Post by Sister Mary Magdelene, Patron Saint of Perfumers
Bright blessings of another scented day fellow fragrance worshippers. I wonder if I will surprise you with the focus of my adoration today. It is a truly ecumenical day when a nun sings praises to a witch’s brew!
Of course nothing wicked this way comes. This is a perfume, a consumer product like any other niche-ish fragrance release, with the toil and trouble being that of Icelandic visual artist Andrea Maack and an uncredited perfumer. Ineffable is fine by me, I’m a woman used to mystery. But how does it smell?
Let us spray!
Coven by Andrea Maack 2013
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Woody notes, green grass, soil tincture, oakmoss, whiskey, spicy notes
I’m happy to report that the delicate instrument the good Lord placed in the centre of my face registers no essence of newt or tincture of bat, however this fragrance could well be the smell of their habitat. Such an onrush of sappy and bitter green. There is grassiness and a light but distinct touch of galbunum, but the strongest and most lasting impression is of dank earth notes to rival Demeter Zombie. Yet where Zombie achieves a suitably claustrophobic and menacing accord, all the green in Coven conjures a convincing outdoorsy and airy loaminess of an evergreen forest with oakmoss growing thickly. Is that a waft of brimstone through the trees? Or just the sulphurous breath of Maack’s volcanic homeland?
Photo Stolen Flickr
Now there be spirits! Notably whisky, which in keeping with the scent story is peaty like my favoured Islay single malts. This boozy heart warms the composition and beats strongly for hours along with a vanillic Peru balsam and the tickle of cassia and a peppery capsicum. The initial green and earthy character recedes only slightly, the duet of fecund earth and peaty aqua vitae has a balanced progression. Over the hours what at first seems to be a trick of my nose gathers strength and becomes an undeniable sweet and floral tone. It is a lovely and unusual drydown.
The longevity of Coven is exceptional, lasting on skin overnight and on clothing for days. Whereas this tenacity could be unwanted in many perfumes, I was happy still to carry the scent of this enchanted forest clearing.
Photo Stolen Flickr
Unless excessively applied, I can’t think Coven would be out of place in any situation. It’s possible many people will not recognise this as personal fragrance, perhaps mistaking it for lingering air from outdoors. But if he does ask, don’t tell the Bishop its name. Men of his ilk can sometimes not see the forest for the trees.
Naturally I am heartily in favour of a scent that is unique, dark, earthy and green. I pray that Coven shows respect in its name to communities of women engaged in ritual and devotion, leading healing and caring lives connected to the rhythms of days, seasons and natural cycles. There is much to admire in that.
Photo Stolen WikiCommons
The equinoxes approach us (vernal in the Southern, autumnal in the Northern hemisphere), what an ideal time to try such a fragrance as we celebrate the warming fertile earth or give thanks for its fruits as it cools.
Do you have a scent for rituals?
Bless, and blessed be!
Sister Mary Magdelene, Patron Saint of Perfumers.