Researching The Book of Lost Fragrances was a labor of love. One of the most wonderful parts was working with a famous blogger, Dimi of The Sorcery of Scent. He helped me find out about fragrances that have been lost to us and what they smelled like.
I thought it would interesting for us to tell you about one of them.
Guerlain first focused on verveine (verbena) varieties to use in perfumes in the mid-late 1800's.Eau de Verveine was released first in the 1870's and made brief reappearances in the 1950s and the 1980s before being retired from Guerlain's perfume portfolio. Eau de Verveine is the scent of high summer… sharp, uplifting notes of citrus-green lemon verbena flood the mouth with saliva with their crisp, energising aroma. Below is a prickle of something darker - perhaps carnation or clove - which adds incredible depth. There is a dry, tea-like quality that emerges as the scent dries on the skin. This impossibly rare scent evokes feelings of long days at the summer's end with the chirrup of cicadas ringing in the ears.
The most coveted and rare perfume from the Guerlain portfolio, Djedi was launched in 1926, right on the heels of Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Presented in a flacon resembling a golden sarcophagus with its lid being raised, Djedi is an exploration into decomposition and decay. Gloomy and desolate, Djedi has a dry, arid quality like the shifting desert sands… a "closed over the ages" feel furnished by dry vetiver, oakmoss, musk, and leather. This olfactory requiem pays hommage to fallen ancient Egyptian dynasties that have been lost to the sands of time.
COQUE D'OR is an exceptionally beautiful leather chypre created in 1937 by Jacques Guerlain.Soft florals tumble over a buttery leather accord which evoke thoughts of paper-thin hand-made gloves of extraordinary quality. Built over a classic Guerlain chypre base of sandalwood, amber and oakmoss… this perfume is pre-WWII finery at its best. A scent to be worn with cashmere, pearls and soft furs, but sadly one that has been out of production for the last 60 years.
And now, a piece of The Book of Lost Fragrances... (Note: if you've not hit the previous stops on the tour, you'll need to head back to this post from So Many Precious Books, So Little Time to start at the beginning of the excerpt)
“What does it mean?” Napoléon asked.
“I don’t know, Général. It’s most unusual,” Abu stammered.
“Unwrap him, Saurent,” Napoléon ordered.
Despite Abu’s protestations, Saurent insisted the young men cut through the linen and expose the actual mummy. The Frenchman was paying them, so they agreed. As L’Etoile knew, ancient embalming techniques using fragrant oils and unguents along with the dry air should have prevented the deceased’s soft muscles and tissue from decaying. Even the hair might have been preserved. He’d seen mummies before and had been fascinated by their sweet-smelling corpses.
It took only a few minutes to cut and peel back the blackened cloth.
“No. Like nothing I have ever seen,” Abu whispered.
The corpse on the right didn’t have his arms crossed on his chest, as was the custom.
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About the Author:
M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of eleven novels: Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying In Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix, The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, and The Hypnotist. The Book of Lost Fragrances will be published in March 2012. Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How To Publish And Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg on Buzz Your Book.
Rose is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. As well as the co-founder of Peroozal.com and the popular website BookTrib.com.
Rose has been profiled in Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek and New York Magazine. Rose has appeared on "The Today Show," Fox News, "The Jim Lehrer News Hour" and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USA Today, Stern, L'Official, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.
M.J. Rose lives in Connecticut with Doug Scofield, a composer, and their very spoiled dog, Winka. To learn more about M.J. Rose and her work, visit her website at: www.mjrose.com.