One Thousand Scents

Sunday, June 08, 2008

30 Demeters in 30 Days: Day 8, Holy Smoke

The other morning I went back to bed (after having gotten up at the unreasonable hour of 4:30: I didn't work that day, so I could get away with it). I was wearing Demeter Holy Smoke, and I dreamed of cooking meat. I don't know if the two things are related, but they could be.

Holy Smoke doesn't smell quite like something is burning right now and leaving a cloud of smoke; it probably won't send anyone into a panic thinking that something in the kitchen is on fire. It's more like you're sniffing a garment that was in the room yesterday when something was burning. And that garment would be an alb, and the room would be the nave of a cathedral, because Holy Smoke, as its name suggests, is a churchy incense scent.

My religious upbringing wasn't in the Catholic church, so I have no experience of incense during a religious service, but I have burned a fair quantity of incense in my time, and Holy Smoke is a very good reproduction of the smell: earthy-woody, resinous, singed. It calls to mind other experiences of burning things as well. There's a bit of a bonfire to it, and it has an overlay of a freshly lit barbecue, too, the ashy smell of glowing charcoal and maybe hot metal, but mostly it's resin smoke.

I like it, but maybe because it's so specific to a particular setting, it doesn't stir up any strong emotions in me. Demeter has another, related scent that I'll get to tomorrow; that one's a real killer.

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