Sunday, May 6, 2007

Padparadscha by Satellite : Perfume Review

There was no review yesterday, since I’d been out of the house all day on a little day trip to another city. Yes, as you might have guessed, I was on a fragrance quest: I went there predominantly to sniff out some perfumes suggested to me by a friend. But the day was astoundingly bright for this time of year in our rainy country – which miraculously has been dry for a while now- and I found myself walking for hours, exploring the tiny cobblestone streets of different neighborhoods. I love those little explorations when I never know what I’ll encounter next. Every turn, every corner becomes an adventure. I guess I never managed to shed my childish enthusiasm – nor do I ever want to! The greatest find of the day though was in a little street I’d walked through before, in an area I visit quite often. An area full of little curious shops and evocative scents: the old smells of wood and dust emitting from the tiny antique stores, the heavy ones of cheese wafting from the cheese monger’s... Raisins, cinnamon and yeast from the numerous bakeries mingle with the flowery scents coming from the perfumeries and thin trails of moth balls mingled with disinfectant gently waft toward the street from the open doors of vintage clothing stores... There, tucked away between a silversmith and an antiquary I found a true gem. I must have passed it dozens of times before without noticing. How could I have missed it? There it was before me, like a magic shop that mushrooms out of nothingness in a fantasy novel. Curly toed slippers, gems and fabric were on the window display and a glance inside the open door revealed a gilded ceiling, still covered with its original painting. I couldn’t help but go inside, to take a closer look at the vintage theater and opera costumes that lined the walls and hang from the railings. They did not hang lifelessly though... Pierrots, Columbinas and Harlequins, princes and princesses, Venetian lords and ladies and Chinese emperors all danced around me in gem-colored swirls of sequins and feathers. The divas of the 1920’s sung the blues from a hidden stereo at one corner, where the most exquisitely eccentric, heavy made-up red-haired woman was mending yet another velvet costume. She explained to me that she buys all these costumes at auctions, or often privately, due to the connections she has made from working in the theater in the past. I propped a ruby-colored velvet jacket with gold trimming against my chest. That one was by Chané, a period designer and she had the matching pantaloons as well, she explained. Seven hundred and fifty euro for the jacket, she added, as I carefully returned it to the company of the other magnificent pieces. I left to make my way back home with an extra spring in my step and a smile painted on my face, my heart made richer for having been there. This morning the experience seems palpable still and the color of the jacket vivid in my mind. Inspired, I knew which perfume I wanted to experience today... A deep orange-colored sample vial I had been saving up for a while: Padparadscha, by Satellite.

Padparadscha is the name given to a rare type of sapphire gemstones of pinkish-orange hue. What sets them apart from rubies is that they are lighter in color, but some of the darker stones can create confusion even for the trained eyes of gem dealers. Named after such a precious rarity, Padparadscha had me intrigued. Perhaps I was setting myself up for disappointment because my expectations were certainly high. The bottle is gorgeous and the jus itself is very evocative of the actual stone with its sunset-orange hue. It came as a shock to me to find upon application that this is actually a very masculine perfume. The website from which I procured my sample did describe this as a feminine scent after all. But to me, Padparadscha smelled characteristically male. The fragrance opened with what I immediately identified as cloves. The cloves were rendered dry by the presence of light nutmeg notes. Lavender blended the two together, making the experience all the more masculine. It had been an interesting ride thus far, but on the dry-down the disappointment begun. What was rich and interesting suddenly lost its edge and became unoriginal and bland. A woodsy smell comprised primarily of sandalwood, cedar and soft amber was all that remained. A scent I’d smelled so many times before it seemed, the profiles of countless other generic male aftershave colognes and cheap shaving foams. Oh dear. Not a gem I will be adding to my collection any time soon. It is such a shame too, for I would have loved nothing more than to treasure this perfume and use it as a reminder of the beautiful spring adventure I just described. A fragrance to symbolize the stunning gem-colored jacket I held in my hands and the passion contained in that treasure-trove of a shop. It is indeed regretful, but I am partly comforted by the thought that there are many others who do appreciate Padparadscha and it is to them I dedicate this little recount of my beautiful discovery.

Picture of round-cut padparadscha sapphires courtesy of www.rakuten.ne.jp


8 comments:

scent w x said...

i loke your work i enjoy readind your writing, i'm perfumer i love talking about fragrances

scent w x said...

fragrances is my life i love it i die for it

Divina said...

Hi Scent W X! Thank you so much for the kind words! I visited your profile and noticed you recently started a new blog. I will be returning to see your progress. I wish you success and I am looking forward to reading more from you.

TMH256 said...

Aw, D. I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy this one! Its cedar-y, soft jasmine-woodsy goodness is one that I have added to my collection recently. Your experience in the costume shop sounds divine!

T.

Divina said...

It really was a marvelous experience! It is too bad the shop does not have a website ...it would have been great to be able to show some pictures of what it actually looks like inside, it really stimulated my senses.

Gail S said...

I kind of enjoyed this perfume in a "respect from afar" sort of way. Most of the notes are things I really like, and it was interesting that it was done without even a hint of sweetness. Of course, that lack of sweetness is what will keep me from wearing it, but I think I would be glad to hang out with someone else who was wearing it :)

tmp00 said...

I like this one for its cedary freshness, but it does seem like a mans cologne: hardly up to a name as evocative as Padparadscha.

That store sounds absolutely divine...

Divina said...

You know what, I am definitely feeling inspired to go back to the store and ask the owner if I can take some pictures to share with the world since she is so anti-having a website herself. I'll do my best! It is definitely an experience that should be shared!