Carolina (Olympic Orchids)

When the angle of the afternoon sun shifts by imperceptible degrees...
When shadows lengthen across the lawn earlier and earlier each day...
When the sound of wind in the trees takes on a dry, rustling, ghostly quality...
When I begin to crave the scent of bonfires, apples, and fallen leaves...


The equinox is fast approaching, and as always, this time of year finds me turning inexorably from summer's herbs-and-hesperides to richer fare. Soon, piquant evergreens, golden tobaccos, ambery balsams, moody leathers, and bracing vetivers will overtake my pulse points. The fiery austerity of scents such as Parfum d'Empire Wazamba, Soivohle Meerschaum, or Lalique Encre Noire will suit the sacred equinoctial rites to perfection. But what about the before-and-after? Not every seasonal preparation requires solemnity, after all. For autumn's more mundane rituals -- raking leaves, making cider, hanging cool-weather curtains -- shouldn't there be a scent as comfortable and dressed-down as those Eddie Bauer flannels you just took out of storage?

Carolina seems a likely candidate for the task. It contains all of the cozy warmth one expects of an autumnal perfume, but in trading out smoke for candy-apple sweetness, it moves the focus from high ceremony to small-town harvest home. Corn dollies, county fairs, haunted hay rides... you get the picture. Combined with mellow tobacco leaf, that ultra-crisp pine-needle top note strikes me as being not too dissimilar to the scent of my home state's beloved Pine Barrens (who says Yanks and Rebs can't share common ground?). The ambery drydown is a mite conventional and at times a little too syrupy, but gee whillikers-- as long as I get to wander through this honeysuckle meadow on the way to the Karo factory, I don't mind it one bit.

Leave it to another fragrance to stiffen my backbone and gird me against the coming winter's privations. Carolina simply whets my appetite for the small hometown pleasures that the here-and-now affords.

Scent Elements: Longleaf pine, hay, tobacco, lavender, green grass, magnolia, kudzu flower, honeysuckle, star jasmine, tonka