Scent: Revolution by Cire Trudon and Coven by Andrea Maack

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There’s a revolution in the air. Old power structures are creaking and swaying.  More people are seeing the reality of systemic inequality and injustice in our country, as well as throughout the world. Ideas that just a few years ago would be dismissed as “too radical” are slowly becoming real possibilities.

What kind of revolution do you want? There’s the kind we know, the one with violence and weapons. Cire Trudon’s scent Revolution makes me think of the French Revolution—animalic notes of horses’ sweat, the leather of their bridles and the breeches of the rioters, a curl of smoke in the air from the fires burning across Paris. The tang of gunpowder hangs over it all. There is a palpable sense of political fervor and camaraderie—you sense banners waving in the wind and the songs sung by brothers in arms. This is a masculine scent on paper, but a unisex one in practice. (Many of the revolutionaries in France were women, after all.) This is definitely a scent for when you are in an anti-authoritarian mood, whether you are headed to a protest against government overreach or are chafing at the way your job exemplifies how capitalism renders us impotent in so many ways.

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But there’s another kind of revolution. This one is quieter and has less to do with sudden outward change than with transformation spurred by internal recalibration. This is a revolution that involves seeing the world in a new way—yet also one that’s very old. It’s a revolution led by women, who for thousands of years have seen their perspectives and experiences ignored, their knowledge and intuition written off as old wives’ tales or demonized as witchcraft. Our very reality has been denied and mocked.

Andrea Maack’s Coven suggests to me a revolution based on a connection with nature that has been lost and derided under patriarchy. It brings to mind a green, otherworldly forest hung with moss and lichen, light filtering through the branches to the green floor below. It’s rife with the plant life we understand as well as spirits that we don’t—not friendly fairies and sprites, but mystical and misunderstood forces. It opens with a bright and spicy green note that heralds a scent of depth and complexity–a wall of green, from the canopy of treetops down to the rich dark soil. Silent and still, yet suggestive of great power. And like women, this perfume endures–it lasts all day on my skin.

So which one will it be—to the barricades, citoyens? Or will we turn to our deeper selves, finally face our wounds and failings as individuals and as a culture, learn to build a society based on what we know is good and true rather than the empty words and tired tactics of the power hungry, and break the spell of the last few thousand years? I know which one I’m hoping for.

 

 

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