Friday, March 28, 2008

The Gates of Hell: Falling in love with or without incense

Warning: This is a long post. I've included every last note I made to myself, just in case someone would care too see how this three day obsession manifested itself in words. If you want to scroll down to the bits about love, they start in red. . .

While studying, I left myself notes about L'artisan's Passage D'enfer (yet again). Here are the thoughts I had at the end of the day, in all their muddled glory:

I almost want to go back and find out what the weather was like the first time I tried it. It certainly was colder, but was it windy, was it snowing? I know I hadn’t tried it during the daytime. That in itself could make a difference. What mood was I in before I put it on?

As I think it’s all a subjective, emotional experience, the last question is important. But I won’t drive myself insane by trying to get all the details I missed the first time around.

I have earlier notes from the day, including exact times I reapplied. The weather: bright and sunny. Temps: most of the day in the mid-forties. Right now. . I’ll have to check. But I don’t feel particularly cold. It’s not windy. It’s a quiet night.

I’ve had the scent on all day and feel sad when it dissipates. It doesn’t have that much staying power.

It is not “scaring me” like it did the first time. Evocative, yes. But my brain is going back and forth between that sense of Catholic Mass (without a lot of people – wow – so detailed!) and a feeling of Japanese incense. This was probably prompted by my buying a new box of incense a few days ago, one that I haven’t used before. Okay – gotta check that (and I’ll check the weather) It’s 32 degrees. Which is warm for 10pm in Maine in March.

The incense: Shoyeido’s Goyei-koh (Eternal Treasure). Strong sandalwood. Totally unlike Passage D’enfer (I’m comparing them now). BUT, they both have a strong sense of dryness. I like this.

I’m craving it, in fact, like I craved Vanllla last week (and didn’t get it).

Perhaps I want dryness ‘cause I’m sick of the snow. Who knows?

Or because there’s something rather straightforward about it? It’s an incense smell without all the mystery – I’m not even sure what that means. It doesn’t smell “exotic”? It is not a “sexy” smell to me. I hear there’s some musk In it but I’m not sensing that. There’s absolutely no animalistic anything about this scent. It’s asexual. Like Church? Ha!

But I was thinking this earlier and once again, I think a perfume is truly great when it conjures up so many memories, evokes feelings and thoughts which I am surprised at having. . .

It's like falling in love. It is. I miss the smell when it’s gone. Like a lover whom you’re head over heels with, you just can’t stand it when they are not there. You want to reapply, over and over! You want them with you, as much as possible. You want them under your skin (in you) as much as you can stand. . .and then, perhaps, you tire of it (him, her) or perhaps it just gets old or too understandable. You’ve figured it out. Or not. Perhaps they’ll always be a mystery. . .that’s the kind of love affair that really is the kicker. The one that was elusive. Never resolved.

But with me, as in love affairs and deep friendships, there’s always this first moment, so many times I’ve had an instant dislike for someone and I know – I think to myself, oh, I'm going to come to love this person. . .like passage d’enfer, it scared me, like a lover who’s a bit too dangerous oooohhh and then the next time I had no feelings at all and got drawn in and totally seduced. Everything else paled. I didn’t want to smell anything else or if I did, I hated it. The new incense is eh. The caldrea dish liquid (yes, I'm including that because I enjoy it whenever I do the dishes) is eh. Everything is eh except passage d’enfer. . .tho’ my other new lover is calling me (douce amere). I can’t afford either. Ha ha!

I had said there was nothing "animalistic" about the scent. This is the lover who doesn't love back, who you want but doesn't want you. Or pretends not to. He doesn't slouch or shout "I'm sexy", but he is in his aloofness. His posture is a bit too erect though he's cool. He makes his bed in the morning and seems to live like a monk (and I think he must need incense in that case).

My dear woman, you are starting to write about a particular person and you know it. You must stop now! This is what fragrance does to me. I am haunted by memories. Perhaps scent is too much for me to take.

And here are the sticky notes I had left on my desktop during the course of two days:

i have long avoided oil scents from health food stores and the like. didn't want to smell like a hippie. the line was long and i lingered. . .and wondered what Wood smelled like. Surprise! I was entranced. Such a juxtaposition to the lingering smell of tea that clung to me. deep, rich and almost-hippie (yes), I am drawn into it and wonder about it's layering possibilities. I thought "oh, my nose is changing!" For 11.04, how could I resist? I have always loved incense

2:10pm Smells so different in the "light of day". i just reapplied, much more heavily. Can smell the sweetness but it's still wet. i put ROOT on the other wrist and it smells rather disgusting in comparison, but it's not got frankincense & myrrh in it, unlike what i thought.
damn: i'm loving yet another expensive fragrance.
what a comparison, tho: i just thought "wow, a lot of thought went into this scent". On the other hand, i'm wnating to love the super cheap AuraCacia but it smells vulgar in comparison; let's give it some time.

3:00pm Accidentally smelled my left wrist and mentally said "mmmm". The flower note is now apparent (but what is it?). Root smells "hippie-ish in comparison" but i think they shouldn't be compared, perhaps.

Root: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citrus x Limon (Lemon) Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetiver) Oil, Nardostachys Jatamansi (Spikenard) Oil, Viola Odorata (Violet) Leaf Absolute, Angelica Archangelica (Angelica) Root Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Absolute, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Extra Oil.
this should smell less like passage hmmm

4:20pm : i had them mixed up. This should smell like more like Passage. .

Wood: Caprylic/Capric Trigyceride, Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Atlas Cedar) Oil, Amyris Balsamifera (Amyris) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Oil, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil, Citrus x Limon (Lemon) Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Absolute.


put on more passage d'

thought of "good"
pencil shavings

but what are bad ones? ones with no smell? ones I got in trouble for when I was a kid (when my father sharpened a pencil onto a desk, instead of the waste paper basket and I got blamed - the reason for many of my neuroses, I'm sure)

Is there cedar?

8:20pm I realize I accidentally bought the wrong AuraCacia. Must go purchase some Wood. . .

8:30-ish (the next day):
I swear that one sample of Passage d'enfer is better than the other one.
is that possible? and why? Answer to that question, by Molly, on the Perfume Critic. . .


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