I need to give you a good deal of context for this. It’s a new fragrance and it’s an absolute beauty but we would never have come up with the concept without all the lovely context. So, bear with me, or if you prefer, hold the line, caller… (OK that ages me horrendously! Anyone else remember switchboards?) “Bear with me”: a phrase only ever uttered by ‘Customer Services Representatives’ and usually followed by forty minutes of Phil Collins (which, you could argue, is forty minutes too many).
Cass’s Blog, but with Jonathan’s comments in manly blue and Georgie’s comments in a fitting and fetching shade of ginger
It’s a beautiful Sunday in the Spanish mountains. We’ve all had a slow start to the day (with the exception of the good folk who go to Mass) and, from about 2pm onwards, large groups of people, of all generations, make their way to the local, traditional paella restaurant (Restaurante Puigmola: we’ve raved about it in previous blogs) I haven’t! It is the absolute BEST paella you can possibly imagine. What makes it more traditional than most is that it’s cooked over orange wood.
There’s an indoor restaurant, but the greatest treat is to sit on the outdoor terrace, under the enormous plane tree that offers perfect shade.
This is so much part of our life here now (and only a five-minute drive from our house) that we count the owners José and Inma as friends, and Javier, one of the waiters, doesn’t even bother bringing menus as he knows perfectly well what we’re going to order. Both the food and the drink! I, for one (though I find others do join me), will be having a deliciously chilled, blush pink rosé and sighing with relaxation and pleasure. And I, a deliciously frosty Alhambra beer, swigged from the bottle (because it stays cold longer, not because I’m a lout).
In my former life (PR at Lancôme UK), I used to go to restaurants in London all the time as my job involved entertaining people. A bit of stand-up, a bit of juggling, some impressions… When I look back on it now, the frantic imperative to get tables in the newest, hippest restaurants seems soulless – and very tiring. It still is: from a current Londoner and recent PR employee I remember sitting only a table away from Claudia Schiffer in her supermodel heyday and thinking my life was so cool, whereas, in fact, it was her life that was cool! (For the record, she was incandescently beautiful, as if her own golden lighting just followed her around.). I mean, she was no Sienna Miller… (see previous blogs for more evidence of my unhealthy obsession)
Here, as I sit sipping my wine (did I mention?) there’s no jostling for attention, no braying or preening or gawping or clock-watching, it’s just people enjoying each other’s company in a peaceful, honest, good-natured environment, in a breathtaking mountain setting.
Once I’ve eaten the last mouthful of paella I can possibly manage, the coma descends. I can’t move. It’s all been heavenly and I’m satiated in the best way imaginable. This is when I finally get to the point (well done for sticking with me, caller) because about now, either José or Inma will bring us a little decanter and tiny glasses (though they’re not shots) of Mistela. I could definitely have many ‘shots’ of it! Yeah, yeah – she’s talks a good game!
Mistela is a Valencian dessert wine; it’s raisin-y and spicy and delicious and can be served with a coffee bean or a curl of orange peel. It’s EXACTLY what you need to cut through the coma. And it’s ice cold It’s not particularly alcoholic – nothing like a brandy thank God – bleugh! – but it gives you the pep you need to get up from the table, though possibly not for another hour or so. And maybe only as far as your siesta hammock!
Our perfumers, Pia Long and Marianne Martin, have given this concept their customary stamp of genius: you can absolutely smell the raisins and the spices but it’s captivating, sophisticated, complex and intoxicating, with a Wine accord, Cinnamon, Clove bud, Star anise, Saffron, Orange, Coffee, and a Sugar accord.
Coming very, very soon… Mid September! Along with our other brand new fragrance August Sunset.