(Widge’s Note: Scott turned it in late and life fell on me and I made it more late. So it’s on me. But regardless, some people want to celebrate Xmas year-round, so I guess this is for them. I celebrate Halloween year-round so I can’t judge. Much. Weirdos.)
Yeah I know, the Christmas Black Phoenix post is late. First off, it does celebrate all of winter, not just Christmas and since’s it’s still winter, it’s not really late. Second… yeah Krampus. Knowing it was that time again, I had scheduled a few days for our usual carnal extravaganza. The thing I didn’t account for is Krampus’ increased popularity. Krampus festivals have increased in the U.S. and of course there’s the recent movie. So Krampus awareness is on a all-time high. It seems that with anthropomorphic representations, more belief doesn’t just give them more power, it gives them more stamina, if you know what I mean. I knew with that special glint in his eye and the suggestive way he was flicking his tongue that I was in for a wild ride. He took me to places that I didn’t know existed, it was like being on LSD and Viagra at the same thing. First he (WIDGE: this is where you can put something about having to edit my long winded and pornographic description because of length and you’re a prude. Just kidding). Widge’s Note: Nah, it’s much funnier to leave your note in as it stands. So it took me a while longer to recover than from the usual cuts and bruises.
But I have recovered and I’m ready to tell you about Black Phoenix’s Yule perfumes. Since I’ve been back in my right mind, I realize that Christmas has always been weird around here… I mean besides Krampus. When you can be out in shorts and a T-shirt on Christmas Day, your festive spirit can get a little confused. It always doesn’t help that ‘Christmas’ items have been available on store selves since before Halloween. I’m not wanting a Burl Ives/Norman Rockwell fantasy, but maybe I want something with a bit more heft than the Steam Christmas game sale. Maybe that’s why I like the Yule perfume lines, you can connect to different winter traditions and even experience the aroma of a winter wonderland. The perfumers manage to give us equal parts reverence for the season and a knowing sense of the ridiculous. So let us enter that landscape that Black Phoenix conjures with its quiet snow, decorated trees and the sound of sleigh bells in the distance.
[ad#longpost]First we have the old standards as welcome as The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. We have Chanukkiyah with its scents of oil, beeswax and amber with the fruits of the Holy Land and along with it is Gelt, based on the Jewish chocolate coins used with the dreidel, so you have a wonderful mix of cocoa and golden amber. From Jerusalem to Rome we have Midnight Mass with its sacred incenses and El Dia De Los Reyes, the Mexican Celebration of the Magi with a heady brew of hot cocoa with cinnamon, coffee, and brown sugar. For the gift givers that make the season what it is, we have Père Noël, the French Santa who leaves treats in shoes instead of stockings and get carrots for his donkey instead of milk and cookies. It has a wonderful bright smell of oranges and tangerines with some lavender candy to bring down the citrus acidity and anise so it isn’t too sweet. Then there is La Befana, the Italian good witch who rides a broomstick and pops down a chimney to deliver toys to good children. You have the smokiness of chimney dust and charcoal, the lilies and parma violets appropriate for a lady of a certain age, and cypress for her broom all given a sugary sweetness for all the children she visited.
Now let us talk of those to visit the naughty and give them what they deserve. For example, you have Diable En Boîte, which is French for Jack In A Box or literally translated: boxed devil. But it’s not a devil that pops out, but a clown. In my opinion, I don’t see much of a difference. So you have a perfume of redwood for the box, hemp accord and tobacco for the infernal smoke, and bitter clove and red musk–suggesting that something dark and dangerous wants out of the box. Then there is the Slavic Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost. He has many of the same characteristics as our Santa: big white beard and gives gifts to the worthy. Of course, being Russian he can punish the unworthy with the power of winter: icing over farm fields, burying homes in snow, and freezing those who get on his bad side. For his benevolence you get golden and white amber but then you have the dark menacing woods with teak, redwood, bois du rose and tree moss, the magic of sage and the ever present snow. Then there is Krampus. He does not fuck around with a lump of coal. If you are being a whiny greedy little brat, he will beat your ass with a switch, throw you in a sack and take you away. He may be the Christmas spirit we want, but he’s the Christmas spirit we need. For his scent, you have the red musk produced by such a demon, the black leather from his whip, and fresh cut wood from his switches.
Snow in Florida (where I live) has an almost fetishistic regard. That idea get it could get cold enough and stay cold enough to have beautiful frozen water fall to the ground is just odd. Something that can inspire so much art and poetry is seen as alien by a large segment of the world. Black Phoenix has an interesting set of perfumes called Snow Falling Faintly which gives an artistic interpretation of a snow filled day. The Snow at Dawn gives the rosy fingers of dawn with an energetic hit of orange blossom, neroli, and rose gardenia. While The Snow at Midnight is a dark blanket over the land with blackcurrant bud, myrrh, ciste absolute, frankincense, and oudh.
I could go on and on but this post is edging a little into Too Long Read Later territory. Feel free to peruse the offerings of Yule over at Black Phoenix for yourself. If you purchase something, mention that we sent you. So have a very, very, Merry Christmas. Whenever you do it.