Amazing (JoAnne Bassett)

In the parlance of my punkrock youth, bands played either "loose" or "tight". Each adjective had its merits. A band who performed "loose" played each song like the world was about to end, with wild, chaotic, who-gives-a-crap fervor and total indifference to mistakes. Conversely, when a band played with ferocious concentration and discipline -- in such perfect synch that they didn't even need to look at each other for cues -- you'd say, "Man, that set was tight."

Amazing is tighter than tight. It has got its shit together.

To a crisp ginger-citrus heart (in which yuzu plays a graceful starring role), perfumer JoAnne Bassett has married a succession of green notes ranging from minty-cool (basil) to fresh (violet leaf; galbanum) to sylvan and shadowy (oakmoss). For contrast, all this lushness is bracketed on either end by a top and base so extra-sec it will set your teeth on edge. You will find yourself wishing (as I did) that it lasts longer. But like a regulation punk song, Amazing lasts three minutes and then it's out the door-- leaving behind a faint, delicious trace of citrus smoke.

Stylistically, Amazing cleaves to a classic mode of structure, but it inserts its own flippant attitude into the spaces. Smitten and searching for a parallel, I find myself reaching for my DVD of Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette to hop-skip around the film song by song.  I want to hear Gang of Four's Jon King snarl over the opening credits:
The problem of leisure?
What to do for pleasure...

I want to hear Windsor for the Derby's haunting "Melody of a Fallen Tree" deliver the hapless young Archduchess into the hands of her fiancé's family; I want to see the now-Queen of France hurry breathlessly from drawing room to boudoir to the tune of the Strokes' "What Ever Happened?"

I want to be forgotten
and I don't want to be reminded
You say "please don't make this harder"
No, I won't
Yet
I want to be beside her
She wanna be admired
You say "please don't make this harder"
No, I won't
Yet

Amazing is the pair of battered, beloved, baby-blue Chuck Taylors lying in a heap on the floor of the Dauphine's shoe closet.

As Bassett describes on her Etsy site, Amazing contains "all things outrageous...out of control". The result is paradoxical: a precise symphony of scent, every note ringing distinct and true, but in the most modern fashion.

In other words, a must.

Scent Elements: Oakmoss absolute, cassie, cinnamon leaf, vintage jasmine grandiflorum, lemon verbena, centifolia and damask rose ottos, muhuhu (African sandalwood), galbanum, bergamot, ginger, yuzu, rhododendron, benzoin, violet leaf, and 17 other mystery ingredients