Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the Shadow

We watched the film Interview with the Vampire last night based on the 1976 best selling novel by Anne Rice. I had been hesitant in viewing this film, like most horror-like themed stories, it's just not my cup of tea. I prefer Earl Grey to blood. However, swayed by the prospect of gazing upon Brad Pitt, I conceded knowing that if I got too uncomfortable I'd retreat to the studio.



Indeed, the blood is a bit much, however the story of the archetypal hero battling his demons is always good food for the soul. The film is gorgeous cinematically, with exquisitely crafted scenes, glorious costumes and beautiful people. The underlying skeleton of a good story has been very well transcribed into a film by Neil Jordon. As mentioned, I haven't read the book or any of the authors works, despite numerous accolades from friends.

Carl Jung speaks of the embracing our shadow side, our unconscious, basic instincts which drive the animal aspect of our nature. At a gathering almost a year ago a dear and very wise friend mentioned that America may finally be embracing their shadow side. Well, we'll see about that. From the point of view of personal growth and empowerment I rather like the idea of it, yet wonder if it is possible. Perhaps this earthly manifestation is meant for the polarity of the struggle, as we see with the Brad Pitt character, Louis. The play of night and day, light and dark, male and female, birth and death may in fact be our constant. All we can do is take a deep breath and embrace it.

While taking that deep breath one might as well add a few essences into the field of inhalation that will assist self awareness. Valerie Ann Worwood, authoress of several aromatherapy books. In The Fragrant Mind, on she suggests the following essential oils for self awareness:

Clary Sage
Cypress
Pine
Ormenis flower (Maroc Chamomile)
Pimento Berry
Clove
Coriander
Sage
Myrtle
Ylang Ylang
Geranium
Sandalwood
Bay
Jasmine
Mandarin
Angelica Seed
Cistus

Now, as a perfumer, I look at this list and ponder if a botanical perfume could be made here. There are several avenues that present themselves, one of which would be a perfume in the fragrance family of leather. A leather fragrance would indeed be appropriate for a vampire, especially one like the nemesis in the story, Lestat. However, I'm more interested in the sensitive character of Louis. We will however build upon the dry, woody character of a leather fragrance. Let's begin by looking at potential base notes that we will build our structure upon. I'd begin with Sandalwood and Cistus, with Cypress as a fixative and Pine absolute. The fruity notes of the Pine absolute will work nicely with those of the Chamomile. The herbaceous aspect of the Chamomile then opens the terrain for Bay, Sage and Myrtle and Angelica Seed. I then would dip a scent strip into each of these essences and experience the aromas together to inhale the potential in this formula. From what I can "see" we would need to bring in more heart notes. The Jasmine, Ylang Ylang or Geranium probably would be a bit off in this schematic, those would work in a more sweet leather formula. Orange blossom or Rose might be a nice addition if you wanted to add florals to the heart note. Mandarin, Pimento Berry and Coriander could be nice accents for this rather woody, herbaceous melange for becoming more self aware with every breath we take.

I'm choosing Chaparral Solid as my scent of the day. The fragrance contains many of the notes mentioned above and I am feeling a strong attraction to it's dry, woody character.

Ah, and along the theme of death you may be interested in visiting the Corpse flower at the Huntington Library. It is about to bloom and offers up the decadent Scent of Death for your olfactory delights.

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