Jan 22, 2008

the black phoenix alchemy lab

having just gone to bourbon and branch, i'm suffering from a massive over-inclination to appreciate commercial endeavours that depend on unrealistic levels of connoisseurship for success. the black phoenix alchemy lab, whose carceri fragrance i discovered while searching google for the producers of yo-yo ma's sound of the carceri, turns out to have numerous scent categories celebrating, among a host of things,

  • characters from neil gaiman's latest books and good omens. agnes nutter's fragrance (she was burnt at the stake) is composed of gunpowder, charred wood, smoke, and rusty nails.
  • shades of dream, including one named oneiroi, "Created to invoke the ancient Greek deities of dreams. On the shores of the ocean, somewhere in the West, they dwell behind their gates of horn and ivory."*
possibly the best description of all is the scent called burial: "deep, brooding forest scents, including juniper and patchouli. The scent of upturned cemetery loam mingling with floral offerings to the dead." aha.

the relentlessly consistent, victorian, i'm-channeling-aubrey-beardsley aesthetic was somewhat punctured (but only slightly) by my discovery of the BPAL trading post, the habiliments department of which sells yoga pants.

* yes, yes, minz points out that the real horn/ivory reference is from the aeneid, but the fagles translation of the bit in the odyssey is much, much better:
"Two gates there are for our evanescent dreams,
one is made of ivory, the other made of horn.
Those that pass through the ivory cleanly carved
are will-o'-the-wisps, their message bears no fruit,
The dreams that pass through the gates of polished horn
are fraught with truth, for the dreamer who can see them."

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