Sunday, August 1, 2010

Scents of the Mediterranean : Mavrorachi


Where did fragrance making originate ?

Egypt ? no...

Saudi Arabia ? nope

France ? NOT .
Nestled remotely in it's strategic spot in the Mediterranean lies the Island of Cyprus...the namesake of the chypre....
Pyrgos settlement on the Island of Cyprus is the oldest archaeological site ever discovered containing the evidence of perfume making 4000 years ago . Pictured at right is the dig at Mavrorachi/Pyrgos where the ancient olive oil press was discovered , with pottery containing the remnants of olive oil based perfumes . Santa Maria Novella , in partnership with the archaeologists , recreated this fragrance and I am enjoying it today...

MAVRORACHI IS THE ORIGINAL UNGUENT....a limited edition , numbered fragrance made by Santa Maria Novella to commemorate the discovery of the ruins on Cyprus , Mavrorachi is presented in a frosted glass vial and lies nestled in it's box of lapis blue...precious , subtle .
I opened the box , carefully grasped the vial and snipped the golden thread wrapped around the neck and stopper . The ground glass stopper was firmly set ....

Mavrorachi is a soft scent , and I approached her with the reverence I feel she deserves , that of the profumi di Aphrodite . An homage to Aphrodite and the Island of the Mediterranean considered to be her home , Mavrorachi is olive oil based and created from essences indigenous to Cyprus , and a recreation of a scent actually discovered in the 4000 year old ruins of Mavrorachi .

The ground glass stopper gave way to my insistence , and I dabbed my wrist with the slender glass wand attatched to the stopper...and inhaled as all fragrance fanatics are wont to do.
I was not disappointed . I waited for a few moments , closing my eyes and searching for associations . Soft breezes , small flowers...subtlety . I needed more . This was jus meant for the dry sunny clime of a wild island , kissed by sun and wind and salt spray . Aphrodite would have rubbed it in her hair and on her parched shoulders and arms...the healing unguent of olive oil warms and begins to radiate a gladness and strength , but you must be liberal , as the sea is liberal with her salt spray and her lashing of the shore...
I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the oil as it melds to my skin and pulsates . I hear the small myrtle branches clicking in the wind , the foamy seas rocking . These are herbs that have blossomed and survived in spite of what mother nature has thrown at them . And you must listen carefully , because they are timid . But they are beautiful . Aphrodite lives on .
* this article appeared originally on my blog in July 2008

Check out the other participating blogs in the Scents of the Mediterranean Blog Project :
and thank you to Ines and Elena for organizing it !

24 comments:

perfumequeen said...

wonderfully written! welcome to blogging carol!

by Carol said...

Thank you , liss , ya know you are the one who gave me the courage to do it !!!

bettinadonofrio said...

Excellent

Anonymous said...

Carol,

You make me want this!!! I don't know how you do all you do, but you excel at everything! I am thrilled you are blogging.
Lots o' love,
Annie

Tam said...

Hi Carol,
I'm one of the travelers from our Florence Sniffapalooza trip! I wear Mavrorachi often. (not too much as I don't know when I'll see another precious bottle of this!) Another subtle scent that I pick up is the warm scent of....Rocks. According to the big blue book that accompanied with the oil, suggested that the original oil was within some basalmic rocks (volcanic?)


By the way, nice blog!

Tam

Tam said...

Oops,

I meant to write Basalt rocks, not basalmic!!! Must be lunchtime!



Tam

waftbyCarol said...

Thanks for reading Tam...how's the west coast ?
I love mavrorachi , it is a very sacred thing !

Ines said...

Carol, I sincerely hope this is still in circulation and doesn't cost much. :) It sounds absolutely divine.

waftbyCarol said...

Hi Ines ,
The 8 ml bottle with ground glass stopper/ wand is so gorgeous...mine is about half full now . I too hope it is still available from the Farmacia in Florence....I'd love another bottle . It's numbered and Limited Edition ( mine is number 270 ), so I don't know...I'm thinking they were about $70 Euros ?
Mine was a gift from SMN .

ScentScelf said...

Carol, I'm glad you offered this for the blogfest, as it is a lovely article, and I had not read it previously.

Though in addition to being educated and entertained, I am drooling a bit, and the last thing I need is another lemming... ;)

waftbyCarol said...

Hi Scentself !
Well if everyone is drooling , then my job here is done !
LOL!

La Bonne Vivante said...

thanks for the history!

Suzanne said...

Carol,

What a beautiful reminder of a spot in the Mediterranean that I rarely ever pause to think about...and shame on me, as its the inspiration and namesake of those chypres we all love and cannot live without! I'm so glad you chose to republish this, as I hadn't read it before. Lovely, my dear!

waftbyCarol said...

bonne Vivante , you are most welcome !
Suzanne - thank you , I figured it was safe to republish , since no one was reading my blog back then . This was one of my first posts , the thing that made me HAVE to start a blog .

queen_cupcake said...

Lovely writing, Carol! I am grateful that you re-posted this because I wasn't following then...guess that'll teach me to dig around in the blog archives a little more. :-)

flittersniffer said...

Ines hit it on the head with her comment: "It sounds absolutely divine." Divine being the operative word. : - )

And it is nice to see "unguent" get a bit of an outing. It is so onomatopaeic.

Roxana said...

Carol, ooo, thank you for weaving in Mavrorachi/Pyrgos, so wonderful! I just LOVE Santa Maria Novella, great choice to weave into this Mediterranean blogfest.

Katie Puckrik said...

I'm always glued to those stories of ancient perfumes being dug and recreated. Just incredible to have such an intimate glimpse at the tastes of our fragrance forebears.

waftbyCarol said...

Queen Cupcake - yeah , dig around and find the old stuff...
Flittersniffer - It is divine , so warm and herbal ...I'm sorry I don't have some to share . greedy me with my last 4 ml....
Roxana - thank you for coming by ....your fragrances are much in the same style . i wish I owned every one of your creations !
Katie - I am honored that you stopped by ...your inspiring you tube clips always make me smile , even if our tastes are very different !
Thanks for the encouragement everyone !!

Rose said...

wow this was wonderful- I wish I could smell it for myself. Thanks very much for sharing.

waftbyCarol said...

Thank you Rose .

Perfumeshrine said...

This is long overdue but the occasion is as good as any. Thanks for introducing me to Mavrorachi and for making it a scent association that relates to things I have actually lived through in that corner of the world where Aphrodite emerged from the waves.

Hope you're well!

Abigail said...

Thank you for this bit of history. Entrancing! :)

Bettina said...

The flacon remains unopened in mia casa. Can you believe it? I consider this beauty to precious to open it. Yeah call me nuts