Celebrating Life, Love, Perfume, and the Poetry of Pablo Neruda: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes Debuts a New Fragrance, Sonnet XVII
On September 26, 2012, Olympic Orchids Artisan perfumes will release a new fragrance, Sonnet XVIII, inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. The fragrance will debut in a sneak preview at the Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon on September 23.
LYNNWOOD, WA, September 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- On September 26, 2012, Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes will officially launch a new fragrance, Sonnet XVII, inspired by the words of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms, but carries
in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
The fragrance was a collaboration between perfumer Ellen Covey and Michelyn Camen, Editor-in Chief of Cafleurebon, who is an enthusiastic reader of Latin American literature. One day earlier this summer, Michelyn was browsing through her books. As she reached for one book, another fell on the floor and opened purely by chance to Neruda's Sonnet XVII. Realizing that this poem would be a perfect inspiration for a perfume, she immediately phoned Ellen Covey, who has a reputation for making unconventional and timeless fragrances that could easily mesh with the concept of magical realism.
Ellen Covey says that when she heard what was being proposed, she almost dropped the phone because just the night before she had had a dream that was in perfect synchronicity with the suggestion of making a fragrance called Sonnet XVII. In her dream, an ancient alchemist had made 15 perfumes meant to do benign things, but his perfume number 16 was an evil potion that would unleash devils, demons, and everything harmful into the world. The only thing that could counteract it was the alchemist's final potion, number 17. In the dream, no one knew where number 17 was, but here on the phone was number 17, just waiting to be made!
According to Ellen Covey, It makes perfect sense that Potion No. 17 in her dream should be love. It's almost a cliche. However, the love described in Neruda's Sonnet XVII is not the abstract, feel-good idealistic love of all mankind, nor is it the love of a grand passion or romance. It's something so elemental it's almost taken for granted, not of a place or a time, not for a single person or a multitude of people. It's magical and it's real; it permeates our being to the extent that it seems almost not to exist.
Dr. Covey immediately realized that a perfume inspired by Sonnet XVII couldn't be the obvious dark bouquet of animalic white tropical flowers and strong musks, nor could it be the explicit, flowery carnations, smoky fire, and roses of the opening lines. It had to be something softer and subtler, an earthy but ethereal fragrance that almost turns in upon itself. A fragrance that breathes in as it breathes out.
Ellen Covey says, "The heart of the perfume started with an accord that I created to represent the archetype of a terrestrial orchid that blooms quietly in the forests of the Chilean mountains without the showy flowers of its more tropical relatives. It's a concave scent rather than a convex one, not sweet and fruity, but subtle, primitive, introverted, and green, reminiscent of the green ink that Neruda used to write his poetry, a color symbolic of fecundity and hope. To complement the green of the orchid, I added a generous amount of osmanthus absolute, with its dark, voluptuous, peachy, leathery, almost animal-like scent. The result is a fragrance that is floral but not floral, the scent of the flower that does not bloom but sends its fragrance up from the earth so that we sense it almost unconsciously."
The timing of the release is as clear a case of synchronicity as the original proposal. There will be a sneak preview of Sonnet XVII at the Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon on September 23, which also happens to be the anniversary of Pablo Neruda's death in 1973. The official launch date of the perfume is September 26, which is both Yom Kippur and Ellen Covey's birthday.
Top Notes: Citron, white champa flower, cubeb, mastic
Heart Notes: Orchid, osmanthus
Base Notes: Spikenard, oakmoss, Bourbon vanilla, Hatian vetiver, ambergris tincture, woods, musks.
Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes is a small, independent perfume company located in Seattle, WA, offering a wide selection of unusual handmade fragrances. Sonnet XVII will be available through the Olympic Orchids website www.orchidscents.com beginning September 26, as a 5 ml perfume spray ($18.00), 15 ml perfume in screw-top bottle ($38), or 30 ml EdP spray ($65).
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