InekeFest / Day One: After My Own Heart

For me, it really all began with Gilded Lily. Courtesy of the everfabulous Suzanne, a sample of this deliciously zaftig floral created by San Francisco perfumer Ineke Rühland appeared in my Christmas stocking in December 2010. I spritzed it on and was instantly smitten-- but never bothered to look further. Why? I just plain forgot, is all. I'm sure all perfumistas know this story: backlog of samples, more incoming; so many perfumes, so little time. In my affinity for one tree, I lost sight of the forest.

Enter Colleen, the Fragrant Fairy Godmother who introduced me to Sweet Anthem Roslin and Soivohle Yin Hao. We first met over my quarry list, when she emailed to say she might be able to fulfill some of my wishes. Thus launched a volley of emails, fragrant packages, and handwritten notes-- and a new friendship was forged. Hurrah!

Among the plethora of jawdroppers Colleen sent me was the beautiful black coffret containing the Ineke Deluxe abécédaire. My old friend Gilded Lily was there, accompanied by the six fragrances that preceded it: After My Own Heart, Balmy Days & Sundays, Chemical Bonding, Derring-Do, Evening Edged in Gold (Colleen's favorite), and Field Notes from Paris. These alone could make a week of reviews-- but then two other Fragrant Fairy Godmothers got into the act. Lisa surprised me with the newest "deluxe", Hothouse Flower... and Blacknall gifted me with a decant of Briar Rose (from Ineke's Floral Curiosities series for Anthropologie).

So here I am, set to discover the line and blog about it in real time-- the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. Let's go alphabetically, shall we?

Imagine, if you please, a montage of every classic movie musical featuring small-town folk who collectively (and spontaneously) burst into song. Imagine an escape to a simpler, happier time: blue skies and green grass and red-white-and-blue banners snapping in the breeze, straw boaters, feathered picture hats, and twirling parasols. Wait... is that a marching band I hear?

All this and more can be yours with one spritz of After My Own Heart. Oppressed by worries from the oncoming hurricane, I came to this happy lilac soliflore with a heavy heart and heavy feet. After ten minutes of wear, I was prancing around the reference department work floor, turning on copiers and logging in computers to the tune of "Marion the Librarian".

I kid you not. I'm pretty sure I'm why they closed the library early.

Like Opardu, After My Own Heart chooses a simple, innocent interpretation of lilac over anything hot and heavy-- ideal, since lilac's already the frilliest, frothiest, most bosomy of blossoms, as exuberantly feminine as Chantilly lace. But when I call After My Own Heart simple, I only mean 'unadorned by self-consciously sensual amber or spice'. I wouldn't exactly say it's going bra-less. Its natural embonpoint requires a bit of uplift and restraint, provided by dry, crisp green notes which act like a corset to endow a trimmer figure on the whole.

Of course, most days I like my lilac bustin' out all over, or gourmandized in the same manner as Samsara's jasmine-- all smothered with butter and creme caramel. But you can't always subject fragile flowers to the Cecil B. deMille treatment. "Larger-than-life" only works some of the time. For the rest, you're better off with Lerner and Loewe.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, raspberry, greens, lilac, sandalwood, heliotrope, musk