Waxing Rhapsodic.

Rhapsodie is an odd little scent that I really like even though I know next to nothing about it. The person who sent it to me is someone I also really like, even though we've never spoken or met face to face.

Undina sent a sample of Rhapsodie to me (along with some other lovely vintage smellies) when I was laid up in the hospital. With her gift, she included the caveat that Rhapsodie may not be easy -- or even possible -- to identify. Her unlabeled mini-bottle would not disclose its maker; it resisted giving up its secrets, if not its scent. But I do love a mystery... so add Rhapsodie to the member roll of the League of Undercover Angels.

According to the UK website Perfume Intelligence (doesn't that sound like the MI6 of fragrance?), six different houses produced perfumes named Rhapsodie between 1900 and 1970: Chouky, Richard Hudnut, Massenet, Mülhens (of 4711 fame) and Marcel Raffy. Although information on these houses is certainly on record, hard intel on the identically-named fragrances they each released is woefully scarce. Notes? Flacon? Advertisements? Keep walking. Sometimes, however, it's nice to be able to just like a thing without overanalyzing it. So while Rhapsodie defies me to pick it apart for clues, ours is by no means a contentious relationship. I wear it; it warms me; I'm satisfied.

The passage of time has concentrated Undina' sample to the consistency and color of blackstrap molasses: so dark, it stains; so thick, it sticks. You have to really rub it into your skin to get it to "take"-- and in a strange way, this feels very instinctive, as if Rhapsodie were ancient Egyptian kyphi. It smells like it, too: myrrh, benzoin, and evergreen resins melded with cinnamon and clove to produce an antique-seeming balm. Little of the head or heart notes are hinted; one can only guess what they might have been (aldehydes, perhaps a little sweet citrus). What remains of Rhapsodie is all base-- a deep, plush, indistinct, yet comforting sort of scent into which I can relax. For this reason, I like it best for bedtime, the very hour when one is supposed to lay down the day's cares and concerns and just drift.

There is not much left in this sample vial; there may not be much Rhapsodie left in this world. It's rare, unique, not easily defined or replicated. Just like the person who sent it to me, a true nonpareil.

Scent Elements: No clue. For once, the notes don't demand recognition-- just appreciation, which I offer readily.