The perfume of flowering Black Locust

Last evening, I was walking home along a quiet street, when my nose told me that the tall, graceful trees towering above were black locust acacia trees- in full bloom!  These same trees grow in a small grove in one of the city parks in Nelson, and every year when I lived in that neighbourhood, walking beneath these trees in early summer, I would be surprised to find myself suddenly immersed in the most beautiful pink bubblegum, tropical ylang ylang floral perfume.  Last night was the same.  The scent that these shy white clusters of blooms high above my head release into the early evening is intense.   Although familiar,  I found these coastal blooms to be more in the direction of the cologne 4711 that my mother used to wear- rich with sweet neroli.  So as I walked along this street, realizing then that the sidewalk was also strewn with the blossoms, breathing in the scent of my mother touched with pink bubblegum, I was reminded, as I have been so many times before- that the most amazing perfumes in existence, are like this- emanated so perfectly, intoxicatingly, from Nature.  And usually when we least expect it…

A sojourn in Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia.  The name is known and the place loved by many-a bustling modern coastal city sandwiched between mountains and sea on the west coast of Canada.   Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in the world, both in colour and in carbon footprint.  The mayor, Gregor Robertson has apparently made it a goal to help Vancouver achieve the status of the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Vancouver has one of the mildest climates in Canada with temperatures averaging around 3C in January and 18C in July. It covers 114.7 sq km, and is part of Metro Vancouver, the third largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a population of 2.1 million (2006 census). The percentage of Vancouver residents whose first language is English is 49.1% and Chinese is 25.3%.  Needless to say, Chinatown is a large and fantastic part of the centre of the city.

The area was first settled by the Salish First Nations in around 500 BC, and there are areas of land in the city which are still reserved as traditional lands.  The culture of the Salish is deeply integrated in the modern identity of the city, and traditional art and design of the people is visible everywhere.  The Salish also regularly appear in city events, with traditional dancers and performance.

"Salish Vision" Artist: Susan Point

Immigrants first settled here in around the 1870’s, creating a logging community called Granville. The city was officially incorporated in 1876 and named after Captain George Vancouver who explored the area in 1792.

I have chosen to spend some time here to bring my perfumes to a greater audience within my own part of the world before returning to Grasse.  So, for the next 7 weeks, I will be exploring the many amazing boutiques the city has to offer and choosing a few in which to make Reglisse Noire and Fleur No 1 available.   I will also be working on a commissioned fragrance for an established tea shop in Chinatown.  And besides all this… I plan to take time to absorb all the beauty this place has to offer… the sea, the parks, the flowers, the art, the food, and of course- the people.

Pink Rhododendron in full bloom