Great ScentFan, as always.The Valide Sultan glares at Yasmin. “And you, ungrateful one. You were a prisoner and he freed you, put you on a throne. How dare you refuse your husband, your sultan, and my son? What is the reason for this?”
Yasmin sees this question mirrored in Walad’s gaze. She has come to love him dearly, but each time he touches her, the scenes of his destruction of her kingdom and her palace fill her mind. Her parents died in the process. He didn’t kill them, his soldiers did. But how can she keep faith with her parents and pass their genes on via the one who caused their deaths?
For love of them she has avoided consummation of this marriage. On the day she gives into him, as her body wants to do, she will join them in death. She carries the poison with her in a ring at all times. Only its presence allows her to treasure the days with Walad.
Seeing Yasmin’s distress, but not knowing the cause, Walad says to his mother, “Give me a moment with my wife.” The Valide Sultan nods.
Hoping to soothe her, Walad hands the remaining vials to his once captive princess, Yasmin. In her presence the sun rises. In her absence all is dark. Had he known of Yasmin before the fateful attack, he would have spared her kingdom and sought her hand.
Caron Parfum Sacre. “How perfectly named is the perfume,” Yasmin says. “Softly it speaks of the sacred night, the holy dawn. It is a myrrh concerto, in a symphony of spice, florals, resins, musks and fragrant woods. It barely qualifies for the incense genre and belongs more properly with great floral orientals.” I agree, but unfortunately this has almost zero volume on me, so it doesn’t go in the finals.
Top: Clove, Cardamom, Coriander, Pepper, Cinnamon, Lemon
Heart: Jasmine, Mimosa, Orange blossom, Rosewood, Rose
Base: Amber, Musk, Myrrh, Vanilla, Cedar, Civet
Tauer Incense Rose. “I’ve been waiting for this one,” Yasmin says and sniffs. “Oh, a blast of citrus, followed by incense. Intermingled is the rose. No problem with volume here. Musks lend sophistication. I do think I like it.” Me, too, but the total effect is more spicy than I like to wear.
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Rose leaf
Heart: Castoreum, Orris root, Frankincense
Base: Ambergris, Labdanum, Myrrh, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cedarwood
Tiziana Terenzi Ecstasy. Yasmin closes her eyes in appreciation then slathers this on her arm, loving the oud she thinks she smells, the incense and the woods. To me, this perfume melds the earthiness of a Slumberhouse and the floral beauty of a Caron. I can’t stop sniffing it. It goes in the finals. The notes are: Pine, spruce, stone powder, Incense, Patchouli, Rose, Violet, Sandalwood, Amber, Cistrose, Tonka Bean, Forest Land, Ancient Wood
Tom Ford Amber Absolute. No idea how this fellow got here. Sniffing to see. Oh, frankincense is definitely a top note. It’s a creamy amber-incense-woody thing. Not sure I’d wear it, but it’s a beauty. The Valide Sultan, losing patience, bellows for Walad to bring Yasmin forward. Yasmin takes the vial, smells it, and anoints Walad’s brow.
Heart: Amber, Woody notes
Base: Labdanum, Vanilla
The firelight plays on their faces, the moon bathes them in light, as Yasmin and Walad hold hands before his mother. She is on her throne, surrounded by her ladies, who hold precious cloths, jars of creams and lotions, and jewels dangling from their arms. “My son,” she says. “Do your duty to your kingdom and demand your marital rights!” Anxious for Walad to secure his rule with an heir, his friend the Imam Rahib speaks. “A woman may request intimacy, but a man by law may demand it, Sultan Walad.” Realizing the precariousness of his marriage, Walad whispers to Yasmin. “I must make you mine.” She nods. The Valide Sultan’s ladies take Yasmin to bathe and dress her for the event. When she returns, a bed has been newly laid in the great tent and on it is a sheet of white silk. Walad’s mother’s throne is positioned before the tent, pillows for her feet and head. “I will spend the night here. Do not come out until the sheet is no longer white.” Blushing furiously, Yasmin allows Walad to lead her in and close the tent’s flap.
Ah, the joy in Walad as he claims his bride. Ah, the sorrow in Yasmin, knowing their first night as man and wife is their last. Yet to her it is enough to be so treasured even once. They do not sleep but in the long night become as one. At last when Walad dozes, Yasmin kisses his hand, opens the ring, swallows its contents, and lay down in his arms.
Moved at last, heard-hearted Aphrodite hovers over the encampment seeing this young beauty dying, another, her maid, crying from being undone. “Mortals!” she says to Poseidon and rolls her eyes. “They are far too emotional! I’m getting bored with all this.” She waves her lovely hands and descends with Poseidon into the sea.
The sun rises. The Valide Sultan wakes. Walad opens the tent to display evidence of his sweet conquest. Yasmin does not stir. “She sleeps,” he says. There is a shout from the shore. A boat approaches carrying an older man a woman. They disembark and say they have only now heard of their daughter’s marriage. “What daughter? the Valide Sultan demands. “Yasmin,” they reply. “Impossible,” Walad says. “They are dead, though I wish otherwise.” They say they escaped and ask to see Yasmin. Within the tent, she stirs. She rises. Hearing their voices, she cries out in joy and runs into her parents’ arms.
Diba wakes and shakes off a bad dream in which her brother tried to kill her and she’d been married to Walad. Joyfully she runs to attend her happy mistress. She knows Fizur’s loving eyes follow her. For the first time she returns his gaze.
Next to come is the celebratory sniff-off when Yasmin picks her favorite incense scent.