Andy Tauer has the best Holiday Tradition, the Advent Calendar Drawing. Each day of Advent, a different blog hosts the drawing. All you need to do is, of course, follow each blog hosting the drawing, enter on each one and cross your fingers. We are hosting the drawing today. To be entered, just make a comment to this post. We will announce the winner next Tuesday. The winner will be able to pick their prize from the Tauer Explorer Set, three 15 mls of Tauer fragrances. What a great prize!
As a special treat today, to get us all into the scented holiday spirit, Lauryn Beer has written this great guest post —
The violins are creaking scratchily, the woodwinds trill their scales. Gaslights in the mezzanine dim, soft crackles of silk… the squeak of wooden chairs being settled in the Grand Tier… delicate wafts of rice powdery Villoresi Teint de Neige from the ladies, a redolence of Havana cigars and brandy from their men… or it Tabac Blond? A camphorous whiff of brilliantine in the gallery. A velvety aura of dust settles in the air as the heavy red curtains are suddenly pulled back, and the maestro lifts his baton. Quick silence, like an intake of breath. The heat of a thousand bodies and ten thousand candles fills the auditorium as the footlights glow. Suddenly, children skitter laughing across the stage, a huge Christmas tree roundly at its center. Woodwinds whirl as the orchestra plunges into symphonic life.
It is 1892 in St. Petersburg at the Mariisnky Theatre, and the first performance of the Nutcracker has just begun.
Act I. Dreamy Clara, her small feet barely filling her white toe shoes, glides into view, a faint scent of pear juice and muguet, of DSH D’Anjou clinging to her party dress. The crystal sconces blaze, and across the polished wood floor the grown-ups quadrille. Children prance about the tree as Tauer L’eau d’Epices imbues the drawing room with the aromas of spiced punch, apples and candied fruits. The clock strikes nine, as the doors open wide to an odd bent figure, top-hatted, birch-caned: Count Drosselmayer, Clara’s godfather, enters, Cartier Treizieme Heure trailing smoke and strangeness from his woolen cape. He pulls from his shadowy cloak a bag of toys, giving one to each child. To Clara, he proffers a nutcracker, gleaming and upright, as if having just bowed to her. As Clara waltzes laughingly with her new toy, naughty Fritz knocks the nutcracker to the floor, where it shatters. Clara is in tears, but Drosselmayer waves his knotty hand over the shards of wood and it is mended.
Now, the candles are glowing stubs, the music is slowing. It is late, the party falters, and Clara, with a backward glance at her beloved nutcracker, drifts off to bed as snow begins to fall softly outside around the departing guests. A cottony blanket of angelica and hawthorn, Malle L’Eau en Hiver, swaddles the night.
Act II. Clara cannot sleep and returns as to the drawing room. A scuffling sound is heard and the strings in the pit pluck warningly. As the great grandfather clock strikes midnight, the eerie smell of Etro Messe de Minuit seeps through the floorboards, with its hints of crypts and dust and church bells. Then, a terrible rodent wearing a crown on each of its five heads suddenly appears: the Rat King! Clara cowers behind a chair as the Nutcracker and his army of tin soldiers spring to life and rats pour into the room. Bravely, the Nutcracker duels the Rat King. But he is flagging. When all seems lost, Clara gathers her courage and flings her shoe with all her might at the Rat King, and he falls, dead. She turns to see her Nutcracker transformed into the handsomest of princes. As she takes his hand, she catches a sensual waft of balsam and Russian leather, of Arquiste Alexandr on his arm.
Act III. The Prince leads Clara to a moonlit wood. Pines rustle. The frozen glamour of Le Labo Aldehyde 44 infuses the night air with musk and glittering aldehydes. Gentle snowflakes whirl and fly, inviting Clara to watch as they dance for her across a frosted pond. When the ballet ends, Clara is led by her prince to a waiting boat with gossamer sails scented with hyacinthine Patou Vacances. They travel to the Land of Sweets as a languid harp eases them on their way.
Act IV. Clara and her champion alight before the palace of the Sugar Plum fairy. The air is thick with the roasted sugar of Huitieme Art Sucre D’Ebene. The silvery Sugar Plum fairy glissades on to the stage to the bars of the celesta. Around her hair swirls a rich purple fragrance–Guerlain Parure parfum–as she pirouettes and arabesques. Her dance over, she waves her wand and denizens of her kingdom arrive to dance. First, to the brisk click of castanets, a blast of heat from Parfumerie General Coze brings the Spanish chocolates, darkly exotic with cocoa, patchouli and spiced with chilis. Then, as horns bleat mutedly and cymbals ting, the Arabian coffees , vaporourous with Ayala Morial Finjan, undulate, their honeyed perfume sensual with cardamom and tolu. Next come the Chinese teas, scented delicately with gunpowdery -apricot Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan, spinning to the chirrup of flutes. Russian candy canes leap exuberantly onto the stage, a blast of cedar and coriander as TDC de Bachmakov swirls wildly through the air. Then, a tang of rhubarb! Mother Gigogue, scattering children from under her enormous skirts, reels to a polka, as her offspring spray each other laughingly with CDG Play Red.
As they scuttle off, slowly all the blossoms of the forest assemble to perform a waltz, weaving and dipping in the breeze while French horns hum serenely, and the dense bouquet of vintage Patou 1000 parfum makes the fireflies drunk with scent. The Sugar Plum fairy and the Prince dance a final bourree. Clara joins them, and, as the dance ebbs, she is crowned Princess of the Land of Sweets , her royal mantle bearing the diamante florals of Dior Diorrissimo.
Act V. One by one, the flowers and candies drift away…the strings strum quietly. Clara is asleep by the Christmas tree in the drawing room, a tipped over bottle of CB I Hate Perfumes In the Library, with its vanillic smell of old paper, nearby. She opens her eyes drowsily and looks about. The fire in the stone grate is embers now, and the nutcracker is… just a nutcracker. She clutches her wooden paramour with a smile a little sad. She trails off to bed to continue dreaming.
An echo of Diorrissimo hangs in the air.