I finally reach the best I’ll be
Turning the words back into me
For there’s no truth bespoke to hide
It echoes both inside/outside
Then, all I’m made of is a sound
Monstrous feelings all around
Enormous lights, and taste profound
Bounty of touches, smells abound
All while I eat, and sleep, and mate
Maybe this is to be my fate
Finding both, saint and lost pariah
—————– Inverse in verse- Poem that can be read from top to bottom… and backwards, too. Written by dana @a_nose_knows for Sultan Pasha Attars
I’ve always liked to look the other way. In cinemas I’d turn and watch the faces of others; at home I’d delve in Irish legends of faeries running away from inside-out clothes, ponder at the head of Janus, and memorize palindromes with the zest of youth and the obsession of a collector: madam; radar; kayak; Si nummi, immunis.
Later on I took interest in old, forgotten, developed films; later still, I’d take pictures not for the seen, but the unseen promise of an artsy negative. All was hunting for the moment satisfaction (of feeling) finally came, with the same impudent—but natural—mind gesture as the feeding process of a meager urchin: guts hanging and hungry, symmetrically inside and outside, and equally receptive all over.
Juriah, too, goes perfectly backwards.
The start is rumbling and pummeling and pungent and LOUD- eyes may water, that is, and minds may blow in a severe and organized according of instruments. Like the orchestra tuning in the pit, right before the first melodic measures you smell, equally determined, heavy-hitters: oud (of what kind, I do not know- it’s both creamy and herbal at the same time); animalics howl like a lion roars—for the pleasure alone (fresh civet, haute fur (castoreum?), and a very alive musk); piney ambers; a distinguishable—at least for my nose—fermented pomace.
All of this overwhelms and humbles, until—similar to the end of tuning- you almost smell a white sound, like when all the instruments are playing the same note.
What’s next is, comparably, deafeningly homogenous. Juriah opens horizontally with elegant force, building up a wide support structure laced with harmonizing tones: saffrony suede provides texture; a tea-like note provides liquidity and movement (this one is cold, and not unlike a chrysanthemum or wild chamomile infusion); a deeply sweet & salty ambergris brings friendliness and comfort, showcasing other familiar notes: chocolate, tonka bean, wax & propolis, yeast, and cream (sandalwood?).
And then—rising from it all, seminal and individual and vibrant like the viola in Neharot, Neharot—the rose. Of many kinds and in many forms, full of vanilla tones, and spicy, and dark, and molten…and, well, surround.
An opera, if I’ve ever smelled one.
NOTE 1: I do not have the official notes, and chose not to pursue them– but it is well known, now, that Juriah contains Taifi rose, as well as at least two other rose extractions. Perceived notes are as described above; additional impressions/mentions can be made for willow bark, copal or benzoin, tobacco and butter.
NOTE 2: a 1.5ml bottle of Juriah was gifted to me by Sultan Pasha when we met at Pitti, in Florence. It’s been my pleasure to support his activity through many a mention and purchases over the years, and I could not be more honored to be the nose reviewing this composition.
–dana sandu, Sr. Contributing Writer