Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. -Song of Songs, 4:6-7
Ayala's aromatic interpretation opens well enough, mainly with a scratchy, dry blast of saffron which I enjoy much more than I did in Safran Troublant.
As the saffron fades away, myrrh and frankincense take over, and this is when the magic slips into teenage silliness for me. if you've tried Regina Harris's take on Frankincense and Myrrh you'll know this duo can by a deep, archetypical treausre. Or, it can be a real stinker. To get this right the quality of ingredients has to be stellar, and here I can't say that it is.
It just gets too sweet; the type of sweetness that isn't enjoyable.
Fortunately the unenjoyment lasts about an hour, typical for this line, which wears like an aromatherapy mixture and not as a perfume.
All in all a shame, because the phrase 'Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires' could have conceived something better.
Your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your anointing oils,
your name is perfume poured out.
Song of Songs 1:2-3
In Jewish tradition, the Biblical book 'Song of Songs' is classified as wisdom literature. And there is wisdom in this scent, the evocation of love in its various kinds. We have the beauty and sensuality of love, in the lovely deep rose notes. We have the quiet contemplative (even yearning) aspect of love, in the introspective incense notes. The incense has an interesting treatment here. It is not rich and sweet (as in a typical oriental) nor is it dry and turpentine-like (as in some Mediterranean men's fragrances). This takes a third path, one I struggle to describe: something like steeped herbal tea. We sense the smells and the thoughts associated with a cooled cup of tea as one waits for one's beloved...
This fragrance is very interesting since it uses fragrance elements known since Egyptian times, many of them mentioned in the great love-poem of the Bible, Song of Songs.
I rarely find a fragrance that smells so familiar, yet none of the notes listed are responsible for what I am smelling. My guess? Beeswax, a big hunk on a wooden frame. Wild honey, unpredictable in its fragrance, sweet and sour, flavored by the random plants from which the bees have gathered nectar. The only reason I can offer for my guess is that it smells like church--the frankincense and the little beeswax candles that we light. Innocent, clean, meditative scent.