February 26, 2015
Cilice Reveal photo from Brooklyn Euphorium
Part of being human is walking the edge between what we want in this world and what we believe is the right and proper way to live. We live, we grow, and scars form from leaning against the hidden steel slicing between temptation and salvation, empathy and raw need. Part of enjoying perfume is how certain scents drive this point home instantly and escort you right to the 40-story rooftop drop of your darkest fantasies.
Brooklyn Euphorium’s Cilice is without question the most blatant and seductive fragrance to happen upon when you’re hovering between entering the nunnery or a nightclub. You have to decide exactly what kind of person you are inside with every sniff, because Cilice’s composition contains all the sweetness, contemplation and filthy secrets we all carry within ourselves. The imagery that arises out of its depths – hot black leather drenched in golden honey, or a blackened altar in the deep woods. Beeswax and castoreum, frankincense and cloves all combine into a bestial but forgiving scent.
photo Stephen Dirkes: Brooklyn Euphorium (Greenpoint)
Brooklyn Euphorium’s description of their methodology in perfume-making is every bit as arcane and curious as what Cilice presents on the skin. The story behind the line seems to be a wild and possibly made-up tale of a Victorian Perfumer Etienne Chevreuil and his salon of 19th century spiritualists (I could find no mention on Google of any of their names), armed with arcane distillation methods (known as the “Komodo Process”) that the perfumers at Euphorium have chosen to follow as their olfactory muses.
Cilice Wound photo from Brooklyn Euphorium
But it doesn’t matter – what matters is Cilice itself. Brooklyn Euphorium’s marketing copy could boldly announce that their scents sprung wholly from Pan’s pointed head, and it wouldn’t change the fact that this fragrance will outwit every prudent impulse your mother taught you. Cilice is the embodiment of gorgeous, scented evil, that sly, “c’mon – no one’s gonna know….” part of us that constantly distracts us from doing the right thing.
Aleister Crowley British Occultist (1875-1947)
The path to damnation/salvation begins with a huge dollop of honey backed by resins and frankincense. There’s also a fine mist of elemi clinging to the opening, which lends a mossy edge to the honeyed sweetness. This is the best part of wearing Cilice – throughout its entire evolution, you are surprised by sweet, cool, or mossy notes that are welcoming and open, but then a blast of hormonal castoreum or austere incense. The power is equal to the lurid insinuation Cilice keeps dripping into your ear – this fragrance goes on for hours, with just enough sillage to make the person next to you hypnotized as well.
Kätzchen, 1901 by Stephanie Ludwig
I was completely mesmerized by this fragrance. The individual notes all stood out and made definite impressions, and I loved the intimacy that developed as they all make their presence known. There’s a delicious, subtle confrontation hidden in this scent that dares you to act on what you’re feeling when it arises. Cilice is meant to symbolize ascension, holy ascension at that, but the irony is that the impulses it brings on could deadbolt the doors on a monastery for a century. But you’re the only one who knows what your limits are – and Cilice provides a very smooth-talking and sinful option for those willing to throw off their vows and be tempted.
Notes: Benzoin, Labdanum, Frankincense, Elemi, Leather, Beeswax, Angelica, Cistus, Clove, Honey, Papyrus, Cloister Liquor, Ambergris, Oud, Cedar, Coumarin, Birch Tar, Castoreum
Steve Johnson, Editor
Disclosure: my sample was provided by Twisted Lily Perfumerie in Brooklyn
Thanks to Twisted Lily we have three samples of Brooklyn Euphorium Cilice for three USA readers. To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Cilice and the tale behind Brooklyn Euphorium. Draw closes March 1, 2015
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