Olfactive Studio released a new – their fifth – perfume this spring and while I’m sure it works well year-round, it feels ideally suited for the season.
Flash Back is paired with a photograph by Laurent Segretier. For the other four perfumes I could see or rather smell the connection between photo and perfume very clearly, here I was a bit at a loss as to how and why to two were connected. I blamed my woefully underdeveloped artistic side. Anyway, the lack of insight into the visual did not detract me from enjoying the scent.
Flash Back opens with a flash (pun intended) of tart green rhubarb surrounded by citrus notes and a leafy green aspect. It is refreshing, it wakes me up and it invariably makes me smile. There is something so carefree and uplifting about that note. It reminds me of childhood days in my Grandmother’s garden, crawling though the bushes, gathering rhubarb to be made into dessert later (having a Christopher Brosius moment here, only sans tomatoes ;) ).
The perfume becomes warmer over time, the freshly picked rhubarb is made into a compote, with a little apple and some sugar added, served in a wooden bowl.
Before you think Flash Back is too edible – it is not. I wouldn’t even call it a gourmand scent, but it is undoubtedly delicious.
The main idea – green, no GREEN – is evident throughout the perfume’s lifetime on my skin, which is very good. I get at least eight hours of weartime and while the perfume mellows over time after the sharpish green start, it keeps on emanating its fresh, green theme that is kept alive by a wonderful vetiver note (20% Haitian vetiver went into the formula) and the cool wooden clarity of cedar.
I was thinking about perfumes to compare Flash Back to, and I only come up with Guerlain’s Un Ville, Un Parfum London for it’s rhubarb note (this is a sweeter, warmer version though) and Hermès Rose Ikebana, that also plays with a tart rhubarb opening to highlight a fresh and airy rose.
I mentioned my Grandmother’s garden above, and this is actually not the only flash back Flash Back provided me over the week that I have tested it. Slowly but surely I began to realise how appropriate its name is. Thinking about it, the pixellated woman in the photo is actually a very good representation of something or someone you remember. It is never a clear picture, never a complete one that your mind provides, it is distorted, subjective, incomplete and blurry. But the essence of the memory, the emotion, is always very clear, sometimes harsh, sometimes tender, but always clear.
I am no longer confused about the connection between the two works of art.
Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath to bring back the things or the people we have feared were long gone.