Linus never got around to discussing the wise men or the gifts, as far as I can recall. If he had, maybe those gifts would have made sense to me, but as it was, my response was "frankinwhat?" I remember thinking that frankincense and myrrh were something stinky and oily, and I was surprised to discover, later, that I wasn't too far from the truth. But while a little oily scenting is all very nice for a baby already living in a warm dry house, it seemed rather beside the point for the whole hay-and-stable situation.
Gold, on the other hand, gold made some sense. Not all that much sense; I wanted to hear, instead, that the kings had thought to spend some of that gold to provide some immediate practical gifts, maybe hot food and silk-and-feather comforters like those that Ram Dass left for Sara Crewe in A Little Princess. And, yes, the fact that I combined the Bible and children's chapter books as two elements of one big tapestry suggests that I didn't absorb that whole religion thing in quite the way that the church hoped.
But I conceded that a king facing a being that was heralded by a whole new star would feel the need to make an appropriate gesture, and pressing gold and sacred oily things on that being might seem just right. Even if a fire, tea, and hot buttered toast for Mary would be more useful.
(I suspect that a Sunday school teacher from my past is feeling a sudden pang of failure right about now, but doesn't know exactly why.)
Toast aside, gold is something to catch the imagination. It's wealth. It's royalty and pirates. It glitters. It doesn't decay, it doesn't dissolve. But it's also soft, a near-indestructible material that's nevertheless amenable to changing form based on a craftsman's imagination, so it seems more ours than hard, brittle jewels. You admire jewels; you fondle gold.
This was supposed to be a perfume review, wasn't it? All right, then: What should gold smell like? Do I agree with Comme des Garcons that 8 88 is a successful olfactory portrait of the stuff?
Only for a moment. Somehow, I expected Comme des Garcons to take a high-tech view of gold, cold and minimalist. I was wrong. 8 88 starts out girly, all mellow buttery flowers and a hint of fruit, with just a bit of an edge that, yes, seems a bit metallic. I think it's the saffron. The butter and fruit faded in less than a minute, leaving a nonspecific impression of brightness and warmth blended with the metallic saffron. That phase, lasting two or three minutes, was a pretty good impression of gold, though it lacked the sparkle that would make the mood complete.
After that, the last of the friendly warmth was gone and 8 88 developed into a cool, dry saffron perfume, no longer the least bit girly, with a woody note that grew as the hours passed. I like it; it might beat Washington Tremlett Black Tie, my previous favorite for the note, in a saffron faceoff. But saffron is not gold; gold must glitter, and 8 88 does not.
For more of We Three Kings week, please head for these fine blogs!
- All I Am - A Redhead
- Bonkers About Perfume
- My Perfume Life
- Notes from Josephine
- The Perfume Chronicles.
- Redolent Of Spices
- Scent Of The Day
Three Kings Image: Three Kings Icon ©2010 Megan Ruisch
Gold Laurel Wreath Image: Wikimedia Commons.