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Passage d'Enfer
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

THE BREATH THAT MOVES US FOREWARD . . .
L'ARTISAN PASSAGE D'ENFER

The morning sky was featureless, a color like that made on paper from a thin wash of lampblack. Ralph stood stopped in the field, head down, blowing. He was harnessed to a sled load of locust fence rails, and they were heavy as a similar amount of stones. He seemed not to care to draw them one pace farther toward the edge of the creek along which Ruby intended to lay out the snake for a new pasture fence. Ada held the plaited carriage whip, and she popped Ralph’s back a time or two with the frizzled end of it to no effect.
            —He’s a carriage horse, she said to Ruby.
            Ruby said, He’s a horse.
            She went to Ralph’s head and took his chin in her hand and looked him in the eye. He put back his ears and showed her a rim of white at the tops of his eyeballs.
            Ruby pressed her lips to the velvet nose of the horse and then backed off an inch and opened her mouth wide and blew out a deep slow breath into its flanged nostrils. The dispatch sent by such a gesture, she believed, concerned an understanding between them. What it said was that she and Ralph were of like minds on the issue at hand. You settled horses’ thinking that way. They took it as a message to let down from their usual state of high nerves. You could calm white-eyed horses with such a companionable breath.

The passage above is from Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier’s debut novel that won the National Book Award in 1997, about an odyssey that takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the southern United States at the end of the Civil War.  A young confederate soldier named Inman has deserted his army-hospital bed to make the long walk home, through war-ravaged lands, to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, and the woman he loves.  Simultaneously, Ada, his beloved, is on her own journey: a monumental life transition that takes her from a naïve and formerly privileged young girl, whose role in life is largely ornamental, to a highly competent, fully independent woman—but not without a good deal of help from an unlikely mentor.  Through farming skills taught to her by an enterprising drifter named Ruby, Ada comes to know the worth of herself, of labor and stewardship, and of the land that is now her only inheritance of any real value.

I love this book so much that I re-read it year after year, usually in August, which is about the same time that Inman’s and Ada’s odysseys take place.  August, for me, is the transitional month when my animal instincts kick in and I begin to think about movement and migration; when my mind begins wrapping around the idea of a trip to someplace far away.  Even though there is at least a month and a half of summer still left, the stirrings of fall journeys have already begun in Pennsylvania.  When I take my daily walks through the fields, along green corridors of tall and stretchy bamboo-like corn, I notice the sumac trees turning red, the stray leaves of other trees that have fallen and are lying brown and curled up in the grass.  Monarch butterflies drift overhead in seemingly greater numbers, and I can’t help but wonder if they have started their migration south.Today, as I ponder journeys and read Cold Mountain, I am wearing L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Passage d’Enfer, a diaphanous incense scent created in 1999 by Olivia Giacobetti, whose perfume creations are like gossamer butterfly wings: so wispy and delicate, you don’t realize at first that they are complex enough to entertain nuance, or strong enough to sustain lengthy flight.  And then you wear them a couple days, away from the fog of your big-sillage mindset and scents, and you realize just how far they can take you.

Passage d’Enfer is a confusing scent in terms of its name, which roughly translates to “passage through hell”—but it should be kept in mind that Passage d’Enfer is the name of a street in Paris where L’Artisan Parfumeur originally had its headquarters, which more likely accounts for the scent’s curious moniker.  And on carded samples of the fragrance, the company describes Passage d’Enfer as “a haze of light incense to carry you up to cloud nine,” a description I find pretty accurate, so my own inclination is to dismiss the hell-passage connotation.  (Although, considering the church-incense-and-cathedral-walls smell of this scent—and one’s feelings about religion—perhaps there is a wry, tongue-in-cheek reference here to the gates of hell.)  If I were one of the powers that be at L’Artisan, I would be tempted to shorten the name of this fragrance to Passage, because for me, the sense of movement—from a lower spiritual plane to a higher one—is really what this scent is all about.

This cool and calm incense perfume is like the companionable breath that Ruby of Cold Mountain dispatches into the flanged nostrils of Ralph, the horse.  It is delicate, yes—as delicate and diffuse as that mountain morning, with “a color like that made on paper from a thin wash of lampblack.”  But oh, what strength there is in the companionable breath that moves us forward when we are white-eyed, with nerves in need of calming; when we are harnessed to a burden that seems too heavy or cumbersome to carry.  If Passage d’Enfer had a voice, it would be the voice of tranquility and reassurance, directing us to go within to gather our strength, and when we have found it, to make our ascent.  Such reassurance is no small thing.

The list of notes for Passage d’Enfer includes lily, incense, white musk, aloewood, and benzoin.  It starts off smelling like the cool stone walls of an ancient cathedral—but in a very short while, the balsamy incense notes spiral and swirl upward against the stones, and the fragrance undergoes a shift due to the contrast between the chill and lightly humid lily and the warm, dry incense.  This gives a nice balance to the wings of this scent, and with additional assistance from the white musk, it floats on the skin for a surprisingly long time—riding the thermals with the kind of amazing grace that inspires earthbound creatures to shoulder their burdens and press on.
   

_________


Excerpted from Cold Mountain, copyright © 1997 by Charles Frazier (The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, NY, 1997, page 186)

Image of L'Artisan Parfumeur Passage d'Enfer is from LuckyScent.com.

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 8/7/2008.


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