Sacred Feminine: Parfum Sacre by Caron
It is hard to believe that Parfum Sacre was created as recently as 1990, this incredibly beautiful perfume, an immaculate, soft, classic, timeless blend. With notes of myrrh, musk, vanilla, rose, jasmine, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, Parfum Sacre is something straight out of the Song of Songs, “an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits…with every kind of incense tree, myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices…”
It starts as a gentle, whispery rose and vanilla blend on my skin, with tiny sparkles of pepper adding discreet spiciness to the composition. Cinnamon and jasmine, two notes I find rather hard to wear, are not obvious to my nose here, this story really is all about roses, vanilla and musk. As the fragrance develops further, incense tiptoes in, and this is sweet, warm incense, very far removed from the cold grey scents like Avignon or Passage d’Enfer. Parfum Sacre is all about warmth, colors red, black and dark gold.
Having said that, there is nothing overly grand or imposing about this perfume, don’t let the name lead you to expect a heady voluptuous High Priestess kind of scent, this is a different kind of sacred, the one that is kept in reverent secrecy and related in whispers. Song of Songs aside, what this fragrance really brings to mind are the images of Sacred Feminine and the theories of the Goddess in the Gospels. Yes, I did read and like The Da Vinci Code and it obviously shows, but think about it- roses and myrrh, what other perfume would be more appropriate to personify Mary Magdalene? Have the members of the Priory of Sion infiltrated Caron in the 1990s? Perhaps, given the history of all the wonderful Caron creations, they were present there from the very beginning.
I will leave you with Padraic Pearse's "Song for Mary Magdalene":
O woman of the gleaming hair,
(Wild hair that won men's gaze to thee)
Weary thou turnest from the common stare,
For the shuiler Christ is calling thee.
O woman of the snowy side,
Many a lover hath lain with thee,
Yet left thee sad at the morning tide,
But thy lover Christ shall comfort thee.
O woman with the wild thing's heart,
Old sin hath set a snare for thee:
In the forest ways forspent thou art
But the hunter Christ shall pity thee.
O woman spendthrift of thyself,
Spendthrift of all the love in thee,
Sold unto sin for little pelf,
The captain Christ shall ransom thee.
O woman that no lover's kiss
(Tho' many a kiss was given thee)
Could slake thy love, is it not for this
The hero Christ shall die for thee?
*The painting is Mary Magdalene in the Desert by Jusepe de Ribera, 1640-41, Museo del Prado, Madrid.