After those really freakish warm days we are back in Spring weather – Spring in the Midwest often carries with it this crackly-skritchy feeling, like you can’t be sure if you should go out without gloves and a hot shower sounds soooo good – but it’s not really cold. The ground is skritchy, too, with Nature doing her best to grow things – even if it’s only weeds (you can tell I’ve been in the garden a few days, doing Hard Labor). And I kind of like the skritchiness of it – Spring is about birth/rebirth – but it’s also about the unsentimentality of Nature; every year I bury baby rabbits, left by their mother in some shallow nest that ends up being their grave. I plant seeds, they burst onto the scene, robust and green…and collapse from stress or root rot. Spring is a rough row to hoe. And before I can appreciate the rebirth I have to pay homage to its flip side. So I pulled out three of the grave, Grave-ish scents in my collection for a crypt-by-crypt experiment. The Three: Underworld (extrait) by Liz Zorn; Onda (edp) by Vero Kern…..and the Great White Shark of Dark, Djedi by Guerlain (reissue). They are in order of how I see them in relation to the journey through the beginning of the season.
Let’s start with Underworld. I always think of Underworld as Charon, the Ferryman and the lonely Moon of Pluto. Beautiful in name and in scent, it’s the gateway to the darker aspects of Spring. I couldn’t dare wear Underworld in any other season – and there has to be that slight nip in the air for me to feel ‘right’ in applying it. There’s a melancholy beauty and just a hint of…dare I say it? …dread..in Underworld. But there’s also a hint of excitement in the journey, as you step aboard the raft. Liz Zorn is known for the beautiful namings of her creations -and this is perfectly named. This is best worn on a nippy Spring day, when you want to wallow in the What Has Not Yet Come to Pass part of the season. Lots of wet muck and leaves woven in and out of the Zornish base. It’s a very contemplative scent – great for spending the afternoon in a window seat, reading poetry.
Underworld extrait. Notes from the Soivohle website: an unusual pairing of vetivers from around the world, rich spice notes of cinnamon, ginger lily and clove, a touch of jasmine, roasted coffee, cocoa, rose leather and balsams, set into a light vanilla oud tincture.
We awaken. And we’re in the Tomb.
I’ve been wanting to try this for awhile but, frankly, I lacked the nerve. The original Onda scared the crap out of me – and the edp is no different, in its ability to induce fear. Lest you think that is a slam against the scent, think again – I actually LIKE that about Onda. It is one of the most terrifying, most compelling scents I’ve ever encountered. Here’s what happened: I put Onda edp on right before going to bed and I was really beat so my cognition, never all that tight to begin with, was really ravelly. So the Onda is on and I’m reading a few pages of Louise Penny’s The Cruellest Month” and I absentmindedly put my hand up to brush back my hair….my nose gets a whiff of Onda and (I am not making this up, I swear) I JUMP BACK – just a bit, but still…when was the last time you wore a fragrance that SCARED you? Onda carries me deep into some very dark places, forcing me to consider what lies beneath the black muck of Spring growth. I’m irreligious but Onda takes me back to Good Friday at St Dorothy, back when they shrouded all the statues with purple cloth, to mourn Jesus’s crucifixion. My insane cousin and his Dracula bride actually married on Good Friday – in a Catholic Church – and it was vaguely obscene, with the shrouds, the absence of flowers, the oily remnants of incense and the total focus on Total Loss. The sheer banality of this 10am wedding, her in a lemonade-stained secondhand gown and all of us trying to figure out why they’d chosen GOOD FRIDAY…? well, it still skeeves me in a way no horror film ever could. Onda is not skeevy – far from it – but it is scary. I can’t imagine my scent wardrobe without it!
Onda edp notes (from the Luckyscent site) Bergamot, citron, mandarin, ginger, coriander, basil, passion fruit, iris, ylang-ylang, honey, vetiver Bourbon, patchouli, musk, cedar wood (there. that doesn’t sound too scary, does it?)
Roll back the stone. Djedi is……well, there is nothing to compare to Djedi. I only have the reissue and for that, I’m grateful. Yes, grateful. I’m afraid if I got a taste of the original perfume my soul would stop stone dead. Djedi is the chiaroscuro between Death and Life. Persephone, Eurydice. The Plea. The Promise. If Only. Please. Djedi allows for your senses to come into the light whilst remaining in darkness. The beauty of Djedi is that light and dark are perfectly balanced, with no judgement. The lush sweetness of of the rose yearns to burst through but cannot bear to leave the gorgeous dryness of the vetiver. There is a reason this fragrance is such a legend. The tug between light and darkness has never been done as hauntingly perfect as in Djedi.
Notes for Djedi (edt reissue)
rose, vetiver, musk, oakmoss, leather, civet and patchouli
all scents are from my collection.