Sunday, January 1, 2012

Blame It All On My Roots (L'Artisan's "Piment Brulant")

* Currently Listening:"Lafayette Two Step" by Aldus Roger
* Current Fragrance: "Liaisons Dangereuses" by By Kilian

Happy New Year! I hope everyone's New Years Eve was filled with lovely champagne and great company;  your New Year Day with hair of the dog (if needed), blackeyed peas & cabbage; and your New Year ripe with possibilities.

Before Christmas I got to thinking about what I wanted my first NDC#5 of 2012 to be about. I knew I'd be home in SETX with my parents and sister, and wanted to pay homage to my roots. When I think of my SETX "home", I think mostly of the food...the Cajun heritage. MUST HAVE PERFUME WITH RED PEPPER! Thanks to Lucky Scent, I decided on L'Artisan's "Piment Brulant", and ordered a sample!

Upon opening the sample vial, I couldn't help but think, "It smells like I'm sitting inside Larry's French Market and sipping a cup of Abuelita!" Well...that pretty much sums up my childhood food life in one little vial of perfume, and this blog entry was born!

Last night as I watched my Dad watch Kathy Griffin heckle Anderson Cooper, and almost spilled champagne all over myself at the quizzical look that spread across his face when he saw Lady GaGa's black lightbulb-cage-headpiece; I started to think about what I really wanted to talk about today and what to CALL the entry, and I couldn't get the beginning of this out of my head...oh Jr. High Memories....

Ok...Garth Brooks and Anime may just be the oddest combo ever!!

I have a love/hate relationship with where I grew up. I was exceedingly aware of the fact that SETX & specificity Bridge City would not be a good life-long fit for me. (Not to disparage anyone for whom it is a good fit, but not only would I be miserable, I would make everyone around me completely miserable as well.) I had this suspicion at a very young age that I was, to quote Carrie Bradshaw, "See...I’m what you call a bona fide city girl. I’m a girl about town. I’m the kind of girl that goes to a late movie in the middle of the week. I’m crazy."

I love my life in Boston. It's the right fit for myself & for the husband, and I like to think the cats are happier. I mean, they told me they were! I like the noise, I love to hate the MBTA, the lights sparkling in the city are just about the most beautiful thing to me ever, I like the feeling of isolation in a big crowd of people, and I LOVE the diversity; but the one thing I miss desperately about where I grew up is the FOOD! More specificly Cajun & TexMex. I'm quite proud of my cajun heritage that runs deep on both sides of my family. When someone asks me where I'm "from", my response is always, "where Texas, Louisianna & the gulf of Mexico meet." I, without reservation, would identify myself as Cajun before Texan. :o)

It's hard in my tiny city kitchen to do of the cajun ilk in it. I've managed a good jambalaya from scratch, and would LOVE to make gumbo, but we have neither the room in the refridgerator, nor the pot big enough to cook it in, and if we did...our burners just aren't big enough to house said big-ass pot! Oddly enough, this makes it very special when I'm in SETX and have the chance to eat Cajun food. My weeknesses: spicy boiled peel and eat shrimp, chicken & andouille gumbo, and boudain. (D.J.'s being my personal favorite.)

I could go on and on about my deep love for TexMex food, but it's not COMPLETELY topical for this entry. I am passionate about the search for the perfect taco, because it only exists now in my memory from El Charro in Port Arthur that has now since closed. However, Abuelita is important and topical. Growing up my Great Aunt Inez lived in San Antonio is a predominently hispanic neightborhood. My favorite thing about going to visit San Antinio and staying with my Aunt was not the River Walk, or going out to eat, it was going to her neighborhood H.E.B. (grocery store). It was a like going to another land! They would ALWAYS have samples...and that's how Abuelita, a mass produced Mexican drinking chocolate.

Abuelita also paved the way for my beloved Taza - ironically made in Sommerville, MA. (Basically on Boston's back porch!) I have to say of all the delights I found at that H.E.B., Abuelita is my most beloved...closed followed by the AWESOME Poncho Villa candles.

Now, back to perfume....yes, Piment Brulant. The L'Artisan website gives it this back story:

"Piment Brûlant was inspired by the Aztec drink of xocotatl, the bitter cocoa and chilli drink beloved of the warrior king Montezuma. He was reputed to drink fifty cups a day. This is an aphrodisiac blend of cocoa, vanilla, clove and poppy all tempered with the fire and bite of chilli. Surprisingly green and fresh on the skin, this wonderful study in contrasts brings the skin alive."

With notes of "[r]ed pepper, soft and creamy chocolate, vanilla, cloves and poppy, hints of musk and amber" (thanks Lucky Scent), and exceedingly varied reviews - I was quite interesting to see how it was going to work for me. My initial thought, as I mentioned before, when just smelling the open sample vial was that of the mix of spicy Cajun food and Mexican drinking chocolate. However the initial dry-down popped out a tomato note. I can best describe the dry down as "gazpacho, deep fried, with ground Abuelita on top." It settled on my skin to highlight mostly vanilla, poppy & amber. What an unexpected roller-coaster ride. My final thoughts on Piment Brulant leave me wishing and wanting: 1) Where and when, other than when I visit home and am going out for Cajun food, would I wear this? 2) I really wish the red pepper would have stayed with me longer and stronger. I wanted a fragrance that would bring the heat but in a sophisticated manner. 3) To all my perfumistas out there reading; do you have any suggestions for fragrances that will bring the heat and not smell like I've been rolling around in a vegetable garden? (That's my fear.)

I've had my pandora on the "Cajun" channel this entire time, and feel as though I should share:

Now It's time for the results of the drawing of the very first No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 Sample Giveaway Drawing. Thanks to all who entered....and drumroll please....

Hat Containing Names

Mom Drawing the Winner

annnnnnd the winner is......

Congrats Jena! I'll put your samples in the mail once I'm back in Boston!

Again dear readers, wishing you the happiest and healthiest of years in 2012! As well as a sublimly scented one!

I know leave you with the theme song from HBO's "Treme". Although the culture is a bit different from my country Cajun roots, it never ceases to bring a smile to my face! (Yes I know it's odd to love a show basically about the aftermath of a devastating hurricane like I do, but when my parents lost all but the framework to their house in Hurricane Ike, I guess there's a certain type of kinship...)

*Currently Listening: "Paradis Des Musiciens" by Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys
*Drinking Tonight: Abuelita. There's GOT to be some in my parents house!

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