First, have a little back story for today’s chosen scent. I attended the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with a couple of friends yesterday, and I was completely blown away because they were even more fantastic than I thought. Let me just allow the choral geek in me to gush a little first: the choir comprises of only 26 people, but they managed to sound ten times that size, everyone had impeccable support and their sound was perfectly rounded and warm, even the high notes sounded effortless and easy, and the bass line had this strong resonance in their tones. I also loved their repertoire, especially their focus on Estonian composers. Arvo Pärt, I’ve heard a few of his pieces, and also Veljo Tormis, whose Raua needmine was absolutely intriguing.
Anyway, today’s chosen scent was inspired by Arvo Pärt’s Magnificat. Written in 1989, Magnificat showcases Pärt’s famous tintinnabuli style, which is the blending of two monophonic structural lines (melodic and triadic voice) into an organic cohesive whole, creating a harmony between this one entire tone-rich triad, that brings to mind of a bell ringing. The lyrics of Pärt’s Magnificat is taken from the latin text of the same name, also known as the Canticle of Mary, as it speaks of how ‘[her] soul doth magnify the Lord / and [her] spirit hath rejoiced in God’. Pärt, using the ‘call and response’ technique, has a soprano line written as the call, and the rest of the choir acts as the response, creating a heavily textured sound.
Personally, I found Magnificat to be strangely sparse and almost cold, like a bleak wind howling against grey cliffs. In this desolate landscape, a lone person walks through the moors, eyes fixed against the unchanging horizon, even as the wind teases at their hair. The mood is somber, and there’s this sense of isolation and endlessness, that this notion of loneliness is an eternal one. Which of course, doesn’t mesh with the original content of the piece, being a sublime hymn to the glory of a deity.
But in the little scene conjured up by my imagination, this particular scent seemed particularly fitting.
Description: A chilly white blend of an ethereal snow blanket and cold winter winds, Snowshoe Pass combines pale white amber, delicate and smooth white musk, a sweet touch of vanilla and a faint whisper of creamy cold peppermint. The result is a unique take on a winter scent inspired by heavy snows and desolate rural regions. On cold sniff and initial application a creamy peppermint note is detectable as a top note, though it is a careful addition that takes a backseat to the other notes as it wears on the skin, ultimately receding entirely. There is just enough peppermint to enhance the coolness of this plushly white blend. The other notes swirl together to evoke not only a snow covered landscape that may only be traversed with snowshoes and a pioneer spirit, but the calm and intense silence after a snow deep in the wild.
First off, I have totally no experience with a real winter, where it’s blisteringly cold and you’re on the verge of freezing. I’ve never frolicked in the snow, thrown a snowball or even caught a snowflake on my tongue. (I feel so saaaad now), but Snowshoe Pass does bring to mind of a blanket of whiteness. The scent description given is spot-on, as the first thing that I smell upon application is a creamy peppermint, but it fades soon enough, which is good, because that first sniff is weeeeird, or maybe my mind doesn’t understand why the peppermint note is creamy instead of being sharp and fresh, because my mind thinks peppermint as either toothpaste or throat lozenges. It morphs into this soft white musk and amber blend, that really makes me think of a cold wind moving through the landscape, rustling through empty branches. The vanilla accord adds a touch of sweetness, which makes the scent less harsh and more subtle.
While the longevity of Snowshoe Pass is quite long as compared to other perfumes, I find that this particular scent likes to stay close to my skin, which is actually quite good because this is definitely one of the more unique and complex scents, and it’s not the type that should be amped up and in everyone’s face.