You're probably wondering if I've died. I have not. I was, however, sick again. While I managed to soldier through work, a head cold prevented me from smelling anything for two whole weeks. Seriously. Of the ten weeks of 2013, I have been sick for four of them.
This is not a trend I enjoy, reader.
|Birthday spot, unfiltered. |
Seriously. It looks just like this...
But enough about my complete lack of health, I can breath again! And while I couldn't breath, here's what I did: I saw Beautiful Creatures and liked it (though it was too short, it was true to the spirit of the books, which I appreciated). I read books and bought more books. I drank a lot of tea. I ate my fair share and then a little bit more of my annual allotment of Girl Scout cookies. I went out to the Gorge for a weekend with David. I had a deep emotional reaction to the announcement that I finally get a Veronica Mars movie. FN2.
I turned thirty-five.
Yeah. It's weird. I thought my life would be very different at thirty-five. One thing is for sure: my day-to-day is pretty much nothing like my parents or any other woman in the history of my family. I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I like the choices I've made to have an education and career. On the other hand, there are things that I expected to happen in my life (namely children) that have not happened and may never happen. And on the gripping hand, this whole “must create my own path because there are no familial role models and on early childhood ingrained ideas for whether or not my choices are good and/or sensible” thing is...challenging. It forces me to stumble across the uneven ground of the path less taken; it's tough, but I keep going.
Speaking of challenging, I have an interesting perfume challenge to review today. Esscentual Alchemy Hokkabaz. The scent is supposed to be a recreation of the long lost Guerlain scent Djedi, created by Jacques Guerlain in 1926. According to perfumer Amanda Feeley,
[Djedi] was created when the world was enchanted by all things Egyptian. Djedi, as the story goes, was a magician - a conjurer - who claimed he could raise people from the dead, even those who had been beheaded! Djedi means – “He who endures.”Polished metal, well-worn leather, the coppery smell of blood – is it possible that Amanda was thinking Egypt, but reached a little further back and landed right in the middle of the Homer's The Iliad?
As two men, measuring-rods in hand, quarrel about their boundaries in a field that they own in common, and stickle for their rights though they be but in a mere strip, even so did the battlements now serve as a bone of contention, and they beat one another's round shields for their possession. Many a man's body was wounded with the pitiless bronze, as he turned round and bared his back to the foe, and many were struck clean through their shields; the wall and battlements were everywhere deluged with the blood alike of Trojans and of Achaeans...
They flew forth like the blasts of some fierce wind that strike earth in the van of a thunderstorm- they buffet the salt sea into an uproar; many and mighty are the great waves that come crashing in one after the other upon the shore with their arching heads all crested with foam- even so did rank behind rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming armour follow their leaders onward...
With these words he led the way and the others followed after with a cry that rent the air, while the host shouted behind them. The Argives on their part raised a shout likewise, nor did they forget their prowess, but stood firm against the onslaught of the Trojan chieftains, and the cry from both the hosts rose up to heaven and to the brightness of Jove's presence...It is weird that this is what I think of when I smell Hokkabaz? Dust and dirty, leather sandals, the clang of sword on shield, and the air perfumed with blood? And maybe, in the distance, flowers in bloom?
The notes say I'm right. “Rose, vetiver, oakmoss, leather accord, civet, patchouli, antique mysore sandalwood, clove, vanilla, orris, calamus, embalming spices accord.” How strange, isn't it? How we can find one historical moment in another?
Now that I've marveled a history and poetry, let's get on to the real question: Is it wearable? Yes. Very. I think it is strangely sexy, this warlike perfume. It feels visceral, inevitable, immutable, and enduring. With moderate tangy silage and good longevity on the skin, it walks a fine line between a metallic tang on the tongue and a spicy rose in the nose so it is neither sweet nor unsweetened, lightly floral but not at all flowery. Iconic. I feels, in a word, iconic.
For a perfume that is supposedly long gone, this modern rendition feels very old, indeed. Hokkabaz isn't a scent for everyone, but I like it better that way. You're going to need to embrace the idea that perfume doesn't smell like food or flowers for this one. But if you do, I think you might find something really impressive.
FN1. Seriously. IRL, if you are deathly pale and live in the PNW, you don't sparkle. You glow with the deathly blue of your veins clearly visible through your translucent skin and become very vitamin D deficient; you don't sparkle.
FN2. This gif was pretty much my reaction to the Veronica Mars movie news in a nutshell.
In the interests of full disclosure, this sample was provided by the perfumer.