One of my favorite things in the world is being at home on a rainy afternoon, the stormier the better, wrapped in a blanket with assorted cats, reading a book (okay, on the iPad, but still), until I fall asleep, surrounded by said cats. It's a delicious, cozy feeling, that makes me full of gratitude for all the things around me, those you can and cannot see. It was one such afternoon when I first tested Rainmaker, a new creation by perfumer Shelley Waddington of En Voyage. I woke up leisurely, savoring the sweetness of my cats Sophie and Lizzy who were spooning with me, and the warmth of the wonderful perfume I was wearing that felt like it had been spun around me like a soft cocoon.
Sometimes I need to separate myself and the perfume I'm wearing from its background story, as beautiful as it may be. Shelley Waddington composed Rainmaker around elements from the Pacific Northwest, its rain-soaked mossy forests, and the ancient traditions of the Native American cultures that lived there for countless eras, relying on nature and respecting it. I have yet to visit that area, and my lack of outdoorsy sense is the stuff of legends. This is why my perception of En Voyage's Rainmaker is based on my own sensibilities: the smell of a storm in the air of my Eastern suburb, the soaked mossy ground in my backyard (my idea and ideal of nature, green and lush in the summer rain, with wildlife visitors that include a family of rotund raccoons, a young cheerful groundhog, Frederic the skunk, an opossum of unusual size, and a boisterous crowd of squirrels and birds of every size that I feed daily).
More than anything, Rainmaker is an ambery mossy perfume. Ms. Waddington defines it as a "bright woody-amber chypre", and for once I'm not about to argue about a very modern perfume's relation to classic chypres. Rainmaker is exquisitely well-blended, so it's free of the rawness you often find in perfumes from micro-niche all-natural brands (including En Voyage itself). This one has earned its chypre wings through the balance between the bright lightning-lit skies, the wet flora, and the thick, rich mossy base that feels more plush and warm than wet earth and dirt paths, because of the not-so-obvious amber accord that holds it all together, and gives the fragrance an all day/all night longevity and seems to have attach itself permanently to my nightshirts and lounge-wear. And also to the kittens.
En Voyage- Rainmaker ($70 for the 0.5 oz eau de parfum) is available directly from envoyageperfumes.com. The perfumer has sent me a free sample for consideration (can also be purchased, along with larger size bottles), but I have since bought a bottle which I've been draining at an alarming rate.
Illustration: It rained All Day by Mel Kadel, 2012.