Cordovan Rose Demi-Absolute (Soivohle)

As is probably self-evident from the palette of Parfümieren, I adore all variations of that most Victorian of colors: mauve. Described as a greyish pink leaning ever so slightly toward the cool end of the spectrum, mauve borrows its appellation from the anything-but-common mallow flower (Malva sylvestris). Yet in the art of bestowing proper names, Mother Nature cannot possibly hold a candle to Plochere-- a six-decade-old designer's color system in which mauve and all its corollaries operate under the most conspicuous of aliases.

Do you like roses? You can make a bouquet of them. Choose from Blush, Caroline, Castor, Cerise, China, Coral, Dryad, Fantasy, Fuchsia, Grecian, Magenta, Monticello, Octoroon, Slate, Southern, Spectra, Valencia, or Venetian Roses for a start. You can order up a matching corsage in the form of a Cloud, a Dust, a Mist, a Morn, a Pearl, a Shadow, a Smoke, or a Stain-- all Rose-tinted. If your tastes run to the gory or Gothic, you can enjoy Withered Roses or (presumably later, allowing time for decay) Ashes of Roses. Oooohhhh... spooky!

Do you prefer another flower over the ubiquitous rose? How about Ageratum, Amaranth, Azalea, Belladonna, Cineraria, Clover, Heliotrope, Hortensia, Misty Lilac, Old Lavender, Orchid, Phlox, Ruffled Petunia, Sussanqua, Violet Pansy, or Windflower? If blossoms aren't your bag, you can enjoy gemstones (Amethyst, Tourmaline), fruit (Blackberry Cream, Peach Bud, Raspberry Glace), precious materials (Amber Coral, Bisque) and celestial events (Aurora, Cold Morn, Dawn Glow, Evening Haze, Eventide, Heavenly, Midnight Bronze, Moonbeam, Moonlight, Moonmist, Morning Mist, Night Magic, Nocturne).

Thinking pink? Here's Beauty, Camelia, Cameo, Caprice, Carnation, China, Debutante, Dust, Heavenly, Lily, Nymph, Powder, Prism, Quality, Queen, Salome, Silver, Teenage, and Zest. But perhaps you'd rather model your sunset on intangibles: Atonement, Charm, Dignity, Distinction, Finesse, Rapture, Romance, Serenity, Surrender. No? Have you a specific love-idol in mind? Would it be Bronzio, Dolly Varden, Monsignor, Pinocchio, Rosario, Sophisticated Lady, Spitfire, Stella, Sultana, Vamp, Vanda, or Vesta? Tell us, do!

Or maybe you simply crave a mauve called Pouf de Vent (Puff of Air)? Plochere's got it. But how sad that in this parade of paint chips from Cameo Pink to Cabernet, there is no Cordovan Rose. The only explanation I can summon is this: Cordovan Rose is on a wavelength beyond this or any other spectrum.

The chromaticians -- if not the perfumers, thank goodness -- must have known when to call it quits.

If a scent can indeed provoke wild visions, Cordovan Rose appears in my mind's eye as a soft, leathery pale taupe that splits open at the seams to reveal an alarming blaze of vermilion. Encased in something cool, dry, and dusty, this great heat possesses the same startling and deceptive power as a spent coal. You might conclude from its ashen exterior that it's given up all its fragrant flame-- but at the slightest nudge, it breaks open to reveal a blazing heart of the very purest, hottest, neon rose.

Out of a thousand variations, this -- a color, a perfume, a banked fire that comes alive again and again on skin -- is the only pink I think I really need.

Scent Elements: Rose, leather, smoke, plum, birch tar