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The Oil in the Alabaster Box – Spikenard Giveaway

Alabaster Box

A Guest Post that will be appearing on several blogs today in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Featuring my favourite character from the New Testament, one whose name I share (my Christening name that is).
Today we taking a fragrant journey back in time with Jordan River from The Fragrant Man.

We also have a gift to give away. 🙂 Brie in New York has made some spikenard foot oil especially for this post. If you would like to encounter this scent and look after your own or your loved one’s feet please leave a comment below.

The gift recipient will be announced on Easter Sunday and mailed to you on Tuesday.

Spikenard or nard originates in India and Nepal, high in the Himalayas. The root of the plant is the source for one of the rarest and most precious oils.

Brie would like to say that she is not a professional perfumer. This is an interest for her. She blends with the best of intentions, carefully choosing oils for their healing properties as well as for the enjoyment of smelling. Brie says that spikenard is quite tenacious and challenging to work with as in her experience it takes over the blend (similar to tea tree oil).

Are you spending too much on perfume? Here is a scented tale for you.

The Oil in the Alabaster Box
There are many faiths in this world. There are also many myths and legends. It’s up to you to find the truth on your fragrant journey. Let’s travel to the east this Easter to visit with a woman living on the boundaries of her culture. She has recently met a man. She believes him to be her spiritual guide. He is surrounded by men at a dinner party. She is uninvited and has to make her way past the guests to be able to offer her teacher a scented gift. The gift is spikenard oil, a costly perfume ingredient which at this volume, a Roman litra, costs the equivalent of spending a year’s salary on a scent; a scent so potent that the home where this story takes place becomes filled with fragrant air.

image

The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears that made her blind

She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There’s no place here for her kind

Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster

Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

– lyrics: Janice Sjostran
for chanteuse Cece Winans
– an interpretation of Mark 14:3-9

Judas the accountant thought this money would have been better spent feeding the poor. Nevertheless the teacher accepted this gift from a woman’s heart.

Jesus looked at her with a smile “your deed will never be forgotten. Your story will be told throughout all the lands and for all time and in ways you have never even dreamed of“.

Little could she have imagined that one day the story of her alabaster box would be told on the World Wide Web.

– a Roman litra ~ 327 grams


Album Version – Cece Winans – The Alabaster Box
A more melodic version.

Ines:

I’m guessing that by now you all know who was the person I spoke of in my introduction. Long before I had any connections to the world of perfume, back when I was a child choosing to have a baptism after the fall of communism, my heart chose the name of Magdalene. She was the character from the New Testament I somehow understood the best and felt a connection to. It was only recently I learned she was also the patron saint of perfumers (shame on me for being so slow in learning that information).

Although that is no wonder if she chose such a precious fragrant gift for Jesus. 🙂

Visit other participating blogs for more chances to win. 😉

Australian Perfume Junkies

CoolCookStyle

Scents Memory

The Perfume Dandy

I breathed a gentle fragrance – April Aromatics

By Asali

We all know the feeling; so much to do, so much we want to do, and yet there seems to be not enough hours in the day, days in the week etc, to do all that. I was actually in the privileged situation that Ines wanted me to write here on her blog, and it would have been a very suitable time to ‘help out’, since she’s busy with her thesis. But I just couldn’t find the space, neither in my diary nor in my head to write something, and that, although I wasn’t short of things that I wanted to write.

One of the things that I have wanted to write about, are the perfumes of April Aromatics. However, I got a bit carried away with one of them. So, I’ll save the others for another time.

April Aromatics are organic perfumes from Berlin based perfumer Tanja Bochnig. I first read about Tanja’s perfumes at another blog, where all her fragrances were listed with a mini review of each. One particularly seemed to be calling my name, not as usual because of the description or the notes as such, but the name; it was called ‘Unter den Linden’. This name associated so many stories for me that, wanting to refer to some of them now, I hardly know where to start, or how to explain the deep strings it tucks at with me.

First of all, the famous Boulevard in Berlin, the place where for the last three and a half centuries Berliners and visitors alike have been taking their Sunday strolls. It’s also the calling name for the famous old Statsoper Berlin, also called Staatsoper Unter den Linden (as opposed to the (former)West- Berlin opera called Deutsche Oper Berlin), in short Unter den Linden.  Any musician talking about Unter den Linden will be referring to this historic house. Then there are the numerous poetic references to lime tree in the German literature as being the tree of love. From Walter von der Vogelweide’s (1170-1230) ‘Unter den Linden’ to the Romantic poetry, the lime tree becomes the symbol of love and harmony, the place where lovers meet, below the lime trees. Perhaps most famous of all is Müller’s poem from Schubert’s Winterreise ‘Der Lindenbaum’ or ‘Am Brunnen von dem Tore’ as it’s called when sung as a simple strophic version of Schubert’s more complicated artsong. My own favourite song of lime trees is Mahler’s interpretation of a Rückert poem ‘Ich atmet’ einen linden duft’ (I breathed a gentle fragrance), where Rückert plays with the different meanings of the word Linde in German to make it respectively; the twig of lime blossoms, gentle, soothing or with ease. It is also under the lime tree that the thwarted lover seeks and finds eternal peace (as in ‘Am Brunnen…’, or another Mahler song ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’).  So there is also sadness in this idyll. You probably see where this is going…

UdL has a lovely fresh citrusy opening, like the first linden blossoms still light and gentle. As the fragrance warms on the skin, you feel other blossoms coming out to play, here I especially smell a rounded mimosa; but like with the bergamot in the beginning, it feels like they are there to add to the true nature of the linden scent, rather than wanting to take over from it. There is never any of that heavy summer drunkenness of the lime, it’s the early excitement of the first curious flowers all dewy fresh in their loveliness, and only slightly sweet. Now and again I feel as if a tiny bit of twig found its way into the perfume as well, as if in homeopathic style the flowers would still remember the tree which they grew from. The fragrance shimmers as if you were walking underneath the lime trees, the sun shining through the heart-shaped leaves, between lightness and sweetness, playfulness and reflection.

Unter den Linden manages to be calm yet uplifting, and joyous yet melancholic. It’s an adorably beautiful Linden Duft, and just perfect these days as we long for warmer and gentler weather.

“Unter den Linden” spoke to me from the first moment, the name alone, I wanted a perfume with that name, and it was everything I hoped for and more too, and I’m delighted that it found me. That’s one happy linden-love story.

Notes for Unter den Linden from Tanja’s webpage; Linden blossom, Mimosa, Honey, Bergamot and Gardenia (and confirmed no twigs in thereJ) and can be purchased at

http://www.aprilaromatics.com/

As a little aside UdL has just been nominated for a Prix de Parfum Artistique.

Sniffing Paris (sans Ines )

By Asali

While Ines is still very preoccupied with her thesis, I’ll sneak in my Paris part two.  

Experience had taught me that deciding one perfume-buy from home, might me a good idea, as to not get perfume- purchase – stress –syndrome, or serious snuffusion, if I wouldn’t be able to choose from the spoils once there.

 My trip to the Mothership (as baptized by Tara) at 68 Champs Elyssées, was therefore obligatory since my home choice was going to be bought here. It was Cuir Beluga, which stems from the Guerlain L’Art et la Matiere line, and is the fragrant equivalent of wrapping up in a decadent finely woven cashmere shawl. While at the store many other things had to be tested, and had I not been a bit stingy with my available skin space, I’d probably have poured Vol de Nuit Extrait all over myself, as it was, I put some on the right wrist, the right hand being most likely to waft the most fragrance.  Give me a moment to gush to myself… Anyway, apart from Vol de Nuit, I enjoyed sniffing the Les Voyages Olfactifs and had thought that the Christmassy Paris- New York would win me over, but in fact Paris- London was the one that really got me with its grassy and rhubarb notes and a soft woody, vetiver, vanilla dry down (full impressions read here ).
It is a great fragrance when spring lurks, and you try hastening its arrival with an uplifting and delightful perfume.  (I read in the tea leaves of my 5 o’clock cuppa a bottle in the future…) In the end, I was surprised when I reached out to try Le Cologne du Parfumeur, not expecting anything, and loved it from the first sniff.  My non-perfumista friend exclaimed “it radiates”, which is true, it does, a mellow wonderful shine. And even though I normally have problems with discreet transparent fragrances, this one has great longevity and projection for an EdC, and a comforting resinous dry down.

Some nose rest included amongst other things the incredibly beautiful Sante Chapelle.

I have found that of the department stores, I prefer Printemps for perfume shopping; the selection is huge, and the staff overall friendly and knowledgeable. I went there to see if I could get to test the new Lubin EdP version of Idole. I love the original Idole spice fest, and thought what I really wanted was a less fleeting more fixated Idole, but now I am not so sure, maybe the charm of Idole is partly in its volatility. It remains to be sniffed, my sample is still waiting to be tried, I did see that the EdP version has already received rave reviews  here  and here .

The stand which has the Nez a Nez and So Oud amongst others has to be singled out for it’s wonderful SAs. I have on both occasions been helped by a young man (that just made me sound ancient:-/) who, apart from being very pleasant, is also very knowledgeable and clearly loves perfume, and not just the ones from his own brands, the kind of person that makes you feel that you’re his new best friend. He has great ideas for trying new stuff, and so I got away with Marron Chic, which I had not given much thought when I first tried it some time ago, but which now seems like the Christmas/winter party scent. It’s sensuous yet discreet, and yummy without being overly gourmand, all in all just very festive. (It has been on a test drive to the opera with some success, I should add as an afterthought) Definitely my winter hit-hot fragrance.

(Seen at the local Super Market and I simply had to shared it, since a certain fragrance of the same name, now sadly DC, is among my most beloved)

At the Armani Prive stand I was surprised to see a new addition to the Arabian Night line; Cuir Noir.  I hadn’t heard of the release yet, so was of course very excited by this find. Especially since I do find some of these perfumes to be quite extraordinary, I love Bois D’Encens for example. It turned out it was an exclusive release for Printemps at this stage, which will reach broader release in the next month or so.
Unfortunately, there was only the back of my left hand free to spray and there were no samples available, however, what I sniffed I simply adored. Apparently the noir is as in vanilla pods and tobacco, from what I could smell from under the olfactory overload I had suffered; I should say that the cuir was more a soft suede leather as in Cuir Beluga, rather than the spiky Marlboro Man type. Apparently it contained oud too, but I am happy that this particular note really didn’t stick out much on my skin, but was seamlessly blended into the very cozy fragrance. I liked Cuir Noir very much, on the downside is the price of 250€ on the plus is that they will actually carry it at the department store here, so I shall be able to sniff it again as soon as it comes on general release.

I am nearly at the end with talking of my sniffing escapades, but I have still to mention Jovoy– I am very sad that I didn’t get to take Ines there, since this really is a most wonderful boutique, that comes with the highest recommendations possible. The staff as well as the owner are super friendly and welcoming, helpful if you need it, but also happy to let you just sniff on your own for ages, and their selection beautifully picked with a broad palette of classic and more contemporary as well as labels from several countries are at display.
Normally, they will do you samples of the fragrances you want to test, but they had just run out of vials when I visited, this did not lessen the joy of being there. Especially since the owner François Hénin ended up endowing my friend with Parfum D’Empire samples. Personally, I discovered a, to me unfamiliar line called Romea D’Ameor (the perfumer behind those is none other than Pierre Bourdon ) , got to sniff the 3 new HdP, learned that I really like the Rance and the Atelier Flou lines and I got to revisit old suspects like Amouage, MDCI and Vero Profumo. Also, I should give mention to their own range of Jovoy perfumes with several new additions amongst other a very special incense-fragrance in La Liturgie des Heures. But since I kept ah-ing at all the decidedly male fragrances I was aware my nose was probably no longer to be completely trusted, and since this was my last day in Paris I had to leave without buying. I do have a pretty good idea of what needs my further attention though, and they do ship too. If you are visiting Paris, Jovoy is a must, until then, their homepage is the place to go.

Thanks for reading  and au revoir !

Peach and Love – a guest post

Dear readers, I am very proud to present my first ever guest poster. 🙂

Asali is a friend I’ve been given by our lovely perfume community. I’m really happy she commented on my blog and from the on, we’ve been sharing thoughts on perfume and perfumes themselves, sending emails and packages galore. 🙂
And now I am happy to say she agreed to write a post for my blog.
(I do hope to get her to write some more as I love her thoughts on perfumes, maybe even get her to start a blog of her own, but I’ll temper my exuberance for now). 🙂

So, here it is.

Peach and love,

I am really honored that the wonderful Ines, will share the space of her redheaded blog with me. Not that I am surprised that she wants to share, since she must be one of the most generous perfumistas in the blogosphere as I am sure that most of you will readily agree on. She taught me before anyone that perfume love goes around.

Talking of love, I have for some time now been smitten with peach. I feel that peach done well is a treat which tends to give an aura of luxury to the fragrance and its wearer. My peach love started with a decant of vintage Rochas Femme, and after that, peach has sought me out everywhere I went.

On my recent trip to Paris it came to me in the shape of Fath de Fath. Jacques Fath launched the original back in 1953, but it has since been updated twice, most recently in 2010 and turned into a sumptuous oriental by Mark Buxton.

So why would I want to write about an oriental in July? Well, first of all I can always wear/buy/write of/think of /sleep in/etc orientals, second, June has been terrible here, cold and rainy, so comfort scents have been called for. And third, if ever there was an oriental to go well on (cooler) summer days this one might be it, with the layers of ripe fruits, like those that surround us at this time of year.

The bergamot and a little green start out, but wink and you’ll miss it and a mixture of fruit notes bloom before settling with plum and peach. Those two are delicate and at this stage the perfume almost goes gourmand, although never so gourmand I want a bite of my arm. I feel that the tartness of the fruits really is singing a duet with the resins and the amber making me unable to detect where the fruit stops and the amber begins. Later in the heart of the scent, there is the orange flower which is perhaps the easiest detectable, but all the way down to the fragrance’s last ambery chords, you keep getting whiffs of flowers; heliotrope, and hmm, was that perhaps some jasmine? The dry-down is an oriental proper, amber and vanilla, and it lasts 6-8 comforting lovely hours. It’s a beautiful fragrance which takes you on a journey- and it also holds your hand all the way.

For this golden, lush oriental, really the price is a steel 58euros for 50ml, and should it become true love for you, you can get 100ml of extrait for 98euro! Get it amongst other places at http://www.parfumsjovoy.com/

Top notes: Black Currant, Peach, Tangerine, Plum, Bergamot, Green Notes
Heart notes: Jasmin, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Heliotrope, Tuberose, Orange Blossom
Base notes: Patchouly, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Benzoin, Ambergris, Musk, Tonka Bean

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