Thursday, September 4, 2008
Bring Out Your Dead: A Perfume Series
One reason the perfume content of this blog has gotten so thin is that I'm pretty seriously out of the loop these days. It's difficult to have much to say about the new releases or the latest mutilation of a classic unless you're spending a lot of time trawling the perfume blogs, hanging out on the forums, and sampling. It's not that I don't still respect and enjoy hardcore 'fume chat. It's a huge pleasure for me to drop in at Perfume Shrine or the Posse, and I love reading the great reviews from all my old POL buddies on their blogs; but unfortunately, time and funds for perfume are both a little short, so I just can't keep up to speed well enough to enter the conversation.
I don't love my collection any less, however, and I find that my taste and responses to scent continue to evolve. Lately I've been fixated on the discontinued (or hopelessly disfigured) fragrances that I deeply love. Most of them have been part of my life for a long time, so I have a wealth of associations attached to them. Sniffing them induces instant reverie, and the memories always seem to have a particular power because they're evoked by something that is, in a sense, no longer of this world. It's a little like hearing a whispered message from a ghost.
This is the time of year when the Wheel turns toward death, diminishment and closure. Starting with Mabon (the autumnal equinox), the barrier between the living and the dead grows thinner until Samhain, when it is most easily crossed. So, with that in mind, this seems like a good time to commune with the cut flowers in my collection. Over the next few weeks I'm going to blog about some of my favorite dead perfumes. These posts won't be reviews in the usual sense--no need for that, since most of them are either well-known classics, or so obscure a review would be pointless. I'm just going to write a bit about what the fragrances mean to me, how they fit into the narrative of my life. If I do it right, they'll offer a little voyeuristic peek into the nature of scent obsession.
Mabon, of course, is still a couple of weeks away, and I'm going to wait until then to ponder the really precious juices, but look for a couple of warm-up posts in the meantime. First up will be a beloved unknown. Stay tuned ...
Still Life with a Skull, Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674).