‘Tis the season to have a stuffed up nose. With winter comes blocked nasal passages, dripping yellow mucus, and breathing through your mouth. But ’tis the season for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab‘s Yule perfume collections. So get aggressive on your proboscis. Blow your nose into that hanky, flush your nose with that neti pot, and take Sudafed after you prove you’re not a meth cooker. Because there are Black Phoenix scents out in the world and you should get ready to enjoy them.
As usual, Black Phoenix celebrates Yule throughout the world. They have scents based on the Chanukkiyah (or menorah for us gentiles), the ancient Greek festival of harvesting and drinking of wine, Haloa, and the Icelandic version of Santa Claus, the mischievous JÃ³lasveinar or Yule Lads. If you prefer perfumes that celebrate the more natural essence of the season, you can get the white snowy beauty of Winter-Time, the bitter cold of Autumn and Winter, and the hopeful Woods In Winter. And what would the season be without sweets to fatten you up and help you self medicate when visiting the relatives? There is the spicy creamy goodness of Eggnog , for our Jewish readers there is chocolate treat Gelt, and who doesn’t want a Gingerbread Poppet (I’m guessing poppet is more politically correct than man)? And if you want to have some adult fun unwrapping…things, there is Lick It Vigorously.
[ad#longpost]The Nutcracker ballet has an interesting history. Premiering in December 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Tchaikovsky composition was not considered a success. It didn’t help that many of the performers were relatively inexperienced children and the ballet didn’t end until after midnight. But it persevered and, starting in the mid 20th century, became an American Christmas institution. It really it the perfect ballet for children. Boys love the battle between the Mouse King’s forces and the tin soldiers of the Nutcracker Prince. Girls love the pretty ballerinas and the romance between Klara and the Nutcracker Prince. And what child doesn’t like waves and waves of dancing candy.
So you can enjoy the fragrances of sweetness and innocent of Klara, the dark knowledge but kind heart of Herr Drosselmeyer, and the woody resin and Christmas magic of The Nutcracker. Of course, when we enter The Kingdom of Sweets, it’s every kind of confection from around the world and in the imagination. That the Sugar Plum Fairy brims with candy fruitiness goes without saying, along with the sugary spiciness of Mother Ginger. The various dances emphasize what is notable for that region: chocolate and orange blossoms for The Spanish Dance; coffee, tobacco, and leather for The Arabian Dance; teas and wormwood for The Chinese Dance; and ambergris and benzoin for The Russian Dance.
When I was in 10th grade, part of the English class curriculum was Charles Dickens. We reached that section near the Christmas holidays so our teacher decided we would read A Christmas Carol. When I was halfway through the book, I had a remarkable thought. While everyone knows the Scrooge story by heart, how many people have actually read the book? It is fascinating to contemplate how a tale has permeated the public conscious so deeply that it is independent of its source material.
The tale of Christmas redemption has been reinterpreted in so many ways that Wikipedia has an entry just to list them. It has been put on the stage as traditional drama, one act performances, and as musicals. On film and television, it’s been set in Victorian London, the Old West, Depression era New England, and in modern times. It’s been made with animation, Muppets, and motion capture CGI. There was a version in The Real Ghostbusters (written by J. Michael Straczynski), a Klingon version, and even a take on this tale will be in Doctor Who.
However, Black Phoenix has taken A Christmas Carol to a whole new medium. Not only can you smell the characters like the sharp bitterness of Ebenezer Scrooge and the faint whiff of metal links and many regrets of Marley’s Ghost, you can experience the familial warmth of Bob Cratchit’s Hearth. There’s also the good treats, good wine, and good company of the Christmas party host by Scrooge’s nephew’s Fred typified by A Game Called Yes & No. There is even a fragrance for Scrooge’s Whoop when he realizes that he is not too late for Christmas Day and to change his life.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to do a sad attempt to be clever with Tiny Tim’s declaration, you know what I’m talking about. I will simply say: Merry Christmas.
To find these scents and many others, check out Black Phoenix’s official site.