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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Levanter...Soivohle Meerschaum

By Marina

Do you like Coelho, in particular The Alchemist? I don't really know what I feel about the book. On the one hand it touches that spot in ones soul which still believes that we live in a mythical world... on the other, it seems full of cliches. I wasn't taken in by the concept of personal mission, nor do I believe that when you want something, the universe will conspire to give it to you...But for some reason, ever since reading the book, I was fascinated by levanter, a strong easterly wind from the Mediterranean. Fascinated by the word itself and by the idea of the wind blowing off of Africa...There is something in the sound of it that gives me the worst case of wanderlust.

Ever since I started reading The Alchemist a couple of months ago, I was looking for a scent that would evoke levanter for me. "In the distant land the boy came from, they called it the levanter, because they believed that it brought with it the sands of the desert, and the screams of the Moorish wars." Would it smell of the heat of desert? How does a desert smell? How to translate the violence and the wildness and the wilderness in a fragrance?

I feel I found an approximation of what I imagine the smell of levanter to be like in Liz Zorn's Meerschaum. It smells minerally, earthy, untamed, it makes me think of the sand so hot it would burn your feet, of dark stones, dark secrets, dark thoughts and dark passions, of fierce determination...and yet of letting go and wandering off in search of...well, maybe of a treasure or maybe just of something new. With notes of spices, moss, tobacco and leather, it seems it would be heavy, but it is not...all these aromas are there, but as if smelled from a distance, carried from a faraway land by that very wind.

Maybe not everybody has a mission...or maybe for some of us the mission IS wandering, following the wind...Like another talented creator of mythical worlds wrote, "not all those who wander are lost".

Available at, $80.00-$220.00.



Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Meerschaum is brilliant. It's hard for me to conceive of a more perfect rich, spiced tobacco scent, and I was instantly smitten with it. It lasts forever on the skin, too. It's a real treat.

12:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful review. Liz Zorn is so hard to get here, but Meerschaum has been on my list for a while now, this review solidifies the need to try it.

2:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thank you for one more lovely review! This synaesthesia between perfumes and literature is fascinating. The Alchemist has been one of my favourite readings! I still resort to it for answers. Funny, I didn't perceive the familiar patterns in the book as clichés but more as universal truths. I haven't tried Meerschaum, but now I'm most curious. Another perfume that could evoke the feeling of the book could be L`Air du Desert Marocain by Andy Tauer.

8:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Monica said...

Absolutely beautiful review Marina. You state so well here, in few words, how a well made natural perfume can tell such a story on one's skin. Elegantly said!

8:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous Monica said...

Now I read Alexandra's comment I have to agree with her....Andy's perfumes evoke for me just as I would have to refine my statement to "a well made perfume"

8:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I love "The Alchemist" -- for me it is a reminder of how when we set off on a personal mission, we might not get what we set out for, but at least we're operating on a more awake level, with eyes wide open to receive other, unimagined beauties.

Your review of Meerschaum is vivid and gorgeous, Marina.

10:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

Such an intriguing review, thank you! Now I must try the fragrance as well as the book.

2:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Elisa said...

Love Meerschaum -- it reminds me of my dad. Not so much the smell of him per se but his various accoutrements.

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Carrie Meredith
I agree, it is so rich and long-lastig!

6:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Do they sell samples worldwide?

6:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is very true, that one can look at at as "universal truths". In any case, it is an evocative book, I always love that

6:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!!

6:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And PS
I agree about L`Air du Desert Maroccain, it is full of wanderlust too

6:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! And true, you make a first step and you never really know where the journey will end. It is the beauty and the tragedy of it.

6:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

and then let me know what you thought of either!

6:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can see how it might remind of a father!

6:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Consthurd said...

I love that quote. I need to wander more :-)

1:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Me too :)

9:18 PM EDT  
Blogger JAntoinette said...

I didn't "read" The Alchemist, I listened to the audiobook version; it was read by Jeremy Irons. His voice added so much to the story, and now, after reading your evocative review, I think Meerschaum might be the liquid equivalent to Iron's voice!

8:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh I would imagine Mr Irons is capable of adding another layer of depth to any book!

5:37 PM EDT  

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