Monday, December 04, 2006

Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe

Although I'm not Catholic, I did go to Catholic school for part of junior high and all of high school. When I went to church as a child with my family, it was always to a Catholic church (where you could see Father Terry's bell-bottom jeans underneath his was the 70s). As an adult, I didn't stray far, choosing to join the Episcopal church; I went "Catholic lite": fewer sacraments, more fun! Frankly, I don't go to church at all anymore, but if an occasion calls for me to do so, I still prefer a good Mass to anything else.

It's funny to watch someone who's never been to mass before struggle to determine when to sit, kneel, or stand, or when to respond to the priest. To me it's such a necessary part of going to the thing called church. Keep your rock-and-roll arenas with your giant screen televisions and your wall-to-wall indoor/outdoor carpeting and your little cups of grape juice; give me stained glass and candles and real wine and incense. Ah, incense! Why shouldn't all senses be involved in religious experience? Who wants to attend a church that smells like Glade Plug-Ins?

Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe, with notes of cinnamon, coriander, samovar tea, Orthodox church incense, amber, and leather, makes me think of the richness of experience involved in a Mass, with all its rituals and incantations (yes, yes, it says "Orthodox" incense, and the Western Catholic church and the Orthodix church are quite different). It's warm and golden, it's sun streaming through the multi-colored representations of the stations of the cross, it's a marble altar, it's candles burning for friends and families, for their hopes and dreams, for their sadness and despair.

Such warmth and depth reminds me again why scent matters. The fact that smell can trigger a memory that a dozen photographs could not recall speaks to the importance of scent in our daily lives. If you are like me, you read descriptions and reviews of perfumes and don't think simply of how something smells, but rather, what the experience would be to smell it. How could a perfume transform your life? Don't laugh...I believe for many people, it has the power to do so, perhaps not always on a conscious level, but all the same.

Ahem. Sorry for the sermon. Ambre Russe is one of the prettiest amber scents I've tried. It's rather pungent, heavier on the coriander and tea than the cinnamon. The spice has an earthy depth to it, and the leather is subtle. If you like amber fragrances--I guess you can tell I do--this one's a must-have.

*photo from Aedes