Otter Luvr (Smell Bent)

In Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' Ice Age novel Reindeer Moon, the ghost of a young mother observes with joy that her sons have done well without her. One is being properly raised by human relatives; the other (who died with her in childbirth) was reborn as an otter. In her eyes, the latter has the clear advantage. Otters, she's noticed, tend to thrive despite all obstacles. It eases her mind considerably to see that her child has joined such a lucky and lighthearted tribe.

On the other hand, certain indigenous tribes fear the otter for its ability to filch souls from living people. In shamanic cultures, the problem of soul loss is solved by persuading the errant anima to quit the spirit realm and return to its rightful body. However, first you have to catch it-- not an easy task when it's trapped inside a lithe otter swimming lickety-split downstream.

Of all the Mustelidae, the otter takes top honors for sheer exuberance. I've always had a special fascination for these sleek river creatures, with their extravagant whiskers and mischievous mien. As totem animals go, you couldn't ask for a friendlier guide through the swift-moving current of life... and if a shape-shifting paramour were to be desired, I can imagine nothing more satisfying than a lithe otter lover. He might be slippery, maybe even a little disreputable, but he gives himself freely and joyfully-- taking little and leaving no melancholy memories behind.

Otter Luvr is a supple leather chypre suitable for lotharios of both mortal and mythical origins. Against a backdrop of cozy mammalian pongs produced by castoreum and musk, one finds a playful baked-apple sweetness offset by the faint, bitter heat of turmeric. As incompatible as gourmand notes mixed with animalics may sound, this perfume pulls it off in a style reminiscent (dare I say it?) of the ultra-luxe Puredistance M. What sets it slightly apart is an intriguing metallic coldwater note that answers the question: What's an otter without a river to swim?

One mild quibble: for once, the nomenclature could have used more tongue in its cheek. May I suggest Loutre Moi-Même (My Otter Self), a send-up of l'autre moi-même (my other/hidden self)? Or L'Outré Loutre (Over-the-Top Otter)? Or how about just Significant Otter? (I know I'd like Otter Luvr to be mine!) Whatever you call it, Otter Luvr performs beautifully, warms the heart, and lasts forever-- just as you wish all your lovers would. But hold on to what you have, because Smell Bent has already dispatched Otter Luvr to the spirit world-- more's the pity.

Scent Elements: Bay, oakmoss, algae absolute, natural ambergris, castoreum, sweet resins, musk