Friday, July 13, 2007

Lacrimae Rerum

Recent posts on the Perfume Smellin' Things blog which dealt with "occasional scents" (i.e., "5 Best Scents to Take on a Holiday," "5 Best Scents for a Wedding") got me thinking about the less conventional occasions for which fragrances might be appropriate. Could there be, for instance, "5 Killer Scents for a Funeral" or "5 Must-Wears for Lunch with Your Ex," or, less sensational, "5 Scents to Bid Farewell to the Blues," or, more superficial still, "5 Scents for Before Bed"? Too often, I think, fragrances simply intensify the feelings we are having by giving them depth. They also provide the illusion of extra-corporeality through their aural qualities; E.g., we leave a room and, depending on the strength of the sillage, our scent lingers in the air like a ghost. Just open a drawer in an old house you've known from childhood, and someone is in there (Great Aunt So-and-So, bachelor Uncle Devereux, etc.) Pretty much Perfume 101––or, at least, the introductory lecture by Professor Proust, eh? Thus, a wedding scent will conjure up images of white duchesse satin and crowns of woven néroli blossoms; a vacation scent, the marine images of white sand and blue water. For some reason (call me an ol' Victorian), tuberose scents remind me of funerals and conjure sepulchral imagery. Their sweet, sickly overripe notes are all Baudelaire and French art song. I can only imagine the consoling, overpowering embrace of some chic, black-clad woman at a family wake. Tuberose comforts in its own fashion. The aroma of Creed's Tubéreuse Indiana (1980) with its base of ambergris and musk provides a sort of solace, a good five hours of it. While it might not be the truest expression of the flower, I admire its greasy, dated appeal. It is the old family friend spied signing the condolence book.


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