This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?
- From the Prelude to the poem Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest, on the rugged coastline of Washington state, there lies a wild promontory called Cape Disappointment, a fog-enshrouded place that is home to not one but two lighthouses, dense woods and a beautiful unspoiled beach. The origin of the name is uncertain, but I think it should be officially renamed in honor of the new fragrance by Portland's Imaginary Authors, which is called Cape Heartache. Isn't that so much more romantic? The perfume is an homage to our region, and anyone who smells it will be immediately transported to the majestic forests that are such an essential part of our lives. Step into its world and you will never want to leave.
Cape Heartache is the second fragrance inspired by the fictional adventure writer Philip Sava, the “author” of Memoirs of a Trespasser, the bestseller of the line, and it shares some of its DNA, its warm base touched with vanilla. The head and heart notes are quite different however; instead of being a sweet and ambery comfort scent, it is a tumble of outdoorsy sensations that change from moment to moment, creating a kaleidoscope of moods. It contains pine, fir and hemlock, but it's far from being brooding and gloomy. The coolness of the evergreen needles intersects with a dry incense radiance like Balsam fir cones and reminds me of the Christmas trees of my New England childhood. There is earthiness too, a faithful rendition of loamy forest duff overlaid with fluffy moss as green as jade. The woodland this perfume embodies is a beautiful place, pierced with shafts of light and interspersed with open glades graced with the delight of sun-warmed wild strawberries nestling in the soft grass. The vanilla does a fine impression of the hay-like aroma of ferns in high summer giving up their scent with the slightest touch. After a time, once the fragrance has warmed on skin, a ripe, sleepy plum note makes its appearance. Just as you think it's turning into something entirely sweet, the resinous notes come back into play. Sometimes it smells like a pine grove and then it's a meadow, then a misty morning in an old growth forest or a damp, mossy hollow full of secrets. The longevity is so impressive that you can enjoy the show for hours on end.
I predict that this fragrance will be loved by both men and women, and while it's as easy to live with as your favorite cotton sweater or well-worn jeans, it's also original enough to turn heads and keep the wearer coming back for more. I can see it being a go-to scent for men especially, that perfect thing to wear no matter what the occasion is. If you wanted to like (the much more expensive) Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince but its hefty dose of blackcurrant bud was a deal breaker, you must try Cape Heartache. It should also appeal to fans of Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles, but it's not as dark or piney. Imaginary Authors fragrances are available from the their Web site and at various retailers in the Portland area, including Spruce Apothecary and Branch & Birdie.