I think my brain’s vocab centre has had a slight melt-down. I need a synonym for ‘fuzzy’, but none of the ones I’ve come up with so far capture the exact type of ‘fuzziness’ I’d like to convey. ‘Fluffy’, ‘velvety’ and ‘fleecy’ come close, but the first one’s too silly, the second one’s too soft and the third one’s too ovine. The combined talents of Roget and Thesaurus.com haven’t been a great help either. ‘Plumose’ is linked with feathers, which isn’t what I’m after. ‘Velutinous’ relates to soft, fine hairs, which also isn’t right. ‘Tomentous’ (superb word!) refers to the matted, woolly down on stems and leaves, which raises unwanted botanical connotations. And ‘pubescent’ is, on this occasion, just plain wrong.
The driving force behind this word search is an attempt to articulate the overriding smell of Blessings. Recently issued in eau de parfum strength, the scent started life as a bespoke Roja Dove creation commissioned by ebullient, Nigerian-born businesswoman Belinda Brown. At the edp’s London launch, Mrs Brown explained that she wanted a perfume which would capture the essence of Stella Pomade, a thick, floral skin cream she used as a child, partly as protection against the ravages of the sandblasting, desert winds. She stated she was so pleased with Dove’s work – and she enjoyed so many compliments whenever she wore it – that she decided it would be worth her while to make it publicly available.
One of the fragrance’s main ingredients is tonka bean absolute… which is where the fuzziness comes in. A distinctive, complex natural material, it simultaneously smells of hay, sunshine, warm tobacco, dew-covered meadows and rich desserts. It possesses a fur-like, tactile quality, but it also floats with nimble, cloud-like weightlessness. So yes, in one sense, it is cosy, cuddly, comforting and, well… fuzzy, but it also deserves a much more opulent-sounding descriptor.
Blessings opens with a smooth, welcoming citrus blend (for once, the bergamot actually smells like bergamot), proceeds to an almost-too-intoxicating jasmine/rose accord and ends on a creamy, radiant sandalwood note. But beneath all three parts is a liberal dose of the tonka, imbuing the other components with its tenacity whilst highlighting their most feminine, most luminous assets. Bergamot/jasmine/sandalwood may not be the most original combo currently on the market, but in this instance, it works. With its phenomenal sillage, glowing warmth and infectious joie de vivre, Blessings proves that sometimes revisiting the past yields commendable results. And as for the synonyms… I think I’d be better off combining a few of them and coining my own word. Any takers for ‘pluffinous’?
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Belinda Brown in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]
And now here’s a question for you: if you could turn a long lost childhood smell into a perfume, what would you choose?