A spot from Firmenich Naturals on oud production in Bangladesh, with perfumer Hamid Merati-Kashani.
When the long hours Azzam Issa pulls at his family’s bakery begin to interfere with his day-job as a security guard at The Louvre things turn bizarre. Angelic creatures move from one painting to the next and statues speak to him in cryptic whispers…
Thus begins the description of the imaginary book that “inspired” this fragrance — a novel by imaginary author Farzan Al Essa that sounds like a captivating work of magical realism. Whispered Myths was created by Josh Meyer, the perfumer behind Imaginary Authors, with notes of oud, cantaloupe, cedar, muskdana (also known as ambrette), honey and “salvaged shipwreck.”
Although that list of notes might not normally appeal to me, I was so taken by this fragrance’s name, visuals and back-story that I wanted to try it regardless…
In Assam, reputed to be India’s agarwood capital , the adaptability of the critically endangered trees to oil-contaminated agricultural plots and its proliferation in home gardens, have raised hopes of conserving the embattled species, amid the absence of a policy to support agar cultivation and industry.
“Growth and adaptation of agar plants in polluted sites means this species has a capacity to tolerate the metallic and hydrocarbon pollution. So, plantation of agarwood in polluted sites is a profitable business for both conservation and restoration of degraded soil,” Hemen Sarma of the department of botany at N N Saikia College, Titabar, Assam, told Mongabay-India.
— Read more at Home gardens and polluted fields are helping conserve this perfume source at Mongabay.
Having an appetite for beauty but a limited budget has led me to think a lot about luxury. Vogue magazine is happy to show me spreads of thousand-dollar dresses on models reclining on sofas in fancy resorts and pronounce this as luxury. Yes, taste is individual. But it seems luxury is pretty well defined, if you believe the marketing. All you have to do is go to Barneys and proffer a credit card, and luxury is yours.
I refuse to believe that luxury has to be expensive. For instance, with clothing, it’s not unusual that a five-dollar vintage pencil skirt has six darts on both the front and back, recognizing that a woman is three-dimensional. You’d be hard-pressed to find such craftsmanship today, even in the off-the-rack Chanel. A beautifully poached, pasture-raised hen’s egg bursts with luxury (and is something I bet most Gucci evening dress owners rarely experience). Tea in a vintage Japanese ceramic tea cup culled from Goodwill is luxury, too…
In Europe, we have lost the idea of such notes in perfumery, and it is so sad because it is something so precious and delicate and sensual. I was very surprised and happy that there is still a region of the world where people like such notes. For me, it was something that gave me a lot of hope and optimism. It is a sign that maybe we will not all smell of sweets and fruits for the rest of our lives. That we are not condemned to fruits and vanilla forever.
— Perfumer Mathilde Laurent on why she loves oud. Read more at Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent calls oud ‘a real gift’ to perfumery at The National.