Category Archives: Bruce Ware Allen

Perfume history courtesy of the Better Half

Count Alfred D’Orsay and the Elusiveness of…..

The one difficulty in Brideshead Revisited (okay, there are a lot of difficulties in Brideshead Revisited, but I’m only interested in one of them) is the question Sebastian Flyte’s charm. We are assured that he has it, repeatedly, but  somehow … Continue reading

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Strange Invisible Perfume

“From the barge A strange invisible perfume hits the sense Of the adjacent wharfs.” “Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were love sick with them” The quote is Shakespeare. of course,  from Anthony and Cleopatra, she whom … Continue reading

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Rice Flowers

Funny thing, although rice is a mainstay of the Italian diet, you tend not to think about it in that light.  We hear: Italian, we think: Pasta. But in fact, in northern Italy pastascuita is less frequent than some very … Continue reading

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

The churchmen knew their business when they brought scent into the worship of God.  Elemental stuff, you see.  Like Proust’s madeleine.  The origin of the word perfume relates to it. Per fumen – through smoke.   Some words are so ingrained … Continue reading

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Smounds! Gadzooks!

The history of science has from time to time turned up  a number of – to us – strange lines of inquiry that run the gamut from crackpot to fraud.   The academy tends to keep out the former better than … Continue reading

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Mithridates, He Died Old

“Come, my Friends, Let’s meet these Romans, and my Rebel Son; Let’s kill till we are weary, then lie down And rest forever.” “Mithridates King of Pontus”  by Nathaniel Lee (1653 – 6 May 1692)* Mithridates (134 BC – 63 … Continue reading

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Strange Brew

If it is true, as Mike Myers suggests, that most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare, what are we to make of the foundations of perfumery? We are, after all, talking some pretty rank stuff – extrusions from the … Continue reading

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Not Tonight, The King Has a Headache

As noted in a previous post,  it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Case in point, Louis XIV, the Sun King, one of the great over-indulgers of history.  This is the same man who built Versailles, and … Continue reading

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(Rose 11) – Rose Trivia

In the beginning, all roses were white.  It took Aphrodite’s pricking herself on a thorn and bleeding to put a touch of pink into the bloom. (There’s a Christian story to the same effect, the rose bush in question being … Continue reading

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Real Men Don’t Wear Scent, Part II

So much for the the ancients and ocean travellers.  It happened that post-renaissance landlubbers, no less confident in their machismo, could also be comfortable with perfume. We’re talking Louis XIV and Louis XV, who, despite the wigs, were no shrinking … Continue reading

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