middle Eastern pastry.

Since I like to share discoveries that thrill me, I'd like to give away a tiny bit of hyraceum and three samples of Sharif by drawing two lucky names among the ones that will leave a comment within the next week-end. Who's curious about smelling them?

2 commenti:

flavourfanatic ha detto...

Hi! This is the first time I see your blog. What an interesting article! I'd love to be included in this draw.

Magnifiscent ha detto...

Hi flavourfanatic, what a nice nick! Welcome to my blog, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
Be sure I will include you in the draw :)

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