I’m not exactly sure how I heard about Olivier Durbano Turquoise. It was very early on in the exploration of perfume that has brought me to this place (I have had several exploratory periods), and I must have read a review or a comment on a blog about it, because I somehow wound up with a sample. Maybe I was drawn to it because turquoise is one of my favorite stones. That little sample of perfume proved to contain one of the more wondrous perfume journeys I have taken.
"The Clouds Turn the Sea From Blue to Gray" by Tama Blough
The first time I tried Turquoise, I was immediately repelled. The mineralic, watery marine aspects of the fragrance that my novice nose picked up were just so not “me”. I left it on, as it wasn’t quite a scrubber, and sniffed at it now and again, but I had already made up my mind that I did not like it, so put the sample in the giveaway pile and forgot about it. I should say, thought I forgot about it.
Sometimes our souls understand that which our minds may reject. Deep in the back of my brain, that tiny glimpse I had of Turquoise simmered, working its way to my consciousness. Slowly but surely, I became haunted. It was a quiet haunting, but persistent. At some point, I ran across a picture of Olivier, his soulful gaze looking into the distance, and something flitted into my mind like a tiny butterfly of spirit and joined my haunting on the back burner of my consciousness. This went on for a couple of years, just this tiny simmer, but I never procured another sample so I could try it. It’s like I wanted the haunting, and the memory of how it smelled. I did take a small sniff of it when I visited Scent Bar in Los Angeles, but I was smelling many things, and although my haunting perked up, I quashed it with sniffing other things, including other of Olivier’s perfumes, but mostly just gorging on everything until I was numb.
Art by Olivier Durbano
When I visited Esxence in Milan, I was able to meet Olivier. I told him about my haunting; not to the extent I am telling it now, but he had something to say about it. I am paraphrasing from memory, but he said that perfume can be uncomfortable at first, even unpleasant. That sometimes it can take some time before it works its way in and becomes part of you, which I think is quite true. Some of my favorite perfumes are the ones that I had to try a few times. Nothing like this, though. What I found odd in retrospect, that I didn’t even notice, was that Turquoise never made it past a scent strip during all those three days, and I only took the slightest whiff. What was wrong with me? Had I been haunted for so long that I was paralyzed by potential disappointment? When I got back from Italy, Olivier sent me samples of everything. Even knowing that I was doing this series of Fragrant Awakenings and that Turquoise was high on the list, I still saved Turquoise for last.
"My Favorite Beach Weather" by Tama Blough
There was no disappointment. There was, instead, revelation. All those opening notes, fronted by turpentine of all things, soared into my nostrils like they were finally free to be where they wanted to be. The seaweed, the lotus, and the amazing incense grabbed me and shook me as if to say “why did you wait?” I know why I waited. I needed my life to be in a place where I could understand what this perfume meant to me. I have always loved the ocean. I grew up in Southern California, where you wouldn’t die of hypothermia in fifteen minutes if you swam in the water like you can here in Northern California. Anytime I go to Hawai’i, it’s not the beach I gravitate to, it’s the water, that nurturing, buoyant, exciting place. Here in my often chilly coastal town, I visit the water and walk. For me, going to the beach isn’t about suntan lotion and a book and a good bake, it’s about being soothed by the sound of the waves, the sand under my bare feet, and a good deep meditative walk, my eyes searching the sand for pretty stones, occasionally communing with my father’s molecules out there in the ocean we put his ashes into. Turquoise captures perfectly the feeling I get from the beach and the sea, which I love equally in sun, rain, or fog. The meditative incense, salty ambergris, and sweet myrrh, with the marine aura, all serve to encompass one of my most spiritual, personal pleasures in life. No wonder it haunted me. I just wasn’t ready.
Jewelry featuring turquoise stones by Olivier Durbano
Olivier makes many wondrous perfumes, inspired by different gemstones, that I love, often difficult but worth the effort. But Turquoise is mine. Turquoise is me. I have been wearing it for several days, and every day it settles in more and becomes part of my soul. I will want to smell like other things; I’m a perfumista, after all, but Turquoise will be the one I want for restoration, to center myself, to feel somehow complete, to wear to the beach for my walks. I will be ever grateful to Olivier, who, to my delight, has become a friend, for making this scent that has been a true fragrant awakening.
Tama Blough, Managing Editor