You wouldn’t know it to sniff but today’s perfume was created as an act of defiance at first. At least, that’s where it got its name.
Aussie perfumer Jocelyn Fullerton from Cult of Scent had been to one of those parties. Like the school reunion BBQ, or, shudder, the partners “welcome” corporate dinner, where Ben from finance doesn’t quite get you. And makes it known that he’s come all the way from the captain of the school chess club to a C-Class Mercedes while you? What have you done, exactly?
Fullerton’s answer was to sit down at her desk to make something to prove exactly what she was capable of.
To make Something Beautiful.
So I guess we owe that guy a vote of thanks because as legendary perfume critic Luca Turin agrees, Something Beautiful is something else.
A heavenly, honeyed elixir of orange blossom and neroli, Something Beautiful takes one of history’s most famous perfume ingredients – the waxy, intoxicating flowers of the bitter orange tree – and constructs it expertly into an accord to make angels weep and guys like Ben pass out, probably.
Fullerton did have another, more pure motive for the creation of Something Beautiful that gives an insight into wearing this ray of sunshine in a bottle: a soul singer girlfriend and her opening night. Fullerton wanted to create a gift made not to compete with stage lights, a brass band and a killer voice, but instead, made to be a little secret against the skin, something to embolden and reassure simultaneously. Something worthy of the beautiful soul wearing it and as a reminder of friendship, solidarity and creativity – a bunch of things also probably lost on poor Ben from finance who I’m beginning to feel a bit sorry for at this stage actually.
Let’s go back to Fullerton, who like many perfumers, constructs her perfumes in pictures, little stories that describe (or inspire) the experience of wearing the scent. For Something Beautiful it’s a pre-dawn kiss under an orange tree, and that cool early morning imagining comes through so clearly as soon as you apply the Eau de Parfum.
Something Beautiful is cool and crisp in its beginning, with blossoms steam-distilled (AKA the slightly metallic, green-hued neroli) sparkling in bright clarity. Then comes that beautiful warm kiss, not from a lover’s lips though, this is a scent free from any hint of smuttiness. It’s more pure than that, but nonetheless like a fairytale the kiss opens up a rich heart of orange blossom, extracted through the more intensive enfleurage process, and made languid and sunny with the skillful addition of a honeyed edge.
The progression and perfect intensity of these classic perfume notes is balanced so deftly in Something Beautiful. You get the sense that with the slightest tip left or right, you’d end up with a scent that dissipated away into nothing, or flopped over into sweet and sticky territory. Something Beautiful instead holds its soft floralcy steady against the skin, projecting hardly at all on me but remaining just noticeable, a beautiful secret and perfectly named.
Something Beautiful by Cult of Scent is available here.