Anubis Absolute (Soivohle)

In Tom Robbins' novel Jitterbug Perfume, a time-traveler strays into a celestial way station where human souls are assigned new fates. She witnesses a ceremony in which the hearts of the deceased are weighed against a mere feather; immortality is only awarded to those whose hearts are equally light (pg. 421). The inspiration for this passage derives from ancient Egyptian mythology, wherein Anubis -- the god of embalming and burial -- greets the newly dead with a similar challenge involving a feather. A heart made heavy with sin, regret, or rage disqualifies its owner from paradise.

This in itself is a catechism for living: Lighten up.

Here in the New World, Anubis and his assistants have resurfaced as the Gédé-- a family of spirits representing the ancestral dead. Their leader of this "bones brigade" is Bawon Samdi (Baron Samedi, or Saturday). By turns jovial and menacing, this loa of resurrection enjoys a unique exemption from the rules and boundaries of social decorum. Eccentric, unpredictable, provocative, he transcends all limitations in both this world and the next-- as if his very proximity to death releases him from all fear of it.

Le Bawon is an exceedingly snappy dresser. Professor and Haitian vodou scholar Donald J. Cosentino justly deems him "chic". Whenever possible, his serviteurs wear natty black suits and top hats, accessorized with dark Ray-Ban shades. Sartorially speaking, le Bawon fits right in with the subcultures of ska and 2-Tone, who clearly owe their lookbooks to him.

But what, pray tell, would he choose for a fragrance? Anubis Absolute would be a good start, for this winning combination of immortelle, oud, myrrh, and chypre elements certainly makes the heart feel feather-light.

You can't wield immortelle with too heavy a hand without all the air for ten feet around turning into syrupy liquid smoke. Nor should you lay on the oud too thickly, for the rich, chocolatey quality of this particular wood can quickly turn musty at overdose proportions. When exacerbated by indolic white flowers, the effect could be disastrous-- truly reminiscent of le cimetière. But with the light, crisp freshness of fennel and the honey-sweetness of citrus as allies, Liz Zorn treats the nose to a lovely surprise: the scent of resurrection.

For those who deem any portrait of Anubis incomplete without his embalming resins, there's enough mellow, cool sweet opopanax in the mix to quiet the classicists. And for those who prefer dirges with happy endings, the deep, spicy chypre note on which this fragrance ends is a worthy epitaph to the whole.
Papa Gédé bel garçon!
Papa Gédé bel garçon!
L’habille tout ennui!
Pou’l monte au palais!

Papa Gédé is a handsome man!
Papa Gédé is a handsome man!
He is wearing all black!
And he is going to the palace!
Scent Elements: Immortelle, oud, earth, tuberose, jasmine, carnation, wild oranges, sweet fennel, rose, patchouli, sweet myrrh, amber, moss, musk