Reflecting, she finds it easy enough to see how it all became so habit forming.
It seemed such fun at first: diving into deep resinous pools of laughter, smoking reefers with new friends in rooftop courtyards, potted geraniums lining up on tiled walls.
It seemed natural that after a while someone should introduce mystic philosophy and suggest it wasn’t necessary to wash absolutely every day, healthier in fact not to hose down each dawn.
Though, she recalls, it was thought best to at least try and mask the more animal aromas…
A spritz of an antique great uncle’s vetiver here some patchouli oil behind an ear there.
Then the musky smell really wasn’t that bad, quite, well, sexual, really.
Once you got used to it.
Soon, she says distantly, they were floating from room to room quoting Gurdjieff dressed in floor length embroidered kaftans and debating Jung in killim strewn salons.
Someone said, she forgets who now, someone said they should take a six month trip to Tangiers, live on nutmeg flavoured creme brulee and trust funds.
How they laughed and laughed until someone cried out in pain.
Then someone else, oh, she really can’t remember her name: a feminist, always reading de Beauvoir aloud to the group.
“She got very upset about everything, accused someone of wearing leather, which was banned, so we abandoned our plans and made up bouquets of roses we stole from the botanical gardens.”
Where are they now?
A blank distant look, just a hint of something moving behind the eyes…
“Oh, I couldn’t tell you. No idea.”
Habinita Eau de Parfum is the pre existential smell of 1920s bohemian Paris re-imagined by a well meaning West Coast new age commune.
All the rough edges and intellectual rigour knocked off and replaced with a dose of sugared sentimentality and only slightly knowing sexuality.
It’s sophisticated in a long line skirt and short bob cut sort of a way, somewhat marred by a little too much tie dye.
After a quick burst of petitgrain to clear the way at the opening it’s a mainly balmy sweetness in the shape of mastic, vanilla and unsalted amber; spicy nutmeg and assorted woods, especially cedar and sandal, that takes centre stage.
Sure enough there’s a feral element, but the musk doesn’t quite cut the mustard and frankly there’s a bit of a gap where the oakmoss ought to be.
As for the flowers, they prove to be really not that powerful after all, save for a brisk geranium at the beginning that persists a little way into the heart.
Overall it is very long lasting semi-oddity, sure to draw knowing glances, especially from the fully self-actualised.
But one can’t help wishing it was… well, more self confident, brutal and, frankly, odd.
This is the endless Summer of Love, there’s nothing here that a man in a smock (metaphorically or otherwise) couldn’t get away with.
The Perfumed Dandy