August 26, 2006

Chocolate and Amber

I recently received my order from Eden Botanicals, containing Cocao Absolute. Origin France, Theobroma cacao; plant part: seeds. It is very thick and dark and does smell intensely of very good chocolate that is so rich it is perfume like already. I am not exactly sure what I will do with it, but I presumed I really needed it, and I am sure I will figure something out fairly soon. I also ordered some of their "amber essence" which does in fact have a very nice, warm, rubbed leather dark scent to it, which is what I suppose amber would smell like if you could get more than the most subtle whiff of it from the real thing, and I think putting the chocolate together with it in some way will be a start. Chocolate being one of the most essential elements associated with female desires, I have been planning on a visit to a local place called Cocoabar, which offers nothing but chocolate, coffee and wine. Now coffee and wine might be two other elements that would exactly complement the fragrance of chocolate itself, so I expect to be inspired from by experience there. A good place to read. I have noticed it is also a spot that has lent itself to a "books released into the wild" program run by a local bookswapping group. Title and description are listed online and the members can go and pick them up behind the counter, if they so wish. Now that could be another element, the scent of paper that books have. Newer ones, that is, sometimes the old have that funny mold smell which can't be eradicated no matter what. But I am not really sure what the scent of paper might be comprised of. An inky element from the Sunday New York Times edition.
I think composing scents based on reality experiences can work. Some things just obviously go together, and create very pleasant sense memories. Chocolate, coffee, wine, books, and actually, tobacco (fresh, not the smoke). Just stepping back from trying to compose, and just appreciating what is really there already, in our environment can be inspirational. It's a rainy late summer weekend, so that rain smell would be a good element too, to add freshness. I think of chocolate ice cream, hot cocoa, mousse, but those contain a sugary element to balance the bitterness of true chocolate. There needs to be a balance and opposition to the sugar sweetness. There's the bitterness of unsugared coffee, and the edge of a dry wine. Also perhaps an sobering element provided by the tragedy I will no doubt be reading of in the nineteenth century Russian or French literature I expect to bring with me there. Anna Karinina, Madame Bovary, The Red and the Black. What does tragedy smell like? Very mineral, I think, like the saltiness of tears, the iron of blood, the powdery calcium softness of dust. I think every sensory experience is heightened and informed by the memory of its opposite. The pleasurable memory of chocolate and the danger we sense from the of the bite of iron in blood. As taught in art schools, opposites in color heighten the effect of each one, and in experience and memory, the same rule applies.
As Paul Klee said: war is temporary, drawings (and chocolate) are eternal...
Illustration above: Femme Elegante I
by Andrea Laliberte

8 comments:

chaya ruchama said...

Cara Luccia [such a lovely name]-

I enjoy your musings;they echo many of my own,make you feel like a kindred spirit.

Here's a thought for you to ponder:

Have you ever noticed how the flavor,color, texture, and fragrance of literary melancholy differs from culture to culture?

Think about Teutonic vs. Hispanic vs. French vs.Slavic...

See what I mean? I thought you might.
Of course, this is readily discerned in music, other art forms as well...

I agree that la vie quotidienne provides ample inspiration. The juxtapositions reveal a great deal...

Here's another whackjob observation, a favorite:

Have you noticed that,for each individual, there is a time signature which seems biologically vital to well-being,and a sense of equilibrium, homeostasis even?

Example-
After years of singing [and I mean YEARS], I began to realize that the lion's share of my best-loved repertoire was composed in triple meter!

Well, that's probably no big deal, because waltzes,many lullabies,folksongs, Bach compositions,etc.,fall into that category...soothing,lyrical...

What was unusual, to me,at least,was that my general sense of well-being and physical health seemed to be interwoven.

On observing other people, it became clear that many lived to a martial tempo, or cut-time.

I'd love to hear what you think...

Take care.

Lucy said...

Chaya - yes I think it is clear that culturally we are formed very specifically as to the flavor we give to our sensory and emotional experiences.
I don't have any technical knowledge of music, I think you are probably right though, as to tempo, it is kind of like a personality style, some people more intense, some more motivated, some more relaxed and peaceful. As I was saying in response to your comment on the prior post, you have a unique viewpoint which perhaps you might like to share more thoroughly by creating your own site at some point -- though of course there's no doubt it does take up a lot of time and energy. Still, it's rewarding and I think it is a good place to put a lot of things that you have internally synthesized over time and with experience...

Anya said...

Diluted castoreum reminds me of the India Ink wells of my childhood, hence is associated with paper. Sniff, sniff I would go, on and on, as I wrote. Look for balance in your blend, beyond just the "smells" -- the diffusiveness, the strength, and the lasting power of each element are critical. Compare and contrast two elements at a time in little bottles, well-noted. Then build them up, one against the other. What survives? What exalts? What melds and is synergistic? Only you can determine that.

Parfume Moderne said...

About Chocolate, It is lovely isn't it. One of my favs. Is to relax with a piece of Scharffen Berger Cacao Mocha, and a glass of Petite Syrah.
In perfume I have tried it (chocolate) with just about every oil that I can think of. I make my own amber blends, and chocolate added to
dark animalic amber with a bit of champa, spice and patchouli is very
erotic., or repulsive, depending on how one takes to strong primal scents.
Today was a very good chocolate day for me. After bathing I covered myself from head to toe with my cocoa butter and coffee body butter, I can still smell it on my skin.
Since I took the day off from the studio. I thought a little scent was in order., so I jumped right in...........

chaya ruchama said...

Dear Luccia-
I'm a bit confused regarding your kind suggestion to start my own blogsite...

Have I overstepped bounds, or made a nuisance with my commentary?
As I am so new to this process, please excuse me for any ebullience ...no offense was intended...

Lucy said...

Chaya ---
No no no, it's not sarcasm...I think you have a lot to say with a unique p.o.v. and seems like you enjoy writing, so thought you'd like to try a site yourself. I certainly did not mean it as a rebuke -- I enjoy your comments very much.

chaya ruchama said...

Dear Luccia-

WHEW!!!

Cait Shortell said...

Dear Lucy,
I loved this post. You speak of some of my favorite gustatory delights and make me want to go indulge in all of them. I wish we all lived closer together when I read posts like this one! Have a wonderful day.