Originally published on http://www.cafleurebon.com 20 June, 2017
New Perfume Review: Imaginary Authors, Saint Julep (Josh Meyer) 2017
“I must speak a little upon the mint-julep, as it is, with the thermometer at 100 degrees F., one of the most delightful and insinuating potations that ever was invented, and may be drunk with equal satisfaction when the thermometer is as low as 70 degrees.” -Captain Frederick Marryat’s diary (1838)
Releasing on the twentieth of June, is the very latest in the Imaginary Authors canon; Josh Meyer’s tribute to the hot and sultry summers in the south: Saint Julep.
Whether it’s the cross-country road trip vibe of Kerouac in The Cobra And The Canary, or the über-macho Pamplona-run-with-the-bulls Hemingway feel of Bull’s Blood, Josh Meyer’s thoughtful and much-discussed Imaginary Authors perfumes exist to tell a story. You really don’t need to know the stories to love Josh’s perfumes, but if you’re a compulsive reader like I am then the genesis (or should I say genre) of his perfumes will feel familiar to you. You may think you’ve read or heard the story, but like the goddess Athena emerging fully formed and battle ready from Zeus’s forehead, these tales and their “imaginary authors” spring to life from the extraordinary mind of perfumer Josh Meyer.
Mining the rich and vast Southern literary tradition which gave us Faulkner, Williams, Capote, and Harper Lee among others Josh gives us a Mint Julep of a perfume that could easily have been inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Walkers’ juke joint in “The Color Purple”, or a scorchingly hot and bright afternoon on a front porch in Carson McCuller’s “Member Of The Wedding” or “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”.
“Open the whisky, Tom,’ she ordered, ‘and I’ll make you a mint julep. Then you won’t seem so stupid to yourself…” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The “plot” of Saint Julep according to Josh Meyer is this:
“On the outskirts of Clarksdale, Mississippi, at the end of a secluded dirt road sat a small ramshackle church. It was not a place of worship but rather where many went to seek refuge during impoverished times. Legend has it the structure was transported to the wild mint field by hand, hoisted on the shoulders of two dozen men. The outside remained simple and nondescript but the interior was aglow with Christmas lights, pilfered neon signs and a jukebox donated by the sheriff’s son. It was a distinctly secular place where locals who knew where to find it could share moonshine, socialize, and dance their troubles away. They called their ramshackle juke joint Saint Julep, and the oral histories compiled within paint a picture of that magical place where “the smiles were always free and salvation had the distinct smell of sweet mint.” -Milton Nevers, Author
Mint Julep as a drink, originated sometime in the mid-1700’s. The origin of the word julep comes from the Persian word “gulab” or “julâb” which means “rosewater”. The term mint julep was also used to describe a drink to accompany medicine to kill the medicinal taste and help with upset stomachs and ease sore throats. The mint julep, a cocktail made with bourbon, powdered sugar, water and mint, is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby horse race, and nearly 120,000 juleps are mixed sold at Churchill Downs racetrack over the two-day race period.
Saint Julep is a seemingly simple but actually very complex “one trick pony”, and oh what an astonishing and amazing trick it is. Opening with an arctic blast of herbaceous and citrus cool, it’s easy to believe that you’re taking an initial sip of an icy mint julep on an almost unbearably hot, humid, and languid southern afternoon. The bourbon note suggests not only the alcoholic aspect of the drink, but also a wood-like vibe that could easily be either mint leaves and stems, or the smell of heat rising from a planked porch, and slightly acrid like sweat on the back of your neck being cooled by being rubbed with a cooling ice cube. The sugarcube note serves to add a sweetness that helps to cut the bitter herbs. The cool minty scent rising from the cup mixes with the fecund blowsiness coming from the decades-old Magnolia tree helping to shade the porch. And the metallic bite and zing is the scent of cold liquid against the side of the traditional silver or silver-plated julep cup. Saint Julep is a saint I would happily pray to, even as a non-drinker. It encompasses everything I look for in a warm weather scent; easy to wear, intriguing, and like the feeling of air-conditioning on a steaming hot day, cool and oh so refreshing.
Notes: Sweet mint, tangerine, southern magnolia, bourbon, grisalva (an aroma molecule which can be ambergris, animal, dry, fresh, metallic.), Sugarcube, crushed ice.
Disclosure: Thank you SO much to Imaginary Authors and Josh Meyer for supplying the perfume.. The opinions are my own.
-Robert Herrmann, Sr. Contributor
-Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief