Filed under: Perfume | Tags: Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Serge Lutens
It’s easy to be seduced by the idea of Daim Blond, a “haute concentration” among perfumes that, due to their lofty price tag and avant garde sympathies, can hardly be considered plebian to begin with. I’m still in the dark as to what makes this concentration more “haute” than the others, but after reading the notes and reviews of Daim Blond, I was eager to make its suave white-suede acquaintance.
What I found, upon spraying it on my wrists in Bluemercury this morning, was not the rich-bitch confection of JP Tod’s loafers, sun-baked BMW interiors, and gently worn fingerless driving gloves that I’d expected (and sorely wanted) it to be. Daim Blond instead performed something rather ugly and perverse on my skin that called to mind blinding white hospital corridors, antibacterial douche, and a mighty power struggle between good and evil not unlike that of Nurse Ratched and Randle MacMurphy in the Ken Kesey novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” And much like that story, in which a high-spirited mental patient who may or may not actually be crazy meets his match in a quietly castrating and power-hungry ward nurse, this perfume both dismayed and exhausted me.
At first, the medicinal aridity of cardamom butts heads with a rambunctious marmalade note, described in Daim Blond’s official description as “abricot stone.” Malleable, easily-led iris, the other predominant note, sides with apricot, effectively frustrating the dry forces of cardamom’s strict cleanliness and forcing it to use another tactic: leather. This isn’t an animalic leather, wearing chaps and wielding a paddle. Rather, it’s the sort of soft, beaurocratic leather that speaks in a modulated voice and smiles as it efficiently goes about its work of subduing the wayward apricot. There is one last hysterical, jammy shriek, and then it’s over. Apricot has been lobotomized by the forces of order in this perfume.
The dry down of Daim Blond finds the offending apricot note meek, mild, and drooling with the creamy, ephemeral wistfulness of heliotrope. The leather note kicks its soft-soled loafers up on its desk and breathes a musky sigh of relief. Only then does Daim Blond begin to smell as it was meant to smell: like white suede, levelheaded and serene. Still, it’s hard to forget that a rebellion with all of its attendant casualties has just been squashed, and its somehow difficult to look the smooth, calm suede note comfortably in the eye. Her hands are dirty even while spotlessly clean.
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