Mr. Chokkattu, being the wonderful, amazing, and very attractive young man he is, gave me a bottle of Penhaligon’s Equinox Bloom for our one year anniversary even though he should have saved his money now that he has to pay rent, gas, and internet and left the frivolous spending to the girl who can save a little under half her tiny paycheck and still have enough to eat hipster-priced foods and ask for tea instead of water.
I had high hopes for this one. I adored the packaging from the little bow on the bottle to the colorful oil flowers on white space. It’s all so cute, especially when I’m eagerly waiting for the weather to get its shit together.
I wore it to work and surreptitiously wrote down a few notes before returning faithfully to the task at hand:
- sweet, kind of like the yogurt drink Yakult
- high bergamot note cuts through milky sweetness
- frangipani, neroli, gardenia, dash of violet
- tea with lots of sugar, not so much milk
- very tasty, quite sweet
- grown up ‘warm vanilla sugar”
- if you put it on your neck, when the breeze comes by you can smell it
It starts off immediately like a sweet yogurt drink, slightly fruity, like an orange-flavored smoothie, and gently the flowers open up. Green and indolic gardenia, bright neroli, creamy frangipani, powdery violet, all on a citrus-resinous base. I was told there was jasmine in here, and I don’t disbelieve it, but the other flowers are more recognizable. Right up against my wrist it’s sharp, inciting, like a grapefruit peel. From farther away, it’s sweet and creamy, more like tea with sugar. And the sugar is quite apparent. It’s not sickly sweet because of the piquant flowers, but it is a little like simple syrup poured onto the aforementioned flowers. Or when your friend dumps out half their coffee cup and then puts in 5 packets of sugar and top it off with heavy cream. Without the coffee. And on Mary Berry’s perfectly manicured lawn (The Great British Bake-Off’s 5th series/season is on Netflix. Thanks Netflix!)
Like Ostara before it, it’s quite innocent, the sweetness and milkiness completely making up for any indolic tones in it. I will say it’s flirty; Ostara is austere beauty, Equinox Bloom is a bit of a tease. Like I wrote above, if as a young woman you loved Bath & Body Work’s Warm Vanilla Sugar, this would be the grown up version. Less warm, less in your face creamy and sweet, but preserves a sense of naivety, cheerfulness and–sweetness.