BLUEHILL Fragrances Ivy League photo by Hernando© at an event attended with Michelyn 10/2/21 at the Atelier d Emotion on Sullivan Street
What precisely is the “Ivy League”? And why is it considered such a big deal in the U.S. (and I assume in many countries around the world – considering that parents aspire to send their children to these schools and the number of foreign students is significant)? The Ivy League (also known as the Ancient Eight) is a term referring originally to eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States and their athletic conference. The name has been used since 1933, but soon came to be associated with a group of prestigious colleges with connotations of a high degree of academic standards, selective admissions, and social snobbery. Its members are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale. There are many ways to acquire acceptance into these bastions: upon merit; as the child of benefactors and/or alumnae; via the diplomatic route (your family is powerful, influential); via academic junket, et al. Do I sound jaded, cynical? I speak from a singular place of experience which spans decades: not only mine personally, but that of my nuclear family by dint of hard work and concerted effort.
Sandy Carr courtesy of the perfumer
One of the beauties of these schools (besides marvelously-endowed libraries, museums and art bequests) is their exquisitely groomed grounds. Each campus has its own particular flavor which sets it apart, the architecture is stunning – and older buildings are often flanked by climbing walls of ivy which impart a venerable old-world charm. This sense of continuity with scholars past can feel very heartening, historically comforting. To be a part of something larger than oneself is both humbling and empowering to the fortunate acceptees. I feel that artisanal perfumer Sandy Carr wished to encapsulate this sense of adventure which enwreathes those eager students who have been chosen to enter these lecture halls and auditoriums as they follow in the footsteps of their forebears. BLUEHILL Ivy League succeeds brilliantly; it’s a purist, naturalist’s fragrance – invigorating, tonic and a breath of fresh air in a year positively crammed full of gourmand comfort perfumes.
Harvard University courtesy of Wiki
Ms. Carr’s evocation of the rarified campus is quite literal: grassy, well-kept lawns broaden endlessly, deftly seasoned with notes of rosemary, mint, basil, and a tangy green mandarin (along with a green pea accord) – which serve to instill a sense of well-being and create subtler undercurrents that pique one’s curiosity. I’m very fond of her employment of narcissus here, with its elements of balsamic mossiness flecked with hay, tonka and a honeyed indolic floral facet. Cassis is skillfully dosed as well, smelling particularly verdant with only a soupçon of fruit peeking out from under its aromatic petticoat – and a brief whiff of the animalic. Floral black pepper (Yes! Black pepper smells floral) has a secondary drying effect which often aids in toning down sweetness in a fragrance. These beautiful components are nestled into a base containing gurjum balsam: sweet, dry and resinous bearing traces of pine and patchouli for a soothingly familiar feel. To wear BLUEHILL Fragrances Ivy League is to forgo the pre-admission angst and focus on the loveliness of new beginnings and the hope which such opportunities offer.
Notes: ivy, green mandarin, black pepper, grass notes, basil, rosemary, mint, narcissus, green pea accord, cassis, gurjum balsam.
Ida Meister, Deputy Editor and Natural Perfumery Editor
Thanks to the generosity of Sandy Carr of BLUEHILL Fragrances, we are offering one 30 ml flacon of Ivy League for one registered reader in the USA ONLY. You can register here. Please leave a comment regarding what appealed to you about Ida’s review of BLUEHILL Fragrances IVY League. Draw closes 10/8/2021
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