MOSS MOSS MOSS!!
My family lives in Florida, where there is an abundance of spanish moss dripping from nearly every tree. Have you ever picked up a clump and really smelled it, though? Try it! It's got that spongey mossy smell, but it's also a kind of faded green, and just a little bit sweet.
This perfume is, on me, a dead ringer for the real spanish moss. Very green and.... spongey. It has one of the most realistic spongey-mossy notes I've ever smelled (and I have smelled several hundred!!) -- and yet without any of the bitterness that often accompanies moss. It is a little bit sweet, but very very fresh and green and, well... kind of wet. Beautifully spongey and wet! And completely different from anything else I've ever smelt in all of my years as a perfumista.
I think, however, that sense of smell might have something to do with the wide differentiation in perceptions of this scent. My mother smelled it and said "roses! Pure roses!" Huh? I don't smell any roses at all, and certainly not any powder. Just slightly sweet, very greeny spongey moss. And maybe a little bit of lilac. So I brought it to one of my girlfriends and she said "No roses. But green! Sweet!" "Yes," I said "but what about the sponginess? The SPONGEY MOSSINESS OF IT ALL??" (Ok, I asked her a little more politely than that, but still - I had to know!).
"Nope," she said. "Just plain old generic green." So I'm beginning to wonder if the true specialness of Spanish Moss is reserved for my nose and my nose alone? Please say it isn't so!
Spanish Moss, I should mention, is one of my four favourite scents - along with Roja Dove Enslaved, Byredo Pulp, and Laura Tonatto Oltre - so far. Perhaps it is even my favourite of all time. Hove Flame also comes pretty close too, so I guess you can say I'm a fan of this line (although after hours in the shop in New Orleans, there were only 5 or 6 I would actually buy). I mean, Pirate's Gold smells like cannon smoke and metallic gold coins! How's that for exciting??
Spanish Moss is described by Hove Parfumeur as “Warm and exotic, mossy and green... a reformulation of an old favorite” – while it is warm, it is not what I would describe as green. It is sweet, powdery yet with an exotic twist as it includes some notes that are not commonly used in other rosy-powdery perfumes.
Floral, powdery, sweet and with an antique Victorian feel. If there is moss there, it is well concealed, amongst heaps of flowers, dusting powder and rouge on a cluttered vanity table of a Southern lady who protects her fair skin with endless layers of lace and mousseline. The intensity of flowers and powder is something I’ve smelled before in perfumes that came from the South (Such as from Lagniappe Oakes Perfumery – I’ve tried several of these but I have to admit none captured my heart; they were all from the “Heirloom Collection”).
The opening is intensely floral, sweet and powdery. I can sense the presence of heliotrope right away, with its bittersweet, almondy-rich melancholy. Other notes that are apparent from the start are lilac, rose, osmanthus and orange blossom. These are all very intense, dense once applied – buy when they settle on the skin they become far more tolerable – yet nonetheless maintain the same character of uber-sweet-powdery Southern vanity.
Once the florals quiet down a tad, I find myself suddenly sipping icy-cold, sweet lemonade. Or perhaps it is a lemon popsicle… It instantly reminds me of Aunt Eller in Oaklahoma! film, though I don’t know why. I can’t even remember if there was any lemonade in that movie, but for some reason it makes sense. Even though it’s not even close to New Oreleans at all.
Hours later, I am still searching for that “Spanish Moss” to come out from its hiding, but I can’t say there is anything particularly mossy about this perfume. It is very old fashioned, like a more tropical interpretation of “Lipstick Rose” and also more complex, less simplistic than rosy perfumes of that genre. Besides the heliotrope base, I can smell some bitter myrrh, but that’s as close as I can get to revealing the moss…
Top notes: Lilac, Lemon
Heart notes: Rose, Orange Blossom, Osmnathus, Orris
Base notes: Heliotrope, Myrrh, Vanilla