It’s almost Halloween! Now’s the time to start preparing my infamous Kevin’s All Hallows Eve SlopPot-pourri(TM)! Here’s the recipe:
Take a large wooden slop bucket from a barnyard, rinse it in a cow (or pig) watering hole and then rub the inside of the bucket with a goodly amount of cat urine (for the best results, use the urine of an un-neutered tomcat); allow the bucket to dry in the sunshine.
Inside the dry bucket, layer each ingredient listed below between one-inch layers of kosher salt to which a handful of cedar shavings and a vanilla pod have been added:
50 pieces of charred cassia bark (the bark should be blackened and retain only the most rancid traces of oil and odor);
Ten 1/8-inch slices of Swiss cheese;
Chain-gang T-shirt bits (with scissors, cut out and save the stained, armpit areas (bits) of 25 sweaty T-shirts that have been worn at least 10 hours on a 90-100 degree day;
One large box of moth balls, roasted (roast on a grill in the open air while wearing a HEPA-filter mask); and
10 handfuls of singed hair (visit a trusted local salon for clean, newly cut hair to singe, or, for pre-singed locks, visit the worst salon in your area and obtain fall-out from recently botched dye jobs, hair-straightening sessions, permanents, etc.).
Finally, pour the contents of three bottles of Angostura bitters and two bottles of grenadine into the bucket, top off with more salt, and let the mixture ‘rest’ in the (covered) bucket — in a dark and dank place — under lock and key — for at least two weeks. CAUTION: Keep away from children, asthma sufferers, animals, heat and open flame.
When the mixture has obtained a sickly sweet (yet burnt) malodorous odor, remove the T-shirt bits and any un-dissolved hair, mix thoroughly, and then pack the potpourri loosely into 4 oz. glass jars — to make giving easy!
After finishing my potpourri, I always perform a quality test: I take a deep breath with an open jar of potpourri pressed against my upper lip directly under my nostrils. Always perform this quality test while in bed or on a sofa: NEVER DO THIS WHILE STANDING UP. When I regain consciousness, I know my potpourri is a success!
NOTE: If you do not have the time, energy or stomach for making Kevin’s All Hallows Eve SlopPot-pourri but still want to experience it, obtain a sample of Serge Lutens Serge Noire.
Of course, the above story is a fantasy (please do not try this recipe at home), but a fantasy prompted by my first sniff of Serge Noire — a fragrance most foul. I don’t know what’s in Serge Noire (Cosmetics International lists ‘smoky, crystallized ash, saps, resins and cistus’ and other media sources also include cinnamon, patchouli, spices and ‘black wood’) and I can’t make one bit of sense out of Serge Noire’s marketing materials (Serge Lutens’ florid descriptions of Serge Noire leave me puzzled and amused). Cosmetics International claims Serge Noire was in development for TEN YEARS and quotes Mr. Lutens who said Serge Noire is "an ode to everlasting beauty under cover of night's rich plumage"; I’m betting there was either translation trouble or a problem understanding a thick French accent so I submit the following — Serge Noire is an ode to ever-blasting "Phooey!" and the shudder of Fright's ditch-rummage — an equally confusing, but tad more fitting, quote.
The first minutes of Serge Noire smell moldy, burnt, medicinal, cheese-y, and sinister. As Serge Noire comes into focus, I smell cistus, something cedar-y, vanilla, a hint of cinnamon, and amber. If you love weird, striking or outrageous fragrances, give Serge Noire a try, but if you do like those types of scents be prepared for Serge Noire’s abstract opening to quickly give way to a rather average sweet-woody-amber perfume in a style all Lutens fans will recognize. Certainly, for half of Serge Noir’s $140 price tag, you can find an equally good, or much better, woody-amber Eau de Parfum — without an unpleasant opening phase of development. (Remember not so long ago when the Serge Lutens export line fragrances were only $90 a bottle?)
The creation of perfumes, even ones we hate, provides employment and lots of money for perfumers, chemists, bottle designers, models, directors and film crews, marketers, advertising agencies, and retailers. I’ve decided to laugh in the face of disappointing perfume releases and not take the entire process too seriously (a new perfume may smell bad and have a nutty advertising campaign but its sales can fuel the weak worldwide economy, right?) Of course, when I belittle a perfume, you are free to laugh with me or to write in and defend it. Any Serge Noire fans out there?
Serge Lutens Serge Noire is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum Haute Concentration. For buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.