October 31, 2013

Otherworldly Beings of Perfume

Clarimonde is both dark and light
Halloween is the anniversary and birthday for one of my inspirational muses:   Clarimonde.

Otherworldly beings haunt the spaces between the notes of certain perfumes.  Their significance and what they have to do with us are understood more completely through the medium of fragrance.

Several perfume-mad writers and exquisite perfumers were inspired by the story of Clarimonde, a romantic supernatural being who gives her devotees pure beauty in exchange for love.  Read more and follow the links here, explore Clarimonde's bespoke  perfumes Oud Louban by Aftelier, Immortal Mine by the House of Cherry Bomb, Paradise Lost by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz,  Sangre by Monica Miller and Dreaming Parallel by Ayala Moriel.

Clarimonde, both otherworldly and worldly in the extreme, celebrates her birthday/continuation day all through the month of October.

The most appropriate gift for her is always perfume.  She celebrates the perfumes created for her, and watches for more perfumes that express her essence and spirit, as her appetite for luxury and its refinements is infinite.

The best celebration of this womanly spirit  who has everything is to apply the richest and most beautiful perfumes you can find to your own skin.

Entering into the spirit of such a perfume joins you to her celebrations, because she is a generous being whose pleasure is increased by your own.  She is best pleased by the purest essence of beauty that can mediate as a aromatic vapor that may rise up between yourselves and travel into the realms that reach her and your full mutual understanding.

I myself would like to tell you of certain perfumes that I have found, or have found me, in shades of both hypnotic darkness and piercing floral beauty, that in addition to those exquisite experiences offered to her by the most understanding of perfumers, and devoted writers, strike chords that resonate with both my heart and may it be, with hers and yours.

Carpathian Oud Demi-Absolute, by Soivohle,  honors her ancestors and cousins, who hold to the ancient traditions of the immortals by drinking deep of the warm darkness within ourselves that flows through the body, full of intoxicating energy contained within a sweet and soothing heat that increases with each pulse.  This perfume has the complex beauty of a predator's fur or feathers, imbued with the  spirit of a wild life force, hidden within the branches of an oak tree, watching for prey moving in the night. This perfume is like the fragrant neck of a giant owl or raptor, who sleeps during the warm day in a nest of mosses, among aromatic leaves and branches moist with its pure breath, to wake late and fly breathing deeply through the night air.  Her primal brothers and sisters always carry the scent of the autumn hunt along with them.  Notes are wild mountain poppy, laurel leaf, rhododendron leaf, dianthus, blood cedar, oakmoss accord, violet/orris, black amber, soft earth,  oud/agarwood oil, including Indian oud and Laotian oud, and a custom house blend of oud notes.   

Sirius taken by the Hubble, NASA
Dog Star by Soivohle is conjured from smoky patchouli, vetiver and a dominant cologne accord with citrus, a watery feel, with a peach accord, Choya Nakh, sandalwood, creamy musk and vanilla Bourbon accord.  Here is the bourbon whiskey you drink while you smoke with your best friend the domesticated beast, who draws nearer when the nights are long, as you share each other's company and body heat and heightened senses.  It has the infinitely spacious almost metallic (copper, iron, blood) feel of seeing the burning stars of a cooling night sky through a window in a fire-warmed north facing room.  Energy burns on forever, within us and without us.

Puredistance Black is a luxurious mystery, a soft start to a pervasive and layered scent experience that is a modern or even futuristic version of what darkness is, like swimming or flying through dark water or a night sky in a vehicle engineered by the most artful scientist.  It begins with a pure point of faraway darkness, warmed by amber, disclosing after a time within its enfolded layers heated florals that increase and increase in strength as time goes on.  Clarimonde finds this perfume tenaciously holding on to her luminous skin and transferring itself to the skin of those she embraces. The note composition remains a secret, to invite the wearer to surrender to pure aromatic sensation unencumbered by expectations.

I felt Clarimonde's influence on my visit to Serge Lutens in the Palais Royale where De profundis and Un Lys magically paired themselves as a match to balance coolness and warmth, bitter and sweet, subtle and direct, mortality and immortality, operating from both sides of the spectrum as she does herself.  De profundis is a ghost of a perfume, all pervasive and preoccupying.  The presence of such a ghost is naturally all encompassing of the mind and body. The ethereal quality of a chrysanthemum astringent mist floats over delicate sweet violets beneath green leaves rooted in black earth. A perfume of hints intimations and unconscious wishes that may direct dreams.

Un Lys is the golden sun caught in a bouquet of full blown lilies, gathered in a vase to sit on the altar for a mystic wedding, as a sign of happiness and an aromatic promise of eternal carnal renewal. Un Lys crosses the path of De profundis by calling to it in the sleepy accent of a dry down vanilla orchidaceous-ness, on the border next to the intimate sweetness of the violet perfume's violet flower.

Another balanced pair of celestial and deep in perfume is Tola's Misqaal and AnbarMisqaal represents the luminousity of a thousand flowers visualized within a mother of pearl mosaic of abstracted Arabian symbols. Notes of pineapple, plum, raspberry, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, lemon, pink pepper, nutmeg, star anise, coriander, honey, fir, Juniper, cinnamon, wormwood, geranium, heliotrope, lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, orris, orange flower, orchid, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, leather. A high keyed pitch of excited expressiveness dries down several shades deeper into the woods that hold all the florals together.   

Anbar is amber/ambergris, both surrounded with accords of soothing and precious substances, heightened by top notes of apple, plum, strawberry and orange; middle notes carnation, orris, jasmine and cinnamon; base notes cedar, patchouli, siam benzoin, labdanum, incense, tonka bean, vanilla, white musk and ambergris. The liquid seems warm with a life of its own, pulsing with the energy of its materials and historical associations.

The Devil soaks himself in labdanum
Clarimonde has noted the presence of a fellow supernatural among her lover Romauld's friends. She watches him out of the side of her eyes in passing. He gambles wildly, dresses well, and incites everyone near him to indulge their desires without hesitation.  She caught his scent. They recognize each other as powerful yet inhabiting separate, perhaps even parallel spheres, both in the real world and as actors inspiring the mortal beings they are close to.   Clarimonde suspects he is the Devil himself, currently distracted from paying much attention to anything but his personal affairs, as explained by The Alembicated Genie, who knows him all too well.  Alembicated and I have several times discussed how we are haunted by brother and sister spirits.

They are both ambassadors of luxury.

Clarimonde knows the Devil shares her taste for opulence and expression through perfume, and so read an advance copy of Alembicated's book Quantum Demonology, to find out what he was up to and to discover more about his bespoke fragrances.

After obtaining samples her favorites proved to be by those perfumers she already knew played upon her own long long memories and insatiable dreams of romance and immortality.  It seems they bear a natural affinity toward her predilection for the darkest and the brightest olfactory effects.  These would be The House of Cherry Bomb's Dev and Lil and Neil Morris' Midnight at the Crossroads Cafe.

So another year passes, and our taste for beautiful perfumes increases.

I offer my eternal thankfulness for those perfumers, writers, and spirits past and present who inspire each other and themselves to bring out the beauties within through the medium of perfume.

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved, Lucy Raubertas
Images stolen from everywhere, if any belong to you please let me know.
Samples and perfumes provided by the perfumers.  My experience of them is compensation enough.

Please visit my Pinterest on Clarimonde's continuing adventures.
Please visit Alembicated Genie's post in honor of this holiday and to find out what happens next in her devilish plots.

Please visit the Clarimonde Project, and delve into all the varied perfumes and writing and the story, by Theophile Gautier, who inspired them.


deana sidney said...

Lovely homage. Clarimonde goes on and on... glorious!

Lucy Raubertas said...

She expresses herself best through fragrance