Green is my favourite colour, and I was drawn to the Carven display with the bright green and white stripes. Too young to know better, I picked up the bottle on the counter and gave myself a good misting. I can't remember for certain, but I wouldn't be shocked to learn I still had the bottle in hand when I realised the full consequence of what I had done-it was that immediate. It was the longest ride home in my sister's (green) '74 Dodge Dart, and as I recall a good scrubbing down with hot water and Dial soap was no match for the stubborn aldehydes of Ma Griffe. Talon? Good god, it was like being impaled.
I'd like to say that was the last time I was seduced by green packaging on a fragrance but I'd be lying (though I have managed to avoid the bath soap, Irish Spring fearful I'd end up attracting a whistling fella in a hand-knit sweater*). Still, forty years on from my introduction to Ma Griffe, I'd managed to keep my distance, save for catching the occasional whiff of it on someone riding the bus. Over the years it fell out of popularity, and I forgot about it. Enter, the Internet.
Of course I should have resisted. Curious if my nose had matured, or perhaps the fragrance had matured, or I'd finally learned not to spray a toxic green cloud around myself-I ordered it. A small sample, in all the vintage green glory that is Ma Griffe.
"Was that you?"
"You know what."
"Oh that, no."
"Must be the Ma Griffe."
Why, do I never trust my younger self's nose? I don't like to cook with asofoteida, why on earth would I want to wear it? Blech. Still, to be fair I wanted to live with it a while instead of rushing to the shower-besides, I no longer use Dial soap, and lavender scented Yardley would only compound the issue. So I waited, thankful for the small dab.
An hour later, Ma Griffe is still pretty green, but something's happening! Something good.
Ah, I hit the oakmoss, orris root, and lily of the valley. Better, Still really fucking green though. Whoa, I think we've got vetiver! And lemon. Wait...musk? I remember that Ma Griffe was developed by a perfumer late in his career when he was already anosmic, and it starts making sense.
Just when I think it will never end, the base comes through with some sandalwood to keep me from losing my mind, which is saying quite a bit as I'm not much a fan of sandalwood.
What's that birdie? My handkerchief? Oh god! I left it in my purse! I'm Soooo sorry birdie. So very sorry.
70's Carefree Fashions of Scottsdale Arizona skirt-Thrift World
Enid Collins bag-Antique Mall
Milk Glass earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
White plastic necklaces-Can't remember
Fragrance-Ma Griffe by, Carven
After five hours, Ma Griffe was still going strong, and though less intense, it is still far too sharp for my delicate little nose. I know it is a modern classic, and I really am trying to appreciate it, but jeez. I love a good oakmoss/vetiver/orris root combination, but this isn't it. My younger self was wise beyond her years. I probably will give it a few more tries (in very small doses) to try and understand Ma Griffe, if I cannot love it. Beware the seduction of cheerfully packaged perfume in pretty bottles-you may end up with something worse than a whistling fella in a hand knit sweater.
Asafoetida. I mean, for fuck's sake-in a perfume?
What about you? Have you encountered Ma Griffe and lived to tell? Do you enjoy it? I promise, I won't judge (though I might not ride in a car with you).