The Quiet Scientist… Silences by Jacomo The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter 

She made for quite a sight hurtling down the hillside on her sledge long after the snows had gone.

She didn’t care.

Her sleigh, as she had taken to calling it, was the fastest way from home to forest whether it was the ice of winter or the wet grass of spring under her.

Its hand polished soft wood frame, lustrous with the cool green lemon resin that she lavished upon it, cut a seamstresses swathe through the fields. She took the shortest route in the least time so as to waste none of the fabric of the day.

April showers and unseasonal warmth had brought forth a scattering of lily of the valley: with an outstretched arm she snaffled a few and tossed them into her basket without stopping or even deviating from the line of descent.

Arriving at the woodland’s edge she dismounted, wiped the cold compressed grass from her trusty steed’s blades, inhaled its bitter and brand new odour then wrapped the handful of green into tissue paper before placing it beside the muguet.

Once beneath the canopy, in dappled light and shade, her search began in earnest.

It was time for the first bluebells of the year, and she had determined to find them.

Hyacinthoides non-sctipta (how she preferred the old name of Endymion), always smell best when caught early, as though the first flush having pushed themselves so forcefully to the front are breathless and exhale their scent with a more serious ardour than later blooms.

She chanced upon them almost immediately, their hue picked out in bright watery sunlight, glowing in an otherwise out of focus glade.

She held them to her nose and was not disappointed, an innocent and uncloying sweetness, that charmed instantly. Carefully she consigned them to her carry all and prepared to climb home with her precious haul.

Then something tugged at her sense: a shaper darker smell, of trees and roots, growth and decay.

Extracting the scalpel from her lab coat pocket, she scraped a little moss from the base of a great oak, careful not to take too much, careful not to disturb the fragile colony too much lest she destroy it.

No need this time take the crop close to her face, its pungent scent reached her from the basket where it now sat.

There was another aroma too, besides the unseasonal tea rose and the wild yellow iris, but it was not until the rain came, brisk and businesslike, that it revealed itself. As she trampled a path through the undergrowth, she flattened, with the purpose of disarming them, a small cluster of nettles.

They responded not with a stinging rash, but an early smell of the next season. The scent was savoury, sodden yet sun bleached, swarthy and still clean: it was the presentiment of an English summer.

She longed to take armfuls back, but contented herself with a gloved handful or two.

And so she began her return: clambering through the already tall meadows, deep in thought as wild grasses brushed against her.

All the time considering how to turn these things collected from nature into chemicals and then how to compose them into black bottled magic.

Silences by Jacomo is a perfume that particularly deserves to be talked about, a hush that demands to be broken.

It is a glorious green, replete with floral abundance, a masterful but restrained use of moss and an uncontained herbaceous feature that is more centrepiece than border.

It is an exercise in apparently effortless formality and clear-sightedly brilliant composition.

The opening itself is quite special, a surprising cool breeze of aldehydic muguet, shot through with sharp lemon. Be alert though, for in this changeable spring day of a scent it is gone tantalisingly too soon.

Before any hint of disappointment can possibly set in at the loss of this commencement a tiered heart begins to emerge.

First the green chalk sour of galbanum arrives, only to be splendidly offset by the slight sweetness of hyacinths and more distantly rose and little iris.

Shortly after a late developing but rather beautiful and restrained oakmoss makes its entrance, providing a benign bitterness that allows the other notes to float more freely above.

Then, a product perhaps of this combination, or of the appearance of vetiver, cedar and ambrette in the base, a wonderfully natural accord of summer undergrowth, of stinging nettles in particular, comes to the fore.

This is a truly evocative aroma that carries with it the alternate heat and downpours, pleasures and pains of a temperamental temperate summer.

Silences, then, is a scent that contains two seasons, in one day and a single flacon.

And there we have a statement that should give you an impression of the tremendous scale of this achievement.

Sledges, forests, amateur botany and professional chemistry are pass times as fit for boys as girls.

With special thanks to the dear correspondent who provided The Dandy with a sample of this perfume in the vintage formulation.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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26 responses to “The Quiet Scientist… Silences by Jacomo The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter 

  1. batkitty

    Wonderful–I’ve always sensed a kind of urgency in this perfume, a strong desire to “get to the point” in the sharp greens and chilly florals. Everything seems to want to burst forward all at once when I wear it. The image of your scientist riding her sleigh down the grassy hill feels like how I smell this perfume. It’s direct, tart, and fascinating.

    • Dear Batkitty
      “Urgency”. Thank you, that is just the word, as though all those notes were trying to jostle their was to the front.
      I adore the momentary muguet opening, almost exactly like Yardley’s Lily of the Valley for a few seconds and then… gone!.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Lilybelle

    What a beautiful review! I love the ones you set in the natural world — they go straight to my heart and soul. We’ve met this character before, too, in Infusion d’Iris, no? Bravo! Very well done, Mr. Dandy! I love it.
    “…an uncontained herbaceous feature that is more centrepiece than border.” That was my feeling, too, about Silences. Confession: I gave my bottle away. Now you make me wish I hadn’t. 🙂

  3. This was wonderful, Dandy. I love the images you conjured. Maybe one day, if I’m lucky, I’ll locate Silences. I’d love to try it. Lily of the Valley is a favorite of mine.

    • Dear Gripping
      There seems to be rather a lot of it around on the internet here in Europe, but as ever, the challenge is to locate the vintage among the more recent and, I’m reliably informed, deeply inferior.
      If I find a stash, I’ll let you know.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Isn’t it grand sampling vintage?

  5. Silences (I’m lucky enough to own a vintage bottle) is surely one of the greatest and greenest and certainly fairest of them all! You did her perfect justice, too – thank you!

  6. Collecting blossoms from the snow on a sledge wearing a lab coat and carrying a scalpel – who is this? I am intrigued! Must find Silences!

  7. Silence is, as you beautifully put it, gloriously green! And perfect for spring. Thank you for the wonderfully evocative review, M. Dandy!

  8. rosestrang

    I rather like the sound of her life – sledging in the forest collecting plants, so peaceful. I’ve never tried ‘Silences’ but as you’ve described it, it sounds lovely!

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