I am by no means a political person but I care about people, about their hopes and fears and about equal rights and equal treatment. Recent political movements in the U.S. and in Europe have clearly not been in favour of immigrants, non-Christians, women and homosexual people and I am shocked to see more and more people choosing hate and phobia over equality, compassion and communication. This post won’t be about politics but rather about what usually helps me to stay calm and optimistic during difficult times – perfume and a music playlist.
Perfume: Parfumerie Generale – Louanges Profanes
This is the only perfume on my list. I kid you not, it is the only perfume that makes me feel strong, protected and transported to happy times. To me, Parfumerie Generale’s Louanges Profanes is an orange blossom perfume (there is no orange blossom listed but the mixture of neroli and white blossomed lily evokes the impression of a big orange blossom). It is creamy and mildly sweet, reminding me of my very early days of childhood when we used to go to the lido. There are several commenters who mention in their review that Louanges Profanes smells like a specific sun lotion of their childhood. I am not sure if my mum used the same sun lotion on us but I do connect the smell with sun, laughter as well as feeling empowered and free.
The creamy floral scent is based on a slightly smoky and woody note. I do not smell incense sticks like others do but there is definitely some smoky depth that pushes the happy floral scent into a more contemplative direction. Imagine you only smell a happy orange blossom, say Jo Malone Orange Blossom, you close your eyes and see a calm, warm place like a garden or the beach, something that makes you feel good. Now imagine the scent of orange blossom as more creamy and with a strong oriental backbone, the happy place is still there but you have zoomed out, now looking at everything from a broader perspective. This is the smell of Louanges Profanes. You are not a child anymore but a grown-up, the scent of happy times is familiar but you also know about the up and downs.
Pierre Guillaume has created a pure and uplifting scent that also feels sophisticated and gracious. Louanges Profanes smells less herbal compared to L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Seville à l’Aube, more rounded and complex. It reminds me to enjoy the good times which I know can’t last forever, and to endure the difficult ones which I know will pass eventually.
Louanges Profanes’ notes are:
Neroli and Hawthorn, Lilly Infusion, Smoke of Incense, Benzoin and Lignum Vitae Wood
The playlist below consists of songs that seem to be randomly put together, there is some indie pop, some psychedelic rock as well as trip hop songs. But they are all somewhat dreamy, cheerful / confident, hopeful, I think. No rock, nothing too melancholic or heavy. It is a mix that helps me to hold my head high, to take things as they come and, at the same time, not to take them too seriously.
- Devendra Banhart – Your Fine Petting Duck
- Dirty Gold – California Sunrise
- Mazzy Star – Bells Ring (actually, the whole So Tonight That I Might See album feels right)
- Tame Impala – Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control
- Wild Belle – Twisted (again, the whole Isles album belongs on this playlist)
- Sticky Fingers – How to Fly
- Allah-Las – Catamaran
- Bad Liquor Pond – The Crescent Ship
- Moodoid – Je Suis la Montagne
- Gramatik – Break Loose
- Bonobo – Sleepy Seven
- Maker – Yap In My Pillow
- Air – La Femme d’Argent
- Nightmares On Wax – African Pirates
- Salt Cathedral – Oom Velt
Will perfume and music save the world? Of course not but it will help us to maintain a clear head and not be paralyzed by what’s going on around us. And I have a feeling we will need to stay involved and alert in the next few years.
Pictures were taken in Vilnius, Lithuania.
What helps you in difficult times?