Out of all of the perfume houses I have encountered in my lifetime there is one in particular who’s perfumer weaves his singular DNA throughout some of my most dearly cherished and emotionally significant memories, upon occasion without me even realizing at all. First it was a sleek, asymmetrically angled flacon I so dearly admired, glimmering in faceted crystal on my maternal grandmother’s dressing table; Perceive from Avon. Freesia, pear, pepperand Sheldrake. This was the first time I had unknowingly sniffed the work of a man who would later shape my very ideals for what perfume was to be. Years passed, I began my own personal journey into fragrance and the name Sheldrake appeared once more when I purchased my very first bottle of niche fragrance: the infamous and positively intoxicating Tubereuse Criminelle from the house of Serge Lutens; a house of whom Christopher Sheldrake is the sole nose.
Sheldrake strikes again.
This period of fragrant discovery also happened share its time in my life with that of another, the discovery of my true gender identity. For quite some time I kept this part of myself captured inside of an iron cage, deep within the catacombs of my aching heart. Trésor was hidden well away from the world, but she was not one to go down without a fight. There was always somehow or some way that she made her presence known. My favourite of which was during the times I knew I had to present myself as the societal archetype of a “normal” male. Beneath the suit I wore to church, beneath the khakis and baggy denim jeans I wore to school, I wore a pair of French silk stockings in the colour noir de minuit. Every day, every time, no matter what, a piece of Trésor was with me until she was ready to show herself in full to the entire world. A quiet rebellion in a society where a person like me simply had no place, a delicate protest to all that I thought was wrong with the world when I had power to do little else. That is what those silk stockings meant to me and years later, perhaps through something as serendipitous as a coincidence in nomenclature Sheldrake’s Bas de Soie from Serge Lutens has inspired the same. A bittersweet memento of myself as a fledgling, slowly gaining strength in those tiny wings that would one day allow me to fly far, far away.
On my skin Bas de Soie opens with a silver threaded zephyr of chilly, powdered iris that so beautifully mirrors the sensual tactile sensation of cool silk fibres moving their way upwards against your skin as you gently pull the stocking onto your leg. A diaphanous glow of radiant emerald galbanum illuminates from within the zephyrs of iris and reflects thousands of tiny green starlight fractals from the threads of gleaming silver. Back, forth and back again the exquisite iris dances a magnificent pas de deux with the sapphiric velvet petals of dewy and lush hyacinth. Each metamorphosing into one single pulchritudinous entity and then separating once more in a dance of splendid perpetuity. The tender and smouldering aroma of warm spices alongside a mellifluous aurora of sweet and harmonious skin musks call to mind the feeling of the lavish silk warming to the skin, becoming one. The icy breath of the opening now only but a delicate whisper. A reflection of the stocking’s lustre, cheekily peeking with a gentle glimmer from beneath a woolen pant leg.