When I was in college we would gather around the television to watch a cheesy series called In Search of…. It was hosted by Leonard Nimoy and would delve into all things paranormal and extraterrestrial. Think of it as the forefather of most of the content on the History Channel these days. When it comes to perfume I am In Search of….a uniquely authentic experience. After my review of Apoteker Tepe After the Fall I struck up a conversation with owner and perfumer of the brand Holladay Saltz. Through our exchange of e-mails I realized the way Ms. Saltz composes is also in search of authenticity. Of all of the debut four perfumes the one which exemplifies this best is The Peradam.
The name comes from the following quote from Mount Analogue by author Rene Daumal; “One finds here, very rarely in the low lying areas, more frequently as one goes farther up, a clear and extremely hard stone that is spherical and varies in size—a kind of crystal, but a curved crystal, something extraordinary and unknown on the rest of the planet. Among the French of Port-des-Singes, it is called peradam.
The clarity of this stone is so great and its index of refraction so close to that of air that, despite the crystal’s great density, the unaccustomed eye hardly perceives it. But to anyone who seeks it with sincere desire and true need, it reveals itself by its sudden sparkle, like that of dewdrops.”
The fragrance which carries the name carries an unusual amount of emotion. I would call it yearning as it seems to want to bring the wearer closer to its great density so that it can be perceived; while knowing most will never see it. Ms. Saltz uses three extremely precious ingredients to bring The Peradam in to view; an SCO2 extraction of jasmine grandiflorum, orris butter, and sustainable Mysore sandalwood. I was curious to hear why Ms. Saltz used these ingredients and here is her answer,
“Orris: fizzy, soft, powdery, smoothing and soothing (I think of it almost as a shushing sound), evocative of feminine associations due to historical use of powdered iris pallida rhizome as an ingredient in cosmetics
Jasmine: the meeting point between the charnel house and the boudoir, a night flower blooming in enveloping darkness, a lover, can be masculine or feminine depending on the context
Sandalwood: both creamy and thin, sharp and mild, evokes masculine associations due to its historical inclusion in shaving products, also sacred and Eastern associations due to its use in temples and incense”
She is correct when she states many perfume lovers will never have smelled these raw materials before as very few commercial perfumes contain them in any appreciable quantity. The Peradam forms its transparent density around the axis provided by these three special notes. The only other note in The Peradam is lily. That lily is what I first notice as it is fairly rapidly enveloped by the orris. As Ms. Saltz mentions this is the orris of the cosmetics of the past. To me it speaks of a day when women powdered their noses regularly. The lily enhances that vibe. The jasmine takes it in an entirely different direction. This extraction makes the indoles even more prominent than usual while also somehow softening them. Most of the time a fully indolic jasmine has all the swagger of a Lost Generation flapper. This indolic jasmine is a wily seductress full of whispers and lies. The sandalwood is the best use of the renewable form of the Mysore sandalwood I have tried to date. Ms. Saltz has made the modern version used here feel vintage when added into the previous notes. After about an hour all four notes have found their balance and it is then which The Peradam becomes visible in all of its glory.
The Peradam has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
Ms. Saltz is one of the new generation of independent perfumers for whom the journey is as important as the result. I am happy to say that when she went in search of The Peradam she found a precious bit of olfactory beauty.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.