Originally published on cafleurebon.com 26 March, 2017
New Natural Perfume Review: Touchstone, Aether Arts Perfumes for the Talisman Project. (Amber Jobin, 2017)
Since time immemorial humankind has been reaching towards the skies seeking answers. The truth in the adage from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in 1849; “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (The more things change, the more they stay the same), are that ancient roots often bear contemporary fruit. As such, superstition still holds sway in so much of our modern lives. If you were raised in the Catholic church, do you automatically cross yourself when presented with a challenging situation either on the street or at home? Or like my mother raised in the Jewish faith, pretend-spit over two fingers to keep away the evil eye and bad luck. Even unconsciously avoiding walking under a ladder, or saying “Bless You” or “gesundheit” after hearing someone sneeze is based in the desire to keep evil spirits at bay.
In the eyes of perfumer Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfume the idea of a “touchstone” talisman makes leaps and bounds and lands solidly in the present. What is a touchstone? Well, perhaps you carry a small pebble or shell in your pocket, taken from a favorite beach trip, the sides and edges rubbed smooth from your fingers. It makes you feel strong or grounded, loved, or protected and is a significant object for you, imbued as it is with your memories and more importantly, your intentions. My touchstone is a small Chinese Qing Dynasty carved jade peach, about the size of a nickel. It calms and centers me, and brings to mind reflections of my personal history.
For Amber the modern-day touchstone manifests as our cellphones, the quintessential object of our connectivity and safety, and if you use a smartphone, then the swiping and tapping gestures are very similar to the touching and rubbing of a traditional touchstone in your pocket. Three thousand years ago, humankind lifted pottery or bronze amphorae filled with burning incense up to the gods to plead for favors or seek answers to life’s questions through the use of vapors or “par fumare” (through the smoke), and to this day we hold our cellphones to the sky looking for that same connectivity as in “Can you hear me NOW?” Or “Are you THERE?”
Aether Arts Touchstone perfume oil goes one step further, creating an ozonic spray that mimics the materials used in the manufacture of cellphones, the silver and grey metals, quartz and silica of our need and desire for connection. Touchstone Perfume oil, is a beautiful and oddly compelling study in flinty and steely metallics, allowing the wearer to don a fragranced mist as reflective armor whenever needed.
When wearing the scent I feel strengthened and protected, as if I could take on the world and emerge victorious. The freshness of ozone is present in a petrichor-like clean moistness, that moment of pure and holy silence right before the storm hits and all hell breaks loose. The stainless steel smell of earth preparing to be inundated, cold water on hot concrete. As such,Touchstone becomes a scent that you would happily wear in the workplace to instill confidence, moxie, and a “take-no-prisoners” attitude. A spray on barricade to deflect negativity and put you firmly in control.
Notes: As stated by Amber Jobin, the notes for this scent are as abstract as perfume itself: Aether accord, Metal & Mineral accord, and Flashes of Color accord. The scent is 90% synthetic notes 10% botanical notes.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Aether Arts Perfumes for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own
-Robert Herrmann, Contributor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief