February 12, 2012

The Devilscent Project

I am delighted to find myself drawn in to the nefarious doings of one Tarlesio, aka The Alembicated Genie, aka Sheila Eggenberger, who (I can't help thinking) in the guise of the heroine of her novel Quantum Demonolgy, is attracted to a very new kind of Faustian bargain offered by the Devil himself.

I am always eager to read her writing on perfume and now find myself deep within her novel and this project to manifest perfume for the very Devil himself and his demon queen Lilith.

I've always had an interest in Lucifer, the name of the Devil before he was cast out of heaven, as a kind of namesake.  The name means light.   Lu-ci-fer -- within this name is contained the dawn, the generation of the morning light, like the strike and spark of a celestial match.  He began as a great archangel called the Morning Star, the Shining One, whose pride was his downfall.

To be an angel who has become deceitful - and very dangerously possessing great worldly power and inexhaustible energy -- is this not devilish and rather attractive?

In QD, the Devil emanates a distinctive perfume.  We well know it's sometimes those subtle things that seal the deal between a man and a woman. For this strong, modern, feminine Faust, with sophisticated taste in perfume, the Devil is most seductive when he is most expressive of his true inner self, in all his Luciferian power and glory.  He emanates whiffs of "leather, labdanum, bitter, dark".  Perhaps not evil through choice but acting as  a spiritual brother for God, playing yang to God's yin, a balance to the universe? 

Both the Devil and his prey or partner, whichever way it may turn out, know it will take the combination of both their considerable energies to break through all the enormous obstacles in the way of fulfillment for both of them.  That is why the painting above really speaks to me of this partnership in QD.   

The painting shows a dark shadow on her dress, both the dark and the light like the moon.   Reminds me of how our female heroine masks her blonde brightness in black suede in one of my favorite scenes in the book so far. 

 Sometimes it takes the equal of the elemental energy of a demon to lift a half bright/half dark Beauty across the unimaginably deep, vastly wide and soul killing-ly tedious ocean of obstacles that could never otherwise be transversed within a lifetime.  To reach the shore, to get to freedom, to get to the fulfillment of creativity in this world as it stands, may take just that ability to ride the energy of the elemental.

There will be eight perfumers participating:

Alexis Karl and Maria Mcelroy, Cherry Bomb Killer Perfumes; Neil Morris, Neil Morris Fragrances;
Kedra Hart, Opus Oils; Ellen Covey, Olympic Orchids; Amanda Feeley, Esscentual Alchemy; Katlyn Breene, Mermade Magical Arts;  Monica Miller, Skye Botanicals.
And a myriad of perfume writers, I among them: Beauty on the Outside, Anotherperfumeblog, The Alembicated Genie, Muse in Wooden Shoes, Redolent of Spices, Chayaruchama, Perfume Pharmer, Indieperfumes, and perhaps more. It promises to be an exciting project and I can't wait to try the perfumes as they come to my door.

In the meantime, my own interpretation is that there is both bright and dark in a perfume associated with the energy of a Beauty and a Devil.

Until the new perfumes arrive, I think of the ones that strike me as expressive of the light and bright side of the voluptuous blonde protagonist and the starry side of Lucifer, together in their sensual abandon, in the most fragrant of white florals. I find Jasmine to be the embodiment of that form of perfume beauty.

Vero Kern's Rubj in Extrait form, a different formulation from the EdP, is a swooningly beautiful, complex seductive indolic floral that fascinates me and would fascinate the Devil himself I believe. It's feminine floral power is equal to any weight of masculine resins or balsam.

A simpler more direct arrow to this rapturous golden jasmine heart is Bruno Acampora Jasmin T, a thick nectar of brightness and light distilled from the heart of a hedonistic Italian summer of jasmine.
I think of the Van Cleef & Arpels floral series, especially Lys Carmin and Gardenia Petals, because they give me a sense of how a sophisticated adult European perfume culture meets Nature in its unruly glory. There is structure and there is restraint but the intensive fragrance of a lily or a white floral hypnotizes and overcomes even those who have seen and done it all.

Then we have those in-between times, those times the morning after a passionate connection that finds the adjustment to a new reality travels through an ambivalent phase. Our blonde heroine, in the process of being seduced body and soul in repeated bouts of ecstatic episodes with the Devil himself, who knows her only too well, must think long and hard about what she is getting herself into.

For this branch of the emotional spectrum, I am thinking of perfumes that have a more abstract air, though still married to the elements. As in Amaranthine, by Penhaligon. For me the name implies a violet, which as a color embodies a state that is both sad and the beauty of sadness itself. Again, the sophistication, which yet holds sensitivity, self-awareness, and that sense of standing at the edge of a cliff. Anticipation of what is to come. A floral, yet the tea milk and tonka bean notes round it out into a calm thoughtfulness.

I also think of Neil Morris' Storm, as the pale violet grey atmosphere that shines through before and after a strike of lightening, as the ozone increases, and the sense of an impending mystery may crack open the sky, dispelling the proverbial peace and quiet before the storm.

For the dark mood of the Devil, ah, there are many. Until I receive the new perfumes for this project, I will content myself with the likes of Dzongkha, that scent like the crumbling pages of a thousand sacred texts imbued with incense. Perhaps my last few applications of vintage Opium, which if worn by a man would probably be illegal as the drug it's named after, with its overwhelming hypnotic sense of instant relaxation of all restraint. Perhaps, sacrilegiously, Balsamo della Mecca, and Incense Avignon. A whiff of the sacred somehow still clings to Lucifer's aura.  He did after all have direct conversations with God and the Archangels, and most of the saints, too.

I so look forward to what the perfumers will do now....and what the other writers will say.

Painting above by Charles Lepeck La Tarrasque. For the legend it depicts, please see the site Dark Classics.


Doc Elly said...

Lucy, I'm sniffing a first draft of the Devil Scent on my wrist as I read your blog post!

Lucy said...

Doc Elly, how exciting!

lostpastremembered said...

I shared Avignon with a friend who came to dinner last night and he loved it! Perhaps it's the sacrilege of using those scents outside the church sensor but they are lovely.
I remember a perfume i wore years ago that had a maitre d ask if something was on fire when i entered the room... from the store with the gold flag in the 50's in NYC. I think it was 80% labdanum but so good. Love those dark, smokey infernal scents. Even today, I sometimes wear it straight and love it. Fun post... I lookforward to the results!

Monica Skye said...

Ok, so I read this "For this branch of the emotional SPUTUM" which I think fits just as well :)

"To be an angel who has become deceitful - and very dangerously possessing great worldly power and inexhaustible energy -- is this not devilish and rather attractive?"

NO!!! YES!!! O NO!!! OMG I don't know! maybe probably o sh**

Lucy said...

Thanks LostPast, I am looking forward to a dark leather labdanum, deep scents but who knows, the perfumers may well come up with something completely unexpected. I will let you know if something comes along that I think would be right for you in particular, now that I know Avignon hits the spot...

Lucy said...

Monica, I probably should have put fatally attractive -- I am not yet finished the book, and wondering how our heroine manages go get herself out of the fix she may well be in...

Must brush up on my Faustian myth, I know the basic story but not much more.

tarleisio said...

Lucy, dear, I am blown to bits by your astonishing eloquence and your insights - not just into the Dark, not simply into Lucifer, but into one of the central themes of my story. You caught it, as I rather hoped you would!

The Devilscent Project wil soon commence, and I do believe our protagonist won't be the only one who will never quite be the same! ;)

And such a journey it will be - I'm more glad and privileged than you know to say that we'll share that adventure, too! XO

Lucy said...

Tarlesio, you are an inspiring influence on us all -- I am so excited to be part of this. How amazing it will be when the perfumes start coming in...

Flora said...

Lucy, I love your description of Dzongkha - that's IT, exactly! Very nice take on this project and I can't wait to see what happens!

JoanElaine said...

Wonderful words! Just what I needed to get myself refocused on the project!

Lucy said...

Hey JoanElaine,

I am reading the rest of the book right now so I feel very much immersed in the mind of Tarlesio -- so looking forward to what happens next