The story by Theophile Gautier of Clarimonde, has appropriately given rise to a perfume that captures the vivid beauty of the story, Immortal Mine by Maria Mcelroy and Alexis Karl.
This perfume is rich and dense, and as it opens it reminds me of white smoke trapped in a honeycomb, causing drowsiness among the bees, so they lay quietly while the keeper siphons off the honey.
So it was for the young man, sleeping deeply after drinking the wine Clarimonde prepared each night. Something like the perfumed port made by LostPastRemembered, so that he won't notice Clarimonde taking a drop of his blood each night to keep herself alive. She knows she must continue to live because he still loves her, so to extend her life, perhaps into immortality, she does what she must. Even after he becomes aware of what she is doing, he is so enthralled he realizes he would freely give her much more. That would be dangerous indeed.
The wine, perfumed and sedative, gives incredibly vivid dreams -- is he truly the voluptuary alter-ego of an ascetic priest? Or is the self-denying priest's life his deepest self, using dreams to warn him of the danger of losing his immortal soul? When he awakes as a priest he uses wine in the sacraments, to unify people with God. As Clarimonde's lover he uses it as a connoisseur for pleasure and she uses it to gain some of his vitality, yet still in kindness to him because she knows he loves her and would not want her to die.
Immortal Mine dries down into a tobacco honeyed phase which lasts for a few minutes, then down to the vintage aoud that holds the faint memory of the florals to itself closely. Extremely sexy. The central theme of this perfume is hypnotic attraction. It sinks deeply into the skin, and is made with approximately 98% precious natural materials. There is a hint of beeswax and florals, but my favorite explanation of the ingredients of this perfume comes directly from Alexis Karl:
Soil from an unmarked grave. One single drop of blood from a slain Wyvern, the sweet elixer of dying jasmine and fading neroli. Amber found in ancient tombs of civilizations lost. Longing.
Essence of smoke from the funeral pyre. A cut of material form Bela Lugosi's cape, the dust from a bats wing. Wood resins gathered from the Forest of the Dead, Myrrh scraped from the cliffs of The Dark Realm. Precious ouds unearthed from burning desert sands. Wax dripping from black, white and pink candles, ashes of a Phoenix, words from a dead poet's mouth. Rare herbs found in a cathedral's forgotten garden. Desire.
Indeed, as I linger over the last of the perfumed wine that fills my mouth with ambergris, musk, rose, honey and chocolate, that scent rising up from the back of my throat, I sink more deeply into the fragrant complexity on my inside wrist, and would seek to dream such vivid dreams of ultimate and Immortal Love.
Please follow the links above for the story of Clarimonde, by Theophile Gautier, one a beautiful reading of the story and the other a free ebook download.
Please try the recipe for the perfumed wine, and find out much more about the myth of the vampire at LostPastRemembered by Deana Sidney, it is a spectacular site. Also please see the very enjoyable Tarlesio, aka Sheila Eggenberger, at Scentless Sensibilities, who has also posted on Clarimonde - Blood and Kisses - and will continue to do so. Monica Miller of the Perfume Pharmer has wrote me a letter about her perfumes and lipstains for Clarimonde and will be posting about the other perfumers too, Mandy Aftel, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, and Beth Schreibman Gehring and Trish at Scent Hive will also be posting about all the perfumes.
Maria Mcelroy (of Aroma M, I have written about her perfumes several times, please check the archives) and Alexis Karl, the collaborators on Immortal Mine are treating this Clarimonde Project as a special limited edition because the vintage nature of the ingredients which are irreplaceable. As necessary in times to come, they will produce modified versions of the perfume as the materials are limited in nature (that list!). Their collaboration continues at Cherry Bomb. Samples of Immortal Mine will be available for purchase by contacting them: firstname.lastname@example.org