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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

А жениху это можно носить?
Люблю, когда ты цитируешь М и М.

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Не можно, а нужно.

10:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another incense fan here, and this is one of my favorites. I love your description of the "ray of light" the orange blossom brings to the composition. I also find it comforting; it has a place in a group of scents I reserve for bedtime "aromatherapy".

12:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

I adore incemse - I have only been in that kind of a church once in my life, but I am old enough to have lived through the incense fad of the Seventies -and I still like it! Lovely picture, and this is one I would love to try, you can't have too much incense.

12:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Lovely to see your comment.
Olibanum is definitely heavy on the incense, not on flowers.

6:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This one is aromatherapeutic for sure!

6:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, can't have to much incense -)

6:39 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

It always makes me happy to read M and M quotes first thing in the morning. :-) Just ordered a sample of this scent. How had I missed it?

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am glad it made you happy in the morning, which is not a happy time (to me :-))

8:14 PM EDT  

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