Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Making Hay

A few things come to mind:
Cutting it.
Summer of ’02.
Dornach, Switzerland.
The onerous task of running in front of the bailer.
Raking the stray blades into clean rows.
Blazing sun beating down on me in farm clothing.
Running behind the bailer straightening the bails.
Taking refuge under shady cherry trees.
Thinking of lunch.

A few years later, I ventured into Santa Maria Novella’s Soho boutique and sampled their eau de cologne, Fieno (Hay), hoping to rekindle fond memories of simpler times. I can’t say it embodied what I thought it would. Rather, its clean, powdery and slightly green character captured an aspect of hay as, say, I’d imagine a hay-scented soap to smell. There was even a sweetness to it. Why does hay automatically get associated with a dry-ish summer barnyard? Come to think of it, there were many days – this being Switzerland and all – when the sun wouldn’t come out and there I’d be with these marvelous respiring dairy cows (Holsteins for the most part), watching them eat as I threw the beautiful green blades into their manger. Something in Fieno (as I wear it today in the triple extract concentrate) brings back that moment, the cooling breeze coming in through an open barn door and wafting over the freshly cut hay. Its sweet herbaceous character, accented by myrtle, is the essence of such days and the respite they gave from the sun’s rays. A summer must-have, for sure. I wish it came in soap and shower gel, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Fieno..... according to the SA in the only place where you can get a few SMNs in Zurich, it was inspired by the sweet grass mats perfuming the houses in India. To my friend it was the smell of Mauritius. To me, it was Poland and the sweet smell of the bison grass you could by a bundle of in the bison reserve of Bialowieza (and which you find a blade of in Zubrowka wodka). And it's also the smell of wilting sweet woodruff, waiting to be macerated in white wine to make May wine.... or the meadowsweet on the cliffs of Cornwall with nothing but sea below and nothing but sky above. So many memories in one bottle of perfume. Definitely a must-have! Thank you for reviewing it!

May 22, 2008 at 2:13 AM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Jindra- it's pure poetry.

Love what you two make of this !

This is another love of mine; for the timothy hay on a guinea-pig tummy, you need to wear SMN Muschio...

May 22, 2008 at 2:37 AM  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Is the hay scent produced by coumarin? That would account for some of the sweet, powdery feeling too. I really need to explore the SMNs. An ex of mine recently showed up wearing Melograno (rather than the Mouchoir de Monsieur I'd been stocking him with in our time together) and it smelled quite lovely on him... Though I was vexed he'd switched fragrances, but that's another story...

May 22, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Dinazad- I remember seeing the blade of bison grass in the Zubrowka. I must try it. Akin, I guess, to placing vetiver root in vodka ... but for a different effect. And I have to try that May wine, too. Wherever can one find it?

Chaya- How funny. I love the original Muschio from SMN. It has a little of this (coumarin?) powder too.

Denyse- Yes, coumarin may very well be the source of that sweet powder. We all know how important it is in the MdM blend (as in Jicky, which originated it). Let him wear both!

May 22, 2008 at 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to make May wine yourself, I'm afraid. You need a small bouquet of flowering sweet woodruff. Let it wilt a bit (this brings out the aroma) and hang it into a pitcher of dry white wine for a few hours, making sure that the cut stems aren't in the wine (the juice from the stems is headache-inducing). The wine will take on the aroma of the woodruff. Some people sweeten this or add a bit of sparkling wine or sparkling water, but I prefer it as is, nicely cooled in the fridge. May wine and sweet woodruff mean spring!

Chaya, now I have to go try Muschio (I feel so hard for Fieno that I never tried anything else in the shop...)

May 23, 2008 at 12:24 AM  

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