Making Sense of Scents

Archive for the ‘Fragrances’ Category

Bird Brain

 It is said that during mass migrations birds rely on three senses. Firstly, they hold a mental map of the terrain from a high vantage point, and thus can visually guide themselves on.

 Secondly, a sixth sense seems to use the earth’s magnetic field, or rather the fluctuations in it, to keep a sense of location during flight.

 Thirdly, birds have been proven to associate certain smells with their home region. Aromas drifting for miles high up at the level of bird flight can be detected by these creatures. The identification of the scent- it could be of the sea-coast, or of an industrial landscape, and a judgement of the prevailing wind direction, can help the bird home in on home.

Bastille Day tomorrow!

Bastille Day fragrances presentations

What do:

(1) Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean Baptiste Grenouille ,The Bastille, Jean- Louis  Fargeon , Marie Antoinette, Lubin, Antoine Lavoisier, Madame Tussaud, Executioner Jean Baptiste Sanson, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, ……

.(2) …Charles Baudelaire, Eugene Rimmel, Septimus Piesse, General Jaqueminot, RMS Titanic, Jean Lafitte, Marie Celeste, Bonny Blue, Queen Elizabeth II and the 20th century Top Twenty best fine fragrances ever all have in common?

ANSWER

They are all  intriguingly linked , and they all feature in Aromancer David Pybus’ highly visual and entertaining presentation on French perfume as a scented Gallic tribute to Bastille day.

Two different  stimulating and sensual talks  (as above)

July 14, 2012           2.00 – 3.00 pm and 3.15- 4.15 pm

Roxy  Bar and Screen 128-132 Borough High Street SE1

(near Sainsburys) FREE ENTRY

Use it or lose it!

The sense of smell is of the highest importance to the greater number of mammals ‑ to … the ruminants, in warning them of danger; to the carnivora, in finding that prey … but the sense of smell is of extremely slight service, if any, to men …he inherits the power in an enfeebled and so far rudimentary condition, from some early progenitor, to whom it was highly serviceable, and by whom it was continually used.

     Descent of Man

          Charles Darwin (1809 ‑ 1882)

Use it or lose it!

Brilliant Savarin- a matter of Taste

A matter of taste

1.                The Universe is nothing without life, and all   that lives takes nourishment.

 

  1. 2.  Beasts feed, man eats: the man of intellect knows how to eat.

 

  1. 3.  The fate of nations hangs upon their choice of food.

 

  1. 4.  Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are

 

  1. 5.  The Creator, who made man such that he must eat to live, causes him to eat by means of         appetite, and, for a reward gives him the pleasure in eating.

 

  1. 6.  Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we give preference to things which are agreeable    to our     taste over those which have not that quality

 

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

The Physiology of Taste

1825

Xanadu

Love the idea…but there are not many incense bearing  trees in China …frankincense and myrrh come from mainly around the Horn of Africa- Somalia, Ethiopia, Dhofar….not a sign of ’em in ancient Beijing:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure- dome decree

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea,

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

 And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

 Where blossom’d many an incense-bearing tree:

 And here were forests ancient as the hills,

 Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Kubla Khan

0r, a vision in a dream

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Xanadu- did a fabulous city need to be walled? Was it to keep dreams in or barbarians out?

I’m incensed!

In Japan they use around two dozen raw materials to make good incense. The key ingredients are:

Cedar

Labdanum

Frankincense

Clove

Sandalwood

Spikenard

Jinko

Star Anise

Hinoki

Copal

Aloeswood (also called Eagle wood or Jinko)

Depending on the mix incense can either energise you or relax you (As in transcendental meditation.) It’s a mind- altering drug that just happens to be legal!

Alchemists sought the elixir of youth. The quintessence, the essential vital life force of nature that he could absorb into his very being to assume divine status.

  It was said to be composed of the four elements earth, fire, air and water. Plants and trees have their roots in the Earth, where they draw up Water and nutrients. Their stems seek the Air, and their blooms the Fire of our Sun for photosynthethis. The nature’s factory then sets to work to create marvellous biochemical exotica within the plant – essential oils. It is this soul of the plants that we capture, nurture and use in the appreciation of perfumes.

Mind altering drug

Holy Smoke II

The Holy Bible is full of animal sacrifice. (Indeed some religions still practice the ritual slaughter of animals )

We did this when we became more”civilised,”  replacing human sacrifice with animal life (although in some cases, as with the Wicker Man of the Druids, both species were consigned to the flames!)

When we became even more civilised we replaced animal life with plant life. Good incense (such as that from Baiedo Japan) is made purely from natural flora (roots, saps, balsams, woods…).

Sacrifice!