Monday 7 August 2023

G CLEF by Sarah Baker Perfumes

A bottle of G clef perfume on top of a copy of Agatha Christie's Dead Man's Folly book
The way each of us interprets a fragrance is often, in a great way, completely different. The ingredients stir up memories that are individual to the wearer and, even though the perfume company may have given us their inspiration and fragranced story, the ultimate reaction to the spritzed scent is very personal. It’s also often the case that fragrances cross over into our other passions and interests, and that’s exactly what happened with G Clef from Sarah Baker Perfumes. Originally designed as a salute to “live jazz and waterfront clubs”, in my crime fiction-filled head it evoked the boathouse murder scene from Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly.

Sarah Baker Perfumes launched in 2015 but, far from being the new kid on the block, Sarah had already firmly established herself as a renowned multimedia artist. The perfume side of her sensorial empire began as a contribution to a scented art exhibition and, eight years later, she is still causing marvellous mayhem and disruptive mischief in the fragrance world. Three of her main collection of eight extraits have made appearances on here before, in the form of Charade, Loudo and the sexually-charged Gold Spot, but this time we’re heading into the “life-affirming and joyful” realm of the S. BAKER quintet.

This collection of five fragrances allowed Sarah to explore the more ephemeral and transient side of perfumery, but don’t think that means short-lived. The fragrances have a delicacy that allows the ingredients to truly sing and, because of the lower concentration, is also an easy way for new customers to discover the company. One of the fragrances, Far From The Madding Crowd, was inspired by Thomas Hardy's famous book from 1874. In the hands of perfumer Miguel Mattos, it echoed a line from the book and “gleamed a sort of greeting, like a living thing”. However, G Clef conjured a different image altogether.

A bottle of G clef perfume next to a copy of Agatha Christie's Dead Man's Folly book
As I mentioned before, G Clef by Sarah Baker was originally inspired by “live jazz and waterfront clubs” but, from the very first spray, I was taken to the boathouse at Greenways. This was Agatha Christie’s home in Devon, Greenways not the boathouse, although the latter is the scene of the murder in her 1956 book Dead Man’s Folly. To get to the boathouse you have to walk through the gardens, past aromatic herbs and narcotic flowers, and often find yourself kicking up the dried leaves and mosses on route. With its commanding position over the River Dart, I wonder what the aged timbers would say if they could speak?

G Clef opens with a bright blend of grapefruit and bergamot, almost like the light breaking through the wooded walk, before a deliciously powdery lavender joins the journey. At this point you get the first hints of an aquatic aroma breaking through, but it’s still in the distance. A touch of earthy oakmoss and patchouli make themselves known, that forest floor quality, but the full reveal of the watery aroma signifies that you’ve arrived. Now, in the book, this is when you’d be confronted with the body of Marlene Tucker, so a touch of jasmine adds a nod to fading femininity. However, the final combination of tonka bean, cedarwood and an amber accord brings you straight back to the salty humidity of the boathouse. The joy of fragrance is creating your own story and, as Sarah Baker encourages, “cast yourself in the leading role”.

G Clef is available from the Sarah Baker Perfumes website at priced at £95 for 50ml, and the limited edition 15ml version is available from Floralia at priced at £32. [Sample provided by Sarah Baker Perfumes]

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