Tag Archives: All Saints Day

Orange ever after… Tilda Swinton Like This… by Etat Libre d’Orange The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

From All Saints’ Day onward for about a week or maybe two, through All Souls’ Day and Bonfire Night, he keeps up a steady round of collecting.

At first people are unwilling to give up their gourdes.

Either they have invested too much effort in carving their gruesome, welcoming faces or they promise themselves that they will roast the seeds and scoop out the flesh for purees and pies.

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They never do.

And so as November wears on, after a second or third time of asking, neighbours and strangers are more prepared to surrender their squashes.

It could of course have been that they think him somewhat strange in his frugal requests and want to forbid his return by acquiescing to let him have their discarded fruits.

Certainly he cuts a figure odd enough to engender fear: rangy in unkempt, well cut antique tweeds, flowing cream collarless shirts with double cuffs never fastened at the end of simian arms.

A single rose in his untidy, unwinding buttonhole.

Upon his head a moss green bowler hat that can’t ever hope to keep control of the extravagant red hair exploding forth in natural ringlets.

Maybe some of them have seen the ritual he performs once his harvest is gathered in.

In his back garden a pile of pumpkin shells a man or so high stands, and when he is satisfied that no more will come his way he begins his mellow fruited mass.

First, a strengthening soup, made from orange juice and the soft insides stewed with ginger and spice, served with heavy bread topped with the toasted seeds.

Then he withdraws his instrument from its ancient wooden case.

A croquet mallet, hip high in height, rendered in light wood, sunset velvet wrapped around the shaft to form a grip.

He swings the hammer high above his head taking on a golfer’s gait.

With a sound like sirens hissing it stirs a great arc in the sky before landing a blow upon an unsuspecting orange sphere.

The smashing of the pumpkins has begun.

And in the next hour or so, as short Autumn dusk becomes night, lit by the flames of the hundreds of candles he has set about his makeshift altar, he will reign down a shower of coups upon the crop.

Until, at last, all is reduced to a great wet rubble that he covers in already rotting leaves and old bouquets of immortelles, the daisies the English call ‘everlasting’.

Pungent of spiced pumpkin and with something of decaying flowers about it Etat Libre d’Orange’s Tilda Swinton Like This is a sickening, almost sublime anti-gourmand scent.

It is a sweet but rather uneasy, certainly not mellow, impression of the after-harvest.

Individual notes are discernable, most especially pumpkin, immortelle daisies and ginger, with an abiding tangerine note that is too sedate to be truly citrus.

But it is the general accord, the olfactory equivalent of the colour ‘burnt orange’, the shade the leaves of certain trees turn before they fall, that remains in the senses longest.

The perfume’s chief achievement is the marrying of these very specific and realistic tones and an architecture which is as abstract as it is linear.

Yet for all that it is an undoubtedly accomplished piece of work, it seems distant, strange and strangely unfulfilling being neither a satisfactory scent of the happy harvest nor a fragrance that captures the inherent sadness of the fall.

It is something in between.

Neither red nor yellow.

It’s a very odd and orange sort of thing.

Being in between I suppose it could be classed as unisex, so a man or woman could wear it with ease. But not The Dandy.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Dark night, Green Knight… La Nuit by Paco Rabanne The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

All Hallow’s Eve.

Darkness.

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.

‘I will’.

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.

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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.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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