All Hallow’s Eve.
Four hundred feet tall the hall and twice as long again.
A human being hoard gathers beneath hammer beam ceiling to celebrate the old day’s death and the coming of the dawn bringing with it the return of holy souls.
At the upper table sit the twelve on their dais.
Joined only by England’s fairest rose. A rose queen fit for Camelot’s King.
Their leather layered armour lined with fur is laid aside for revelry and love’s sake. No swords raised so recently in religious anger to shed infidel blood will be unsheathed tonight.
Beyond their bethroned and handsome huddle the ugly crowd, craws and cranes to catch sight of the delights and delicacies their semi-deities dine on.
Here tankards of mead, that is honey wine, wash down plates of oriental sweetmeats: preserved peaches, clove pickled oranges and lemons from the heal of Italy.
The throng contemplates such meal time majesty as among them their beasts mingle with their own offspring. The cattle, the oxen, the sheep even. Their fur, their fleas, their faeces.
The whole hall is unwashed in animal grandeur.
Yet she, Guinevere, England’s flower shines out as if from on higher still.
Her peerless note of manicured and manured rose cutting through the woodmoke, the wooden beams, the mosses of the woods just waiting to burn.
Then the gigantic green unbidden figure appears.
Unarmoured in his enormity. Unarmed save for a extraordinary axe and an holy bow in other hand.
He booms: ‘Who will accept my challenge?‘
Rats flee, sheep scatter, men cower and children scream.
The Queen alone remains resolute.
One man steps forward.
So the journey begins.
Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit is a perfume of the darkest, starless night, almost sacrilegious in its animalistic sexual intensity.
It is a fragrance both feral and fecal, given mediaeval epic length and grandeur by a structure of heavy moss-frosted wooden lintels.
And yet, at it’s heart there is a powerful rose. Which, at first appearing innocent, is too revealed to be both knowing and corruptible.
This is a scent of labour and war like aggression taken from the brink of actual violence by the be-stilling force of a floral feminine aspect.
Sadly lost to us for now, out of print and unregarded. As long as original manuscripts exist its mythic status can only grow.
So that tiresome modern question? Male or female?
I suggest you go read your sagas for the Witch and the Knight play equal parts in this story and should in this scent too.
The Perfumed Dandy.