However, since I was raised here, I’ve aware of our propensity to treat the rest of the world as our treasure chest, full of shiny, beautiful things that it is our privilege to appropriate: food, clothing, spiritual practices. We Bay Areans, as Californians do in general, travel the world to distant lands, spend some time among the locals, rip off surface aspects of their culture, and bring them back with us to show them off as if that somehow makes us cool.
(For the record, before I get accused of hypocrisy and alienate, like, practically everyone I know, conscious travel, encountering people different than you with an open, humble heart, is one of the great gifts of life that we can give ourselves and the planet. We need to learn more about one another. But there is a lot of ego involved in travel, I’ve noticed. What I listen for, when hearing about other people’s trips, is do I learn all the reasons why a place they went to is so fabulous, or why they are so fabulous for going there?)
Well, as it turns out, what she can tell us is quite true. I am NOT making the claim that she’s captured something correct about India—I’ve never been there. And I’m not in any hurry to endorse the notion that a perfumer can bottle the essence of another culture. However, what “Padparadscha” does achieve is a blast of deep and pure sensation that connects the wearer to one’s own breath.
Out of the bottle, “Padparadscha” is saturated at about 9 on a scale from 1 to 10. As the scent notes promise, freshly cracked peppercorns and strong green juniper wood. After a few minutes, the pepper blows off, the juniper bows out, and fresh cedar wood steps in seamlessly joined to the most flawless, unforgiving sandalwood I’ve ever smelled.
“Padparadscha” has been described as arid, and I think that is an excellent quality in a fragrance. It’s as rough as a cat’s tongue, and to breathe it in deeply dries out the back of my sinuses. Named after a sapphire, there is nothing crystalline, cold, or static in this fragrance. When I smelled it, the hot pepper slap, the fresh cedar sap and sandalwood fireworks going off, I said to myself, Oh, Sweet Shakti.
“Padparadscha” is so good, if you told me that it kills the germs that cause bad breath, I’d believe you. It might just freshen your aura. I think that to sniff it aligns several hard-to-reach chakras.