Tarleisio’s perfume blog (currently at The Alembicated Genie) is home to completely unique prose and an almost mystical exploration of fragrances that speak to her. I never click to The Alemicated Genie with an expectation of anything else than a passionate discussion of a perfume. She has a way of getting into the dark sides of even the most “well behaved” perfumes.
Which is exactly what she did with me through her novel Quantum Demonology. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a reader who seemed less like “the audience” for Sheila’s novel than me. Sheila is leather jackets and spike heels, and I’m jeans and converse. She’s Tuberose Criminelle; I’m Kai perfume oil. She reads Faust; I’m dedicated to The Daily Bunny.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate slightly. I do own a leather jacket, and when I was younger I wore ill-advised amounts of black eyeliner. But what I’m trying to say is that I’m too much of an ostrich about the dark side of life to be immediately drawn to a book about the Devil seducing a metalhead aspiring writer. That doesn’t change the fact that Quantum Demonology drew me in, locked my attention for two solid weeks, and taught me that—surprisingly—I’m fascinated by the inner workings of the Devil’s mind and can easily relate to a character who is in love with a man who is sometimes shockingly brutal and with whom she has no hope of a future.
Tarleisio’s novel is so good. That’s the first thing I want you to get from this post. The second is that I’m still that same bunnies-and-rainbows person, and as great as they are, bunnies and rainbows do not always prepare one to take on perfumes like those prepared by the perfumers participating in The Devilscent Project. So bear that in mind over the course of this project.
The Devilscent Project is a collaboration between Tarleisio and several natural perfumers who created scents inspired by Quantum Demonology. You can read more about it here.
The first scents I received were Devils number 1, 2, and 3 from Esscentual Alchemy by Amanda Feeley.
Devil No. 1
The dominant note in Devil #1 is, to my nose, fir. A fresh branch of fir, just a little bit woodsy. I also think I smell labdanum (a tricky note for me) and something bracing, almost camphorous but not, I think, camphor. At times this note almost smells aquatic on me. Devil #1 feels like a masculine to me. Not particularly dangerous. This is Tarleisio’s Devil when he is at his most “normal.” As Devil #1 dries down, it goes woodsier and a bit sweeter on my skin.
Devil No. 2
Smelling this was one of the most visceral scent experiences I’ve ever had, but unfortunately not in a way that is helpful for me to tell you about it. It smells to me like someone I disliked when I was younger, someone I associate with the smells of mold and dirty skin. Blinded by that, I can only hazard one guess at a note in this scent, and that is that I think I smell a very dirty, hay-ish honey accord.
Devil No. 3
On first testing this, I wrote “a candied version of #1” in my notebook. It isn’t sweet, but it’s a sweeter reprise of #1. There is more frankincense in this, and I think some cedar. As it develops, it is much drier and less sweet, so in that way it is the opposite of #1, but they feel very much like a family to me. And #3 feels more like the dangerous sides of Tarleisio’s Devil; it’s more compatible with fire and brimstone.
Click to read Tarleisio’s review of Esscentual Alchemy’s Devilscent perfumes.
Big thanks again to Tarleisio for including me and to Amanda, for the perfumes.