September 20th, 2006
L’Air de Rien is the newest addition to the British perfume line Miller Harris, created uniquely for Jane Birkin, a famous French singer and actress. It’s supposed to sum her up in a fragrance. Apparently, she never wore perfume other than occasional potpourri in her pockets but got inspired to create one after playing in her brother’s perfume lab. “I wanted a little of my brother’s hair, my father’s pipe, floor polish, empty chest of drawers, old forgotten houses.” (from the Vogue article). A peculiar olfactory desire, in a way, but strangely appealing as it’s not uncommon to have personal favorite smells that are not necessarily universally loved. It’s another story altogether to try to bottle it up to be worn as your signature perfume – that’s when things can get tricky as only the chosen few will truly appreciate it, and at this point I’m in the process of finding out if I’m one of them.
L’Air de Rien (which basically means “nothing” in French, from what I know) is said to be “an exquisite oriental with rich notes of French oakmoss, Tunisian neroli, sweet musk, amber, and vanilla”. All types of words go through my head as I smell it but “nothing” is definitely not one of them. It opens up all pretty with sweet musk, just a hint of oakmoss, and a sparkle of neroli. Quite lovable at this point until, out of the blue, the musk exposes itself in utter animalic indecency that makes you want to cover your
eyes nose. It also declares it’s actually related to the notorious Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens – take it or leave it, people. Don’t like animalic, stinky feet musk? Then you’re outta here. Fine. I’m still here. Go on! Then I’m slowly transported into the said antique chest of drawers in a huge abandoned English mansion where I find a pipe that still gets occasionally used by the ghosts (the smoke is the evidence). The musk is with me, following me everywhere until eventually it dissolves into a bitter oakmoss drink that’s given to me by the ghosts as a welcome. Part of me wants to stay, and part of me wants to leave for fear of becoming one of them and having to live in that haunted house. Which side wins? That I’m yet to find out.
L’Air de Rien is available at the Miller Harris online shop. I believe it’ll appear in stores soon.
Image source: www.vogue.co.uk
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