Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Great shave and more ruminations on “novelty” soaps and scents

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An extremely nice result this morning. I did change the blade in the iKon 102 after the first pass, this time using a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge. I did have the benefit of a two-day stubble (and an extremely good slant), of course, but prep is also good..

As I lathered with Catie’s Bubble Waterlyptus and enjoyed the fragrance, I got to thinking again of what exact is a novelty fragrance.

As a species, we rely as much on vision as dogs do on smell and cats on hearing. I suspect that the languages of each (provided that dogs and cats developed languages) would rely heavily on metaphor in creating words, olfactory metaphors for dogs and auditory metaphors for cats, just as many common words and descriptions we use have implicit visual underpinnings.

So in talking about fragrances, I find I rely on words from a visual orientation (often in spatial terms). Now, mi ne estas odoristo, of course, and professionals who deal with scents (perfumers, chefs, and others) may well have an established vocabulary that works well, but I must go with what I’ve got.

In enjoying the Waterlyptus fragrance this morning, I realized that if it were purely watermelon, it would indeed be a novelty fragrance. I have a dark-chocolate-fragranced soap from Phoenix Artisan (a limited edition Valentine’s Day soap of a few years back), and though I enjoy it, it is clearly a novelty soap since it has but one note to its song. Similarly, I saw a shaving soap a while back that boasted the fragrance of newly cut grass. That’s a nice fragrance, but if that’s all that’s going on, it will not wear well.

What isn’t a novelty fragrance is a fragrance with layers — with depth (two visual metaphors right there). The watermelon fragrance in this soap is balanced by eucalyptus, which makes the fragrance of more lasting interest. Similarly, Meißner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit shaving paste (or soap) uses eucalyptus as a counterpoint to the pink grapefruit, and the result is an intriguing soap of enduring appeal. In both cases, eucalyptus modulates and modifies the sweetness of its companion note in the fragrance.

Going from a single note to two is not much (and indeed most shaving soap and aftershave fragrances are complex, with a variety of notes, but still there are some very nice two-note fragrances — cf. Planet Java Hive from Phoenix Artisan: coffee + honey), but it seems to be enough — there’s a jump in complexity and interest, much as in billiards (true billiards — table has no pockets and three balls are used). Play on a billiard table with one ball, and there’s zero interest: you hit the ball and it rolls arund, bouncing off the rails. That will get dull quickly — I’m already bored just writig about it.

Add a second ball, and now you can use the cue to hit the first ball and make it hit the second. That’s (barely) better, but that too would become dull in less than one minute.

Add one more ball. Now you can use the cue to hit the first ball and make it hit both the other two balls. Now we’re talking! (The sudden jump is reminiscent of catastrophe theory.) Add one small restriction — that the cue ball must strike the cushions three times before it hits the second ball — and you’ve not yourself a great game. Watch this (with sound turned off).

A splash of Woods, an aftershave I like because of its intriguing fragrance (but, alas, Saint Charles Shave has closed its doors), finished the shave and lifted my spirits.

Written by Leisureguy

27 April 2020 at 9:02 am

Posted in Shaving

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