Lei Flower (Providence Perfume)

Composed in 2010 by Charna Ethier, Lei Flower smells like no lei flower I ever encountered during the whole time that I lived in Hawai'i. Blossoms commonly used for such floral tributes included plumeria, jasmine, and carnations-- none of which smell like the immortelle that clearly dominates this fragrance. I hardly smell anything else, but then, that's the nature of immortelle-- it forces every perfume it inhabits to become a soliflore by default.

The tiniest -- and I mean TINIEST -- bit of coconut can be found buried in this vast burnt-sugar ocean, but that really seems to be all the variety or dimensionality Lei Flower is prepared to offer. It's extremely linear, remaining just as it is from beginning to end; its life on skin being fairly brief, it seems to have scant time for transformation. I don't love it as much as Annick Goutal's monumental Sables (or Love + Toast's mercurial Honey Coconut). And yet I really do like this fragrance-- enough to have put a fairly sizable dent in the purse sprayer that Lisa sent me a year ago.

Lei Flower may not have much to do with flowers, but it does have something to do with Hawai'i, if only tangentially. It reminds me of those days on Maui when the sugarcane fields were burning, and a hazy shroud of molasses smoke tinted the very sunlight as sepia-brown as a pair of old-school aviator shades.

Scent Elements: Yuzu, orange, cassis, jasmine, frangipani, ylang-ylang, bitter almond, coconut, chamomile, tarragon, cocoa, patchouli, vanilla