Living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m more than familiar with the scent of rain. Wet asphalt, damp wool, slicked pine trees, moist dog — I know them all. To me, Miller Harris La Pluie doesn’t have much to do with rain, at least not with rain in my part of the world. Instead, it smells like something much more wonderful: Revlon Moon Drops perfume, my grandmother’s favorite.
Miller Harris released La Pluie in 2011. Lyn Harris created it, and the fragrance has notes of tangerine, lavender, “wet” white flowers, ylang ylang, vetiver and bourbon vanilla. Initially, La Pluie is an aldehydic whoosh of tangerine and lavender with the ylang ylang already showing. Its citrus isn’t overtly juicy but leaves a dulled tangerine residue tinged with resinous lavender.
For the first twenty minutes or so on skin, except for the aldehydes and the top edge of the citrus, it doesn’t smell much like my grandmother's Moon Drops. But once La Pluie’s moist, powdery, slightly spicy heart kicks in, Moon Drops comes back. (By the way, I haven’t actually smelled Moon Drops in years, so this is pure, unreliable scent memory at work.) La Pluie’s heart piles creamy ylang ylang on a touch of tangerine with maybe a pinch of carnation and buzzy jasmine. Its vanilla is subtle, and the vetiver gives the ylang ylang an island vibe.
La Pluie’s humid floral powder brings back memories of being enveloped in my grandmother’s hug. She was a big woman (“More of me to love,” she’d say) and strong as an ox. Once one of my uncles brought home an exercise device made of four removable springs strung between two handles. To build your chest, you grasped the device’s handles and pulled them apart, stretching the springs. Between my father and three brothers, they managed a few repetitions at three springs, but no one could pull all four springs. Except grandma. She played it like it was an accordion.
Despite her defensive tackle build, grandma was supremely feminine. She was a beautician during the Great Depression and wouldn’t leave home without a swipe of fuchsia lipstick and a dab from her green-marbled plastic compact of Moon Drops. (“Inside every woman is a little bit of a cat” she told me when I was barely old enough to see over the bathroom counter.) I wish she were alive so I could give her a bottle of La Pluie to replace her discontinued Moon Drops.
La Pluie is a quiet fragrance and lasts about four hours with minimal sillage. It would be refreshing for a hot afternoon when you still need to be polished enough for the office. It’s not really my kind of perfume, but I might need to buy a La Pluie candle to summon my grandmother on those rough days when a girl needs a firm, warm hug.
Miller Harris La Pluie Eau de Parfum comes in 100 ml and 50 ml bottles, and in a 6.5-ounce candle. For information on where to buy it, see Miller Harris under Perfume Houses.
A bonus grandma story for anyone in the mood: When I was about 10 years old, I complained to my grandmother that the old saying went that “dogs are a man’s best friend,” but “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Didn’t that make women money grubbers? After all, dogs really are friends. Diamonds are just jewelry. “Honey,” she said and put down her dish towel, “If you’ve got a diamond, you can buy all the dogs you want.” She was a wise woman.