Thursday, November 8, 2018

And if you are a rose, I am a rose shadow


I am usually not shy with words, but I long hesitated to review Annette Neuffer's Per Fumum: A Sanctified Rose, probably my personal favorite in her portfolio of exquisite natural perfumes. Let me begin by saying that to me, in one way, it is primarily an incense scent, as the name suggests: aspects of olibanum dominate, noticably flanked by ever more palpable balsamic notes of benzoe, opoponax, beeswax themselves entwined with gentle woods and vanilla - typical of Neuffer's gracefully complex handwriting, every scent is woven into the others like in a fine calligraphy. As Luca Turin noted about Avicenna texture and structure become one in a finely honed design. Labdanum plays and important role, but it, too, blends perfectly into the whole rather than sticking out like a dusty black thumb, as is often the case - aesthetically intended in the stark Vendetta pour homme, for example, and somewhat more ineptly in a number of House of Matriarch fragrances.

Per Fumum is a truly impressive work of ornamentation as purpose that reminds me of the visual beauty of noblest Persian art and architecture and one would need to approach it all to closely to recognize the stunning fine detail, while its grandeur and unity is only revealed from a distance.

Alas, one questions remains: where is the sanctified rose? It is unmistakeably present, at the heart of it all, to be sure, and yet more like a silhouette borne of the many entangled lines and figurations than as a presence of its own.  "And if you are a rose, I am a rose shadow" wrote Sufi Master Rumi. No image, but a (more perfect?) circumscription, that is the secret of Islamic art. In the contemplation of this deeply fragrant beauty woven from nature and artfulness, like a temple in Isphahan (place of roses) words and pictures are not amiss, becoming superfluous.