Flora, our Guild muse, is surrounded by stars as she holds the fragrance that represents the 13th astrological sign, Ophiucus. Flora last held the modernistic scents of the 21st Century perfumes of the Guild's Brave New Scents Project, and now finds herself sent back to prehistoric, primordial times. Flora is cool, she is unflappable to the Mystery of Musk, the Outlaw Perfumers didn't faze her, and we love that she moves through time and scent with us.
It was into the stars, and the night sky, when the constellations are visible that we ventured, and here is my take on the inspiration of Ophiucus.
When Michelyn Camen, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ca Fleure Bon blog approached the Natural Perfumers Guild with the idea of blogging about the almost-forgotten 13th astrological sign, Ophiuchus, (Pronounced as OFF-ee-YOO-kuss) I immediately saw the artistic and historic potential.
Research about the origins of the 13th sign took me down many, many paths. Imhotep, Aesclapeus, lost astrology references, the Caduceus of doctors, several paths of mythology and prehistoric references – and I was quickly overwhelmed. Speaking with the other perfumers taking part in the project, I was amazed at how diverse their interpretations on the topic were, and I realized that being overwhelmed by the different paths was hindering my progress, so I meditated.
The first meditation made me smile: using the parable of the group of blind men who were led into a room and told to touch the elephant, which they had never seen, of course, and describe what it looked like. Since each touched a different part of the elephant, each had a very different description from the other. Trunk, foot, tusk, hide? With this project, each perfumer touched a different part of the 13th sign’s mythology or history, and each came away with a story of their own on how it “looked”.
One theme I kept coming back to in my meditation was actually sparked by what I was using to help me meditate: frankincense. I stashed several pounds of Hojari from Oman four or five years ago, and I bring it out for special meditations, and I have tinctured some for use in perfumes.
|Some of my Hojari frankincense collection. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the beauty of these 'tears'.|
It has been millenniums since the beginning of our natural perfume art “per-fumen”, through the smoke, the act of either placing aromatic resins on the fire to release their scent into the air, or distilling them in an alembic, and now I am bringing my Prima Aroma back to that beginning.
The resins that oozed from the trunks of African and Middle Eastern trees are the first essences to be processed “per-fumen” – labdanum, frankincense, opoponax, omumbiri, myrrh and benzoin. My meditations led to me them, and so I worked with them to make a 100% liquid resin perfume. It can heal the heart and soul with
its deep, rich scent, and it can be layered under or over other perfumes because it is surprisingly neutral. Due to the resins, White Smoke may be slightly sticky for the first 10 seconds or so after application. After that, it dries completely, forming a “lacquer” for the skin.
White Smoke will retail for $70 for one ounce. You may place your order now, and it will ship Dec. 15th.
Cafleurebon is hosting a giveaway of White Smoke and the other perfumes in the 13th Sign project.
If you leave a comment here, on my blog, about the 13th sign, or leave a comment about what Prima Aroma means to you, I will also be giving away a 30ml bottle of White Smoke! Please leave a comment before midnight Nov. 29th - up to the beginning of Nov. 30th. I will randomly select a winner. Good luck and I'd love some ideas of what "Historical Fragrances for a Modern World" mean to you.
Cafleurebon's team stepped waaayy back in time to bring this project to the present.
Christie Meshell (link to website)
Note: this blog post is dated Nov. 27th, and Adam, Elise and JoAnne will have their links up tomorrow, and I will update this at that time. Christie does not have a blog.