Monday, 24 October 2016

Blue Grass: 1934 - 2016?

I love Superdrug.

Putting that out there right now.

Never mind that in your local store, you'll get to know all the staff by name, they stock loads of cruelty-free make-up and toiletries, and if you're like me, and prefer their own brand of just about everything because it's top quality, smells great, and does whatever the corresponding and more expensive 'name' brand does, you can be safe in the knowledge that it's BUAV approved - you know, with the little leaping bunny sign on the back next to the recycling icon telling you that no non-humans were harmed in the making of it.

You can even have a laugh as they sportingly try to offer you perfumes at the check-out, knowing full well that you're the local perfumery snob. They do it just to see me retch, the scamps!

Yes, it’s almost a sport at my local store. I go to pay for my 'moisturiser' (Superdrug's own brand baby lotion), and they see what reaction they're going to get today if they try to get me to "try" the latest nerve-gas from Nicki Minaj, or Britney, or Kardashian, or Diesel (for the man in my life).

The other day, however, as soon as I presented myself at the till, they knew it was game over.

"You know" confided the assistant leaning across the counter as I rummaged in my purse, "I was going to give you my usual speech about trying some of our perfumes on offer, but you smell so divine, I just couldn't."

Mirroring her conspiratorial air, I leaned across the counter as well.

"Actually, I bought it here." I told her. "For a £tenner."

"Really?" She was plainly astonished, looking in some confusion at the gaudy array of sexed-up bottles with celebrity names tattooed on the boxes, all smelling curiously like that ubiquitous cloying air-freshener stink that anyone who's ever worked in an office will recognise when using the lavatory after a colleague who thinks dousing the air with it is going to disguise the fact they've just done something in there they really should have hung onto until they got home.

"Would you like to know which one..?" I continued, teasingly.

"Gosh yes!" she responded as the rest of the queue fidgeted behind me.

It was this:

Perhaps your mother wore it? Or your grandmother (as in my case). It was actually Elizabeth Arden's first perfume creation, launched in 1934, and blended to remind her of the smell of her home in Virginia.

Of course, it would have looked rather more like this around that time:


Pretty, isn't it? Here's the lowdown:

Top notes: Lavender, bergamot, orange
Heart notes: Citrus green accord, fruity green nuances, Lily of the valley, Rose, Geranium, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Spicy and herbaceous notes
Base notes: Sandalwood and vetiver

Furthermore, it still actually does smell like all the above. They don't seem to have injected it with pyrethrum….yet.

The assistant was a little taken aback as she then broke the news to me that this particular store had stopped stocking it as it had not been 'popular' enough.

I was saddened, but not surprised. Popularity always wins out over good taste. It's the way of the world, and there's not a lot one can do about that.

Or maybe there is…

The assistant did assure me it's still available on their website to order for delivery, or to your local Superdrug store, so that's encouraging.

Why not show it some love and give it a try? It's out of stock at the moment, but you could help save its life by at least asking them to notify you when it's back in.

Be prepared though. When you try it, if you're used to modern perfumery, you might be a little disappointed. It won't blow your socks off. You won't be aware that you're wearing it as you walk down the street, intoxicating yourself (and asphyxiating others). The older generation of perfumes won't do that for you.

Their job is to make you memorable in a magical and elusive way to those who get to stand in your aura for a moment or two - and not because you've left them retching and reaching for a hankie so they can breathe freely again.

I used to hate it when other people wore the same scent as me, because for me, scent should be exclusive. I was brought up on the law that stated a lady never revealed her age - or the name of her scent.

However, this is too important. Scents like Blue Grass must not be allowed to disappear. There is a life at stake. Sure, just one life in the shape of a simple bottle with a nuanced elixir inside, but it's a life with many names: names like 'Sophistication', 'Class', 'Subtlety', and 'Glamour' (and that's 'glamour' of the Audrey Hepburn variety, rather than the Lads' Mag norks-out, bum-in-the-air-for-the-dogs-to-sniff variety).

Like Tinkerbell, if you don't show you believe in it, it will die.

Don't let it.

© Emma Blake - 2016