As I write this, it is one of those gently rainy, warm mornings. Everything seems calm, quiet and slowed down somehow. It’s a perfect day for wearing Silences.
When wearing it for the first time I was surprised by just how many times I raised my wrist to my nose. I found something compelling about it…
Silences dates back to when green perfumes had their heyday in the 1970s and it was created by perfumers Gerard Goupy and Jean-Claude Niel.
According to Bois de Jasmin, it was reformulated and reissued under the name Sublime last year, but I’m reviewing the preceding EDT which is still available for a very reasonable price on auction sites.
Top notes are orange blossom, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, green notes and cassia; middle notes are iris, jasmine, narcissus, hyacinth, rose and lily-of-the-valley; base notes are vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar and ambrette.
Silences is a mostly linear, floral green perfume. It starts with aldehydes and settles down with the finest dusting of baby powder, which acts like a soft focus diffusing galbanum’s harsh lines. The presence of aldehydes and powder could make it seem matronly and if it were a floral perfume that might be the case, but this is mean green.
It’s that very particular shade of green you find in some perfumes from the 70s. It’s not fresh like crushed stems but more like undergrowth very close to the soil. It also has that mild acidity you find in nature.
This retro hue may not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoy the depth and richness of it.
Also providing a counter-balance to the vegetation are the spring flowers (hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley and narcissus) which are silken and sheer, so the effect is hazy. Their pretty luminosity is set in relief against the stark green background.
Silences does indeed get very quiet after a couple of hours, so I suggest spraying liberally and reapplying often. Because it’s so low-cost you can afford to be lavish with application if you wish. It feels more like a gauzy, glistening veil than a perfume. A light covering that is always present but never intrusive.
Although it could quite fairly be regarded as austere, I find the cool solemnity of Silences more consoling than steely. It clears my head and helps me feel centred.
It brings to mind the hushed feeling I can sometimes attain on the rare occasions I take the time to meditate properly. It’s a place so serene that your thoughts may actually stop their incessant chatter for a short time. It’s a silence like no other; an inner silence.
One of the saddest things about the human condition is the mind’s tendency to sabotage our contentment by keeping us trapped in the past with regret, or worrying about events in the future.
However, there is a reassuring stillness sitting behind all of that distraction. It is an alert, watchful silence that lets us know all will be well, if we can only stay in the present moment long enough to experience it.
For most of us, spending a few seconds a day focusing intently on a fragrance like Silences, is the closest we can get.