Sycomore (Chanel)

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she will never be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine....


--excerpt from "Witch-Wife", Renascence, 1917
Sycomore is a perfume with a single, unholy talent: it continually manages to lose itself at the precise moment that I go looking for it.

When I didn't need it, there my sample sat, conspicuously innocent-- but if I developed the sudden notion that I wanted it, it simply vanished as if gremlin-possessed. Perfumes have many tricks to play, but they usually save them to play on skin. Not Sycomore: as it disappeared from one bag and surfaced in another, went AWOL from my scent cabinet only to show up on my bedside table, I began to wonder if it had any other surprises, or just the one.

There was only one way to find out: capture it and wear it all at once before it could escape again.

In so doing, I discovered that Sycomore is an evergreen vetiver not terribly far removed from Comme des Garçons incense territory. I found it to be hale, pleasant, crisp, outdoorsy, and completely unextraordinary, given all the trouble it put me to. If I happened to be feeling sore, I'd say that it was overly linear, short-lived, too standoffish for its own good. And if I really had an axe to grind, I'd declare that I like Sycomore better lost than found. But then I'd have to admit that the runaround it gave me amounted to more excitement, problem-solving, and cardiovascular exercise than I get most days, so I oughtn't to pretend it wasn't worth it.

Somehow, though, an absent prankster is always more attractive than the one who is fickle right to your face. And when Sycomore takes its leave of you, it doesn't mess around. It forbears to fade gradually, giving you the length of a drydown to get used to the idea. It goes out like a light-- leaving you in the dark, wondering which way is the door.

Scent Elements: Vetiver, sandalwood, cypress, juniper, pink pepper