Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kelly & Jones: A Brush with Sakura

Kelly Jones loves cars. She worked in the auto industry for years, and it was during a work related trip to Tokyo that her life began to change direction. The change wasn't life shattering though, rather it was a subtle and necessary one that propelled her closer to her passion and dream. As she looked through the window in Tokyo that day she found herself struck by cherry blossoms gently cascading into the canal below, and it was the beauty of this moment that made her question what she was doing with her life.

Cherry blossoms or Sakura bloom and fall to their death within one week. In Japan, Sakura is viewed as a metaphor for the transience of life, a reminder to reflect and plan for the future. As I settled-in with Kelly's story it occurred to me that she might have been channeling Mono no aware on that day. Simply, Mono no aware is a Japanese aesthetic hat has been cultivated for centuries and highlights the awareness and the appreciation of fleeting beauty and a reverence for mortality. Certainly Sakura is the epitome of this concept. When she got back home she decided to pour her energy into her love of fragrance. 

Soon after, she opened a custom blending bar in Tucson, Arizona. She is self-taught, and although she loved her new found passion her renegade spirit felt confined by the walls of her Tucson shop. She spent many long weekends visiting the California wine country to get away, and on one particular visit a winemaker asked who was wearing perfume in the room. Kelly was told that fragrance is forbidden and conflicts with the wine tasting experience. Well, that didn't sit well with Kelly, she enjoyed wearing perfume while sipping wine, and began to think that perhaps she could make a blend that would enhance the experience instead of taking away from it. After much tweaking and chipping away, she arrived at 5 perfumes that can both can stand alone and partner with wine. These five fragrances seem purposefully delicate and balanced, and know their place, in a way. Paired with wine they allow a back and forth dance that is interesting, fun and feels good. 1; Notes of Savignon Blanc; 2, Notes of Riesling; 3, Notes of Cabernet; 4, Notes of Merlot; 5, Notes of Chardonnay. 
Back in New York City, my evening of sniffing and sipping with Kelly began at the intimate Garrison in the West Village. Kelly makes one instantly comfortable and we began with 5, Notes of Chardonnay, and of course, a bottle of Chardonnay, 2009 Cocetti Napa Chardonnay. Notes of Chardonnay is an incredibly dry yet sultry fragrance, it lays low and steady on the skin. As it settles there is a woody sweetness that has restraint and gives this fragrance lots of comfort and warmth. As we sipped and smelled I began to notice that the base notes of vanilla played with the wine's lemon finish, and the oak notes in the fragrance somehow highlighted the honey tones in the wine. As the night continued, I was taken by the juxtaposition of Kelly's big spirit and her precise observations. She likes fast cars, water skied competitively, and actually made it to the Nationals, but she is intrigued by the the small interruptions that life presents too. "It's the little things that we need to begin to notice in life and I hope my fragrances allow folks to seize the moment and at the same time enhance the wine they drink."
Over the last couple of weeks, while I was on vacation in California, and after the kids were tucked away, I sat down to relax with Kelly & Jones fragrances, some wine, and my sister-in-law, Nahid. Together we smelled, laughed and talked, exactly as Kelly would have wanted. 3, Notes of Cabernet caught both of our attention and is my favorite of the collection. This is a juicy leathery fragrance which in turn equals sexy. Its peppery top sinks harmoniously into rich base notes of black cherry, tobacco flower and leather base. Notes of Cabernet has got me thinking about a night out. 1, Notes of Sauvignon Blanc, is bright, crisp and green, and has a fascinating floral component to it. Notes of  grapefruit, galbanum, and green apple push and pull this fragrance until it finally settles and becomes tender. It's a great for the day or imagine an early evening of sipping in Napa, of course.

Kelly cleverly refers to herself as a "Scent Sommelier." She described the logo on her flacons as splashes of spilled wine on a table, but I'm reminded of colorful Rorschach inkblots which in-turn remind me of her spark and entrepreneurial spirit. It has me wondering what will be next for Kelly & Jones.

Thanks again Kelly for a lovely evening with you and your fragrances.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Xerjoff: Dama Bianca

Thoughts of espionage and Italy ran through my mind while enjoying Xerjoff, Dama Bianca. Thought I'd kick back and have some fun..... hope you enjoy on CaFleureBon, here's the link.


Photo Credit: Bianca Jagger interpreted by Cecil Beaton