Making Sense of Scents

Archive for the ‘Incense’ Category

Moth Balls

One way of catching the pest Cydia molesta, the peach tree moth, is to use its pheromone chemical Acenol to attract the male to traps. Dienol traps the codling moth, whilst plum fruit moths can be attracted by Fenemol.

These moths have vast arrays of antennae, very similar to the banks of listening radars we have for alien messages.

The pheromone Bombykol which works for the bombyx mori moth, can be smelled by this insect at a distance of two miles.

A radar system like no other!

Scaling that up for humans, that is like your being able to smell your beloved in Boston whilst you are in New York!

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!

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?

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!

Holy Smoke!

The ancients believed that the only thing which could cross the physical barrier between Heaven and Earth was the smoke of incense. Indeed perfume takes its name from the Latin “per fumare” which means “through” or “by” smoke. If you prayed to your God, whatever his or her name, and you wanted your prayers to be answered favourably, it made sense to “sweeten” your request with the magical smokes of burning aromatics.
Here’s my take on that: (Oh! and by the way Onycha is crushed operculum (door) from a certain Mediterranean snail which helped “fix” the mix.  Still used in the Middle East.)

Exodus

The censer burns with charcoal bright,

As on its aromatic flight,

Incense to the heavens winds,

And with sweet words a promise binds.

Dark, smoky tongue that breezes waft,

A fragrant wisp that mounts the draft,

This messenger with breath divine,

That calls the Gods and makes them mine.

I cannot fail in love or war

As Myrrh on heated coals I pour,

And Frankincense to charge the mix,

With Galbanum the scent to fix.

Onycha crushed will make complete

My Mercury on wingéd feet,

Who stirs the Gods above the cloud

And passes on my prayer endowed.

Hear Ye! A mortal stands below,

My plea is made; it’s time to show

Pray manifest and succour me

Repay my sacrifice to thee.

Fire, fire burning bright

I really do miss the aromas that come from a good wood fire- and indeed the differences depending on the type of wood used and the state its in. Here’s my poetic take on this:

WOODSMOKE

In these days of pristine central heating

You can keep yourself as warm as toast

But there’s nothing to beat

A woodfire’s heat

And of fine smells they really can boast.

Juniper is the firewood of my choice

Mixed with apple and cherry tree too

A clean tang springs from birch

And for holly I’ll search

But old oak makes a shrine of the flue.