The Day is Done
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Perfume is a fantasy. A good perfume is longing, bottled. A longing for things just outside our grasp, memories, and half-formed ideas about places and situations we might never experience again except in their olfactory form. Poetry can be the same. The right combination of words opens a hidden door in our hearts releasing a bottled emotion, taking us there.
If you're familiar with the work of perfumer Alexis Karl you know that poetry is never far from her fragrances. Neither is longing, which goes well with the dark themes of her other artwork (painting, music). But her latest creation, a limited-edition perfume that is only available by request (more on that later) takes the concept even further. The idea behind Poetry of Longing was a prompt by perfumer/writer Monica Miller to create a chocolate perfume. Of course, Alexis has worked with chocolate notes before in her Body Made Luminous (review coming soon, now that a new batch is available), as well as in Dev from the Devilscent project. But Longing is very different from them.
While The Poetry of Longing shares a gourmand idea with Body Made Luminous, but if the latter is a dark dark chocolate that hits a very specific spot, Longing is softer and somehow creamier. The chestnut note takes you almost to Nutella territory, only better, richer, and even more satisfying. It's the thing you crave in the middle of a sleepless night where nothing in the pantry touches your inexplicable hunger. Because you're not just hungry for food; you want a plusher bedroom, a more romantic view out of your suburban window, a more glamorous nightshirt... You want and want and want.
The Poetry of Longing takes you out of the kitchen and into a dark corner in the living room, where you settle with a soft blanket that smells faintly of the French sachets you put inside the ottoman where you store a blanket or two for such nights. The cat is ready to settle at your feet the second you find the right position that allows you an easy reach for the chocolate truffles and the stack of old books on the side table. You read a few lines here and there. A favorite poem, the first few lines from a novel you almost know by heart ("It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."), which leads you to the next one, but as the printed lines blur before your eyes, you think of Mr. Darcy (or is it Colin Firth? or Benedict Cumberbatch? or any of those English gentlemen who make your heart race?).
The Poetry of Longing becomes quite animalic and sweet with its composition of rich amber and dry ambergris. It performs some acrobatics on skin, like wild creatures born out of that semi-awake fantasy. It's fascinating to follow the development of the perfume from thick chocolate ganache to a dark and twisted carnival. It makes you see things, dream things, plunge head first into the mysterious rabbit hole where who knows who and what awaits you.
(A stiff neck by morning, from falling asleep with a book and a cat in that chair, but what a trip it was!)
Notes: Chocolate Absolute, Ambergris, Muguet, Black Agar, Smoke, Chestnut, Fossilized Amber
Scent by Alexis- The Poetry of Longing is hand blended in very small batches. It comes in a gorgeous gilded bottle (see photo in Monica's post), and can be bought only if you contact Alexis Karl by email: [email protected]. She'll tell you the rest of the story.
Art: Autumn by Arthur Hacker, 1907