Safran Troublant (L'Artisan)

When I awaken from a night's sleep that scarcely qualifies as rest, drag myself out of bed only to rediscover gravity (ouch), chug down three cups of coffee without the slightest diminishment of my brain fog, and face the day feeling like a frantic hamster on a treadmill, there is only one perfume for me: L'Artisan Parfumeur's Safran Troublant.

Troublant means "disturbing"-- an ironic adjective for so benevolent a scent. I much prefer L'Artisan's translation-- "saffron spell". With elements of rose, vanilla, and (of course) saffron, perfumer-cum-good-witch Olivia Giacobetti has concocted a masterpiece of aromatic sorcery capable of turning the dross of everyday into gold.

Today, for example, I knew right from the start that I'd need all the moral support I could lay my hands on to make it through to five o'clock. I assembled my ammunition: a favorite pair of jeans, my most comfortable shoes, a certain necklace that never fails to bring a feeling of protection-- and Safran Troublant. All day long, I felt myself enfolded in an invisible cloak of goodwill that warmed me against the chill and insulated my tender self against the sharp corners of the world. Whenever my courage began to slip, I raised my wrist to my nose and breathed in-- and discovered new stores of strength.

How can a mere perfume provide so much consolation?

Personally, I think that what makes Safran Troublant so effective as a mood-elevator is its gourmand quality. It deliberately evokes rich exotic desserts such as Persian rice pudding or Punjabi gulab jamun (cream fritters soaked in cardamom-rose syrup), delicacies which double as comfort foods. With such role models, Safran Troublant doesn't have to apologize for being high-calorie when it does so much for the spirit.

Yet a perfume's earnest promise to "fill you up" does not necessarily spell sincerity on the part of its creator. When a fragrance brief reads like a Ruth Reichl essay, you can be sure that some faceless corporate entity has fully calculated the profit in pushing your hunger buttons. Most "foodie fragrances" do so cynically, offering you a feast of edible-sounding ingredients but ultimately leaving you empty and unsated. Not so Safran Troublant. I believe it exemplifies the elusive element that renders butter and cream so satisfying to the palate. It makes you feel FULL-- contented and complete. It speaks mystically to the human desire to "eat, pray, love". In short, it feeds the soul.

So leave it to the lab-coated neurochemists to dissect the subtle effect of its molecules on your limbic system. All I know are the results-- and all I can say is A-Mmmmmmm-en!

Scent Elements: Saffron, rose, vanilla, sandalwood