One Thousand Scents

Sunday, June 01, 2008

30 Demeters in 30 Days: Day 1, Myrrh

I have a bunch of Demeter fragrances. I won't even tell you how many: it's embarrassing. They have a lot going for them: they're inexpensive, just $5 US for a half-ounce bottle; there's a completely insane number of them, well over 200, so you're certain to find at least a dozen that you like; they're fun, not meant to be taken seriously at all. Even the fact that they're famously not very long-lasting can be considered a kind of plus: after enjoying one for an hour or so, you can put on a different one.

I've already reviewed some of their scents: Leather and This Is Not A Pipe, Honey, Caramel, and Black Pepper, Licorice, Gin & Tonic, Lilac, and Meyer Lemon, Blue Hawaiian, Dirt and Pink Lemonade, and Graham Cracker (in passing) and Gingerale. For the month of June, I'm going to try to write about 30 more, one a day (and I have more than enough to do it, too).

Demeter scents can be divided into four general categories: Food, Drink, Plants, and Things. I'm not quite sure which of the latter two categories Myrrh falls into; it's a plant resin, but it's burned as incense and used in perfumery.

Demeter's Myrrh is not pretty. I wrote about I Coloniali's Mirra & Mirra, which is myrrh lovelied up with vanilla and balsams, but the Demeter version has nothing to take away from its raw, earthy, slightly animalic crudity.

Here are some of the notes I took while I was relentlessly sniffing Myrrh over the course of a few days:

car exhaust? exhaust from a NEW car (vinyl upholstery)
mildew? sour old books. basement
birch tar, pine tar, campfire
licorice root: woody
ruined leather jacket
oil refinery! petrochemical
smells like dimenhydrinate tastes

This last thing means that Myrrh is indecently bitter (dimenhydrinate is sold as Gravol, and if you've ever accidentally tasted one, you know). You may rightly ask why anyone would want to smell like anything on that list, and the answer is that it's fascinating. It makes you think. It generates all kinds of associations. Myrrh isn't something you'd wear to appeal to someone; it's just about the epitome of the private perfume, the kind of thing you wear for yourself alone.



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