In Search of Comfort: Profumum Olibanum
I have always found it fascinating that a person who is essentially a non-believer would find the scent of incense comforting. But I do. It gives me a feeling of peacefulness that comes from detachment. The melancholy sort of comfort that I once already described using one of my favorite passages from The Master and Margarita:
“Gods, my gods! How sad the earth is at eventide! How mysterious are the mists over the swamps. Anyone who has wandered in these mists, who has suffered a great deal before death, or flown above the earth, bearing a burden beyond his strength knows this. Someone who is exhausted knows this. And without regret he forsakes the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and sinks into the arms of death with a light heart, knowing that death alone…”
I used Bulgakov's words to describe Passage d'Enfer, which, for me, is the scent of the welcome end, of "peace" that The Master was granted in the book. Olibanum starts with the same sort of pensive, sad and somber feel: the incense is very strong in the top notes...this is an Italian scent, but to me it smells of a Russian Orthodox church, a church that is almost dark, with only a few candles flickering beneath sorrowful icons...and then, as other notes become more apparent, the soft, nutty myrrh and the velvety, sweet sandalwood, it is as if the church becomes gradually illuminated...The sunny orange blossom is unexpected and joyful, poignantly bright and hopeful ray of light amidst the world-weary darkness...bride's fleurs d'orange, perhaps...
Rich, deep, incredibly comforting, at once melancholy and hopeful, Olibanum is a must have for troublesome times. Available at Luckyscent, $240.00 for 100ml.
The image, of a ceiling in The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Khram Spasa na Krovi), St. Petersburg, is from sacred-destinations.com.