It’s holy week, and all around me people already say happy Easter everywhere I go. It irks me, ‘no, no, it’s not happy yet’. However, I think what they mean is probably more something like Happy Easter holiday, and of course, as a good agnostic, I don’t really care, it’s just that for some reason* this time seems contemplative to me, it seems like something is a little oppressed before it’s released, and there’s a proper sense of spring and the life it brings with it.
So I thought I wanted to find two fragrances which might be a bit related to this time. In fact it will be three, because my # 1, and the only fragrance that I feel wholly encompasses this time is Serge Lutens’ De Profundis, I wrote about it when it was first released at All I Am-blog. But a short quote; “I get the decided feeling that the fragrance itself yearns and beseeches you to think of the violet, once gone, like an echo. There is incense but I find it only detectable as a feeling of calm and quiet, it isn’t a dominant note, and yet it almost feels like it is a main player of the fragrance because of the serenity it emits.” I won’t repeat myself further.
Cardinal is all about the incense and myrrh, the smell of Catholic Church is unmistakable, like the incense burned and swung in a place through centuries seeped through stones and interior. The actual burning and smoking is like it’s long gone from the fragrance and what is portrayed here is the remains which has taken the shape of its surroundings. Its straight and contemporary style with underlying ancient context, reminds me of the opening of something like Arvo Pärt’s Passio. The text is the Latin words from John’s Passion, and the musical style is contemporary minimalist and yet pointing back to early music styles, it’s meditative and deceptively simple. Perhaps Cardinal is not exactly deceptive in its simplicity, it’s a tad bitter-sweet but pure, nearly purist, something that takes it away from the ancient, and towards clean and modern.
Ombre Indigo, like the rest of Olfactive Studio’s opus is inspired by a photo. Funnily I’m not sure I care so much for this, I think it’s easier for me to ignore press blurb than pictures, and when it comes to images, I prefer to conjure up my own from whatever it is I smell. So, I haven’t looked up what was the inspiration. For me it’s all about papyrus in this fragrance, and you’ll need to like this greenish swampy note to like Ombre Indigo, since it is its heartbeat. Like Cardinal, OI has that strange thing of using something as ancient as papyrus (and incense), which should perhaps evoke dead sea scrolls and illuminated scriptures, but instead is using papyrus to make it set of the other notes in a contemporary way. At first, played up against the juiciness of a discreet plum it becomes dry, against the bitter saffron it becomes almost sweet, green against the ashen incense and ashen against a white musk and faint ambery dry down. I’ve only ever smelled papyrus done as a green note, so I really enjoy the clever way it is used here, especially together with the incense heart I think it pairs to simple, contemplative perfume.
I will be back when it’s time to wish everyone a happy Easter, but until then; Did you know there’s actually a perfume called ‘Resurrection’ (and another one called Resurrextion)? And to get over that info, here a little more Pärt meditation: Spiegel im Spiegel
*Probably vastly influenced by stories from my childhood and thousands of artist’s depictions.
Samples and bottle (SL) bought. Sketch of Michelangelo’s Firenze Pieta and feature both by me.