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.
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.
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.
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.
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.