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segunda-feira, 29 de fevereiro de 2016

That Old Black Magic Has Me In Its Spell...

by: Jodi Battershell

Robert Elder's Sebastiane Parfumes were designed "to transport you to a world of memories and the desire of a journey to another place or culture," though his website is also quick to point out that Sebastiane fragrances "create a different experience for each person; it is your own personal journey to the world that engulfs you."
It has been a pleasure trying this collection and I've enjoyed the different journeys I have taken via these scents: a visit to my favorite coffee house with delicious cookies (Espresso Royale), a stroll through the Sunken Gardens in one of the cities in Nebraska that I called home for nearly 20 years (Immortal Meadow), sipping exotic cocktails over a leisurely brunch (Urban Legend) and to the dreamy, sensual fantasy worlds envisioned by writer Francesca Lia Block (especially in Ecstasiawith Wish Upon a Star. All of the fragrances in the line are highly concentrated and have excellent longevity and tremendous sillage. Be prepared to sit with whatever memories they conjure for the entire day!
A fifth scent in the Sebastiane collection, Black Magic, has evoked for me special memories from a time and place back in my college days, when I made my first visit to a "head shop."
For those unfamiliar, the "head shop" grew out of 1960s hippie counterculture, when such shops were the primary venue for purchasing marijuana smoking paraphernalia. The focus of such shops shifted over time to include other counterculture trappings such as tie-dye clothing, herbal tea, handmade sandals, beaded jewelry from India, counterculture magazines and comics, books on Eastern and New Age sprituality and every variety of incense.
By Meanest Indian [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By the time I arrived in Lincoln in the late 1980s, most of the smoking accessories were gone from such shops, and this particular head shop's stock in trade was now...well, all that other stuff I mentioned. From a music and fashion standpoint, many young people of the time were very interested in 1960s bands like the Doors, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead, along with more contemporary bands that were influenced by them, like The Cult and The Stone Roses. (Full-on Madchester and rave culture would take a few more years to reach Nebraska and they weren't entirely incompatible with the neo-hippie culture when they did.)  Tie-dye shirts, broomstick skirts and Birkenstocks were in fashion. People wore beaded necklaces even with their Gap polos and young men grew their hair long again.
The local head shop became one of my favorite places to spend the small amount of pocket money I had as a college student, on crystal necklaces, funky rings, box after box of incense, bottle after bottle of musk oil and assorted flower oils (some of which I still have). The neo-hippiedom of the late 1980s eventually yielded to grunge in the early 1990s, but the shop—now more accurately branded a "gift shop"—persisted (actually, I checked and it persists even today!), shifting its focus slightly to encompass current trends while still catering to the needs of its loyal, long-term customers. 
One of the happiest and most vivid memories I have of the shop is the memory of its beautiful aroma. No doubt some folks would find the melange of 50 varieties of incense, essential oils and fragrance oils, handmade soaps. hand-poured candles, leather bags and shoes overwhelming, but I love that smell. I usually pop my head into any New Age/head shops I encounter just to see if they smell the same. Most smell pleasant but none smell quite like the store in my memories.
To borrow a phrase from the old standard by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, "that old Black Magic has me in its spell" and it did so from the very first sniff, with its notes that recall incense, flowery oils and candles, de rigueur hippie patchouli and leather sandals. I take deep whiffs and the name of that beloved store comes to mind, which is also an accurate description of the emotional state Black Magic induces in me: Euphoria.
Top notes: tonka bean, vanilla and amber.
Middle notes: jasmine, rose, blackberry and frangipani.
Base notes: patchouli, leather, grass and vetiver.
Thank you to Sebastiane Parfumes for the opportunity to try your collection! Sebastiane fragrances are available on the official website of the brand and at select online retailers in the US, Canada and the Netherlands

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