Perfume in the Library: Hafez’s Rose and A Wine Cup

Oh, come let’s scatter rose petals and fill the cup with wine;
let’s tear the ceiling of the universe and create a new one.
If the army of woes is intent on shedding the lovers’ blood,
Cup-bearer and I will ride together and uproot the army’s foundation!
We’ll pour rose water in the bowl of purple wine;
we’ll in censer pour the sweetness of the scented wind. (ghazal 129)**

I’m reading Hafez in Shiraz. The marble steps are cool, and the autumnal sunlight thick as honey clings to the blue tiled dome of Hafeziye, a poet’s tomb. Hafez was born in this city known for its culture, sensuality and pleasure-loving ways, and even today Shirazi are proud to reinforce their reputation as sybarites with a sly sense of humor. It’s a regular weekday, but at Hafeziye there is the aura of an endless fest. A group of students reads poetry. A turbaned man in the flowing dress of a mullah pays his respects at the tomb. Two heavily made up young women with prominent post-surgery bandages on their noses pose for a selfie.  Couples exchange glances, verses and phone numbers. Somehow, I think that Hafez wouldn’t mind.

“Color your prayer rug with wine,” writes Hafez, one of the most remarkable poets and mystical thinkers. Remarkable for his imaginative allusions, for his unveiling of hypocrisy and for his limitless passion which pours out in his verses through metaphors of love, perfume and wine.

For someone who had such a big influence on Persian culture, and through it on Arab and European literature, Hafez remains an enigmatic figure. We know that he was born in 1315 in Shiraz as Shams al-Din Mohammad Shirazi and died around 1390, but everything between is filled with legends and suggestions drawn from his poetry. He was a contemporary of Dante, Chaucer, and Jan Van Eyck, and the major political events of his day, the Mongol invasions, have left a deep imprint on his work and thinking.

One popular tale says that an impoverished poet was summoned by Tamerlane, angry that Hafez wrote of giving away Samarkand and Bukhara for a black mole on his lover’s face. The two cities were the pride of Tamerlane the conqueror, and here was this tramp ready to trade them away for a mere mole. “My Prince, it is this prodigality that reduced me to my current state of misery,” replied the poet and left the palace with his head still on his shoulders and Tamerlane’s promise of patronage.

Legends aside, Hafez’s verses reveal at once why throughout his life the poet found himself in dire circumstances. He has little patience for hypocrisy, pretentious piety, and dishonesty, and his writing, as fiery in matters of love as in matters of truth, can be biting.

Might they open the doors of the wineshops
And loosen their hold on our knotted lives?
If shut to satisfy the ego of the puritan
Take heart, for they will reopen to please God. (ghazal 197)*

The talk of wine might seem shocking coming from someone whose pen name means “the one who learned Koran by heart.” On one level, wine is a metaphor of the intoxication that the love of God instills in his true follower. On another, it’s about breaking conventions and challenging dogmas, an important part of the Sufi tradition of Islam. What’s held sacred becomes profane. The sin is transformed into a virtue. Hafez rejects asceticism. No, he says, happiness is not far away, in books or in prayer halls. It is here and now. Take hold of it. It’s all a part of one’s search for God and meaning.

My friends: better to tend to pleasure while the rose blooms,
it’s the world of the lover, and we’ll drink with pleasure.
No generosity in any one, and the time for gaiety passing,
the remedy is selling our prayer rug for wine! (ghazal 128)**


Roses bloom with abandon in the garden of Hafez. “The air is perfumed, perfect, O Lord,” writes Hafez. Those who say that scents can’t be captured in words should read Persian poetry, where perfume is an important metaphor for everything heavenly and perfect. The Arabic phrase “Divine Essence” is used in Hafez’s poetry to refer to God. (It’s interesting to note that in Arabic Divine Essence, al-Dhat, is feminine.)  In turn, the poetry itself is the distillation of one’s experiences and quests.

Sometimes Hafez also uses the idea to needle the hypocrites.

I tease with musk-scented wine my inner sense of scent, for
I smell the scent of duplicity from the garment of the Sufi. (ghazal 148)**

Hafez’s poetry is very difficult to translate, because his metaphors and meanings are tied closely to the melodies and syntax of Persian. Unraveling Hafez’s poems is one of the joys of learning the language that was once as universal as English today. Capturing all of the nuances of Hafez in another language can be difficult, but Elizabeth Gray’s “The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty Ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz” and Dick Davis’ “Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz” are rated highly. I also recommend Reza Ordoubadian’s translations of Hafez’s Divan.  Between discovering Hafez in however flawed a form and not reading him at all, I vote for the former. The world without his passion would lose some of its intensity.

My breast aflame from the fevered heart: languishing for the lover.
Such flames in this house will burn the works.
My body melts for the absence of the lover;
my soul afire for a glimpse of the face of my beloved. (ghazal 80)**

Today instead of finding a scent to match, the way I usually do, I’d love to ask you what fragrance would you pick for Hafez and our perfume library?

*Khanlari, P. Natil (ed.), Divan-e-Hafez, Tehran, 1980.
**Ordoubadian, Reza (trans.), The Poems of Hafez, 2006. Ordoubadian renders “wine-bearer” as Saghi, which I took liberty of translating.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin. The second photo is of the dome of Hafeziye in Shiraz.



  • JJ: You mention roses so I right away think of Amouage Lyric. October 12, 2016 at 8:40am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s appropriately dramatic. October 12, 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Natalia: I love your posts about Persian culture, Victoria. I always learn something new. Is perfume a big part of culture there? I mean, today. October 12, 2016 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. Yes, it still is. The first thing you smell landing in Tehran is rosewater. October 12, 2016 at 1:11pm Reply

      • OperaFan: That sounds heavenly! October 14, 2016 at 9:51am Reply

        • Victoria: Otherwise, you have stands on the streets selling perfumes (mostly cheap knock offs made in China, but there are some very nice blends). You pick a bottle and get it filled with your choice of scent. October 15, 2016 at 4:18am Reply

  • Sandra: We need more poetry and respect for different cultures in this day in age! that is an understatement

    His work is so moving.
    One of my favorite poets is Rumi. During an engagement dinner between my now spouse and I, one of my friends read this poem out loud : The minute I heard my first love story,
    I started looking for you, not knowing
    how blind that was.Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,they’re in each other all along.

    Like the post above, my mind went immediately to Lyric as a perfume October 12, 2016 at 9:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful! I love his poetry and its universal message and passion. October 12, 2016 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Laurie: You hooked me with your comment on divine essence. Does it mean that the essence of God is feminine? October 12, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Some of the names of God in Arabic are feminine, and yes, the divine essence is a feminine attribute. In Islam, God has both feminine and masculine attributes, and it’s especially pronounced in the Sufi tradition. October 12, 2016 at 1:48pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: Your wonderful post made me think of Mohur, one of the most beautiful roses I know… October 12, 2016 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful choice! Mohur is splendid. October 12, 2016 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Gina Tabasso: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin or Taur’s Rose Flash or Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose

    And maybe SL Ambre Sultan October 12, 2016 at 9:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m envisioning them all. October 12, 2016 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Victoria, I love your posts and I love roses.
    Not to be repetitive, but my favorite rose perfumes are Amouage Lyric Woman, Neela Vermiere Mohur and Serge Lutens Fille de Berlin…with honorary mentions to Andy Tauer’s Un Rose Chypre and Ann Girard’s Rose Cut. October 12, 2016 at 10:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Not repetitive at all. Those are such beautiful choices. October 12, 2016 at 1:50pm Reply

    • Surbhi: I Second the choices. I would have picked the exact three. October 12, 2016 at 11:38pm Reply

  • spe: Une Rose, Frederic Malle.
    Agent Provocateur.
    Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT.

    As much as I love the smell of a real rose, it always feels a little too persistently “beautiful” in perfume for my tastes. Rose scents are so lovely to smell on others, however! October 12, 2016 at 10:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I can see what you mean, which is why Une Rose might be a good choice for someone who wants a rose perfume, but with a twist. October 12, 2016 at 1:51pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Keiko Mecheri’s Attar de Roses comes to mind, beautiful, effusive, encompassing and languid and Tauer’s Rose Vermeille. October 12, 2016 at 10:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I will also add Ormonde Jayne Ta’if to your list. October 12, 2016 at 1:52pm Reply

      • Tati: I’m loving my recent FB of Ta’if. October 14, 2016 at 2:25am Reply

        • Victoria: It was a fragrance that made me really love roses in perfume. October 14, 2016 at 5:26am Reply

  • Christine Kalleeny: Une Rose Frederic Malle, hands down. October 12, 2016 at 11:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Another vote for Une Rose! October 12, 2016 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Rita: That was a good read thank you, great insight! October 12, 2016 at 12:46pm Reply

  • KatieAnn: Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post with such rich and gorgeous imagery. Persian culture has always fascinated me and you brought it to life here at my little desk. Wonderful! I am relatively new to the perfume world with many classics still needing to me experienced. Your post brought to mind Nahema for two reasons. It’s on my mind a lot because I really want to try it and the reviews I have read describe it as rich, voluptuous and beautiful. October 12, 2016 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that your selection for Nahema is so spot on. Its luminosity, richness and depth make for a unique experience. October 12, 2016 at 2:00pm Reply

      • Christine Kalleeny: Nahema would have definitely been my other choice, were it not for the fact that Une Rose conjures earthy, animalic wine dregs, intoxication being a theme in Hafez’s poetry. October 12, 2016 at 2:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: This is so much fun! Thank you for explaining why you’ve picked it. October 12, 2016 at 2:04pm Reply

        • Surbhi: I didn’t like Une rose when I tried it first couple of years ago. But I hadn’t smelled much then. Your description just encouraged me to try it again. October 12, 2016 at 11:43pm Reply

  • maggiecat: I also thought of Lyric, a complex, sensual, beautiful fragrance! October 12, 2016 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s one of the best in this genre. An irresistible perfume. October 12, 2016 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Robert H.: Thank you for this, Victoria! What a lovely gift to read with morning coffee. And thanks for the translation suggestions, it’s SO important in catching the nuances. I’m reading a new translation of Rumi right now and I actually hate it. Contemporary vernacular just does the words NO favors at all.

    For Havez I would choose Rose De Petra by Stephen Humbert Lucas 777, a scent that always seems to carry me right into the great mystery. I love it so! October 12, 2016 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Which translation of Rumi are you reading? One of my favorite verses from him starts with “I’m drunk and you’re mad, who will bring us home…”

      I’m making a note to try Rose de Petra. October 12, 2016 at 2:02pm Reply

      • Robert H.: I’m doing a year-long course on Rumi with translations by Andrew Harvey, but the translations feel very clinical and at times jarring. I much prefer Coleman Banks.
        Adore RdP and last time I was in Scent Bar in L.A. in early spring, the price had just dropped to $170. from $220. Now when the hell does THAT ever happen??!! Bought a back-up bottle. Of course!😂 October 12, 2016 at 2:22pm Reply

        • Victoria: Your course sounds fantastic. I also like Annemarie Schimmel’s books about Rumi, but when it comes to translations of his poetry, it’s hard to find the ideal ones.

          Prices falling? You’re right, it hardly ever happens. October 13, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

      • Christine Kalleeny: For my second year wedding anniversary, which is today, I posted this Rumi verse that I love:

        “When I am with you, we stay up all night.
        When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
        Praise God for those two insomnias!
        And the difference between them.”
        ― Rumi October 12, 2016 at 2:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: So beautiful! October 13, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

        • Victoria: And congratulations on your wedding anniversary, Christine! Many more wonderful years of happiness to you two. October 13, 2016 at 9:31am Reply

          • Christine Kalleeny: Thank you Victoria for your kind words and for bringing Hafez to life in our olfactory imaginations! By the way, have you listed to his poetry sung by the Mohammed Reza Shajarian? His voice rends my heart in two, especially when singing Hafez. October 13, 2016 at 1:35pm Reply

            • Victoria: On my first day in Tehran I went into a music store and asked to recommend me something traditional. “You would like Shajarian,” said a sales associate, and he was right. I am going to hear his son, Homayoun Shajarian, perform in Brussels later this month. October 14, 2016 at 5:35am Reply

              • Christine Kalleeny: Wow that should be an amazing experience! By the way, I had forgotten to send you the Abu Nuwas (9th century poet, Baghdad) poems! I’ve been so busy and swept away by obligations that I never took the time to honor my promise to send you his extremely sensuous and yet very often tongue-in-cheek wine praises that are replete with references to Persian gardens and fragrant garlands. Like Hafez, he has no tolerance for hypocracy; yet he expresses that disdain for religious puritanism with scathing lampoons aimed at men of religion and licentious verses that push the limits of sexual and gender boundaries in a way that can still shock the modern audience. I always tell my students he’s like the medieval Arab Dionysos or the poetic equivalent of the Rolling Stones or Queen.

                Anyway… I can tell by your refined literary sensibility that you’d really love his work. October 14, 2016 at 8:38am Reply

                • Victoria: Thank you very much, Christine. I just downloaded a sample of “Abu Nawas: A Genuis of Poetry”, Philip Kennedy’s translation. Are you familiar with it? Is it any good? October 15, 2016 at 4:20am Reply

                  • Christine Kalleeny: Hi Victoria,

                    Great choice. Kennedy was my dissertation advisor. I wrote my dissertation as a comparative study on wine and intoxicating figures in Abu Nuwas’s poems and Plato’s Symposium.

                    I strongly suggest, for deeper reading, his monumental: The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry. The translations are beautiful and he situates his poetry within the larger framework of the pre-Islamic and Ummayyad traditions of love poetry and lampoon.

                    Enjoy! October 18, 2016 at 8:16am Reply

                    • Victoria: Oh, good! And what a fascinating dissertation topic!

                      The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry doesn’t seem to be available, so I will have check it out at the library. Sounds like a great work, and I already like Kennedy’s translations. October 18, 2016 at 11:12am

              • maja: I prefer Homayoun’s voice to his father’s voice, a bit more modern and understandable for beginners:) October 15, 2016 at 4:15pm Reply

                • Victoria: I’m not as familiar with Homayoun, so I look forward to hearing him live. Certainly, his father was my introduction to the Iranian classical music. October 16, 2016 at 9:42am Reply

  • kekasmais: How high people raise their eyebrow when I mention Iran as a place that’s high on my travel bucket list. And what a loss for them, to let a handful of decades worth of contention and hostility color their perception of a civilization that reaches back nearly to the dawn of man. This summer, I had the privilege of catching the Met’s exhibits on medieval Syrian and Iranian art and art from the age of the Seljuqs before they closed. It was astounding to see how diversified many of the motifs were: a ten-pointed tile bearing the likeness of a gryphon, an Arabic translation of Dioscorides’ “De Materia Medica”, a jug girdled with harpies and sphinxes. This blossoming of culture, art patronage and technological achievement that remains quite unmatched, largely started by the immigration of artists from Iran to the outer regions of the Seljuq empire as a result of the Mongol conquest of 1220. It’s essential to consider than when poets like Hafez and Rumi wrote passionately about universal love among human beings, it’s because — if only for a breath of time — we might have reached something resembling that high ideal.

    Another wonderful read and history lesson from you (I don’t know how much feedback you’ve had, but I’m adoring this Perfume in the Library series!), and thank you especially for the translations recs. If decent translations of Rumi and the Rubaiyat are hard to sniff out, then Hafez is even more so since he’s admittedly less well known in the West. Robert Bly’s work on “The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door” is probably the best I’ve found so far…

    I believe everyone before me has already suggested my own first picks for a Hafez-worthy perfume. A few weeks ago, I slipped on two or three drops of Regina Harris’ Frankincense – Myrrh – Rose Maroc perfume oil before climbing into bed. Understandably, a few reviews I read marked this one as “sexy”, “smoldering”, “sensual”. But frankincense and myrrh by default have such spiritual connotations for me that the first word I thought of when I smelled it was “heavenly”. I imagine that if Hafez had a personal ideal for what the divine realm might smell like, this would come pretty close. October 12, 2016 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Karen A: Isn’t that an amazing fragrance? I’ve had a small vial for two years, and it is just perfect when craving a contemplative/transformative scent. October 12, 2016 at 11:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: People’s perceptions of Iran are influenced too much by its conflict with the US and the one-sided media portrayal of the country as a dour place. Or people seem to think that it’s war-torn and dangerous. It was easily one of the most interesting trips I’ve had, and the best part was the people. Very friendly, warm and hospitable. The cultural riches were something else. I wasn’t blind to the issues–and people, young and old, were open to talk about politics, economics, their dreams and their frustrations. The point is that Iran is a large, diverse country, and it can’t be reduced to the mullahs and chadors. So, if you have a chance to go, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

      In Iran Hafez is the poet of references. People divine future by opening his books at random.

      Now I must find this Regina Harris perfume. I had a sample a while ago, but I don’t remember it well. October 13, 2016 at 9:47am Reply

  • kayliz: Oscillating between Mohur and La Fille de Berlin… I think it has to be La Fille de Berlin. Mohur is beautiful, complex, rich, but it’s also (to me) somehow measured and restrained. La Fille de Berlin is much more generous, devil-may-care, outspoken, extravagant… and it leaves a wine stain:) October 12, 2016 at 4:09pm Reply

    • Surbhi: Nice way to describe the perfume. I was in the mood “I don’t give a damn”. And I picked le fille today. Now reading your comment made me chuckle. October 12, 2016 at 11:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I love its color. October 13, 2016 at 9:48am Reply

  • Maggie Mahboubian: I really loved reading your post and living vicariously through your vision and understanding of Persian poetry.

    Hopefully someday I will revisit Hafez’ tomb in Shiraz. Enjoy your trip! October 12, 2016 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Maggie. I do hope so too, because I know how much you would find there to inspire your perfumes. October 13, 2016 at 9:49am Reply

  • Alicia: From Anacreon to Omar Khayyam, from the Roman de la Rose to Calderón de la Barca, from Dante to Yeats, and Milton to Borges (who wrote an extraordinary poem “Milton’s Rose”, the rose of the blind man), your beautiful essay took me into a journey through them all, the cherished roses in the gardens of my memory. And then, rereading your words, I remembered an experience I had last year, when entering a small chapel of contemplative nuns, and being immersed in a scent of roses, sandal and soft incense. That is the fragrance of contemplative love, Hafez’s rose. October 12, 2016 at 6:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a beautiful image, Alicia! October 13, 2016 at 9:50am Reply

  • Alicia: Victoria, a little gift:
    A Rose and Milton
    By Jorge Luis Borges
    Translated by A.Z. Foreman

    Amid the generations of the rose
    That in the deep of ages lie long gone
    I want one to be spared oblivion,
    Unmarked and undistinguished among those
    Bygone. I am bequeathed by destiny
    The privilege of bestowing the first name
    Upon that silent rose, the last and same
    Flower that Milton held and could not see
    Before his face. O you vermillion, white
    Or yellow rose from a garden long erased,
    Your immemorial past, by magic placed
    In the one present, is this verse’s light:
    Gold, ivory, or blood, the shades enclose
    You, as his fingers once, invisible rose. October 12, 2016 at 7:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much. What a perfect gift this is! October 13, 2016 at 9:50am Reply

  • Karen A: Many thanks for sharing Hafiz! Most everyone knows Rumi, but Hafiz is still not as well known. One of my favorite lines of his, “This sky where we live is no place to lose your wings, so Love Love Love.”

    And as for perfume, one part of me can imagine a rich amber, maybe over a rose. Which amber and which rose, that’s the question! October 12, 2016 at 11:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: According to BBC, Rumi is the most popular (best-selling, which seems to be the same thing in their eyes) poet in the US.

      Hafez is not as well-known, although it’s just today. He influenced Goethe, for instance. Goethe’s West–östlicher Divan was inspired by Hafez’s poetry, as were many other poets. So popular were the verses a la Hafez that one German poet commented:

      They steal from its gardens the fruits of Shiraz,
      Overgorge—poor Souls!—and vomit ghazals. October 13, 2016 at 9:57am Reply

  • Jillie: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for introducing me to Hafez – I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know him or his work before, and am now bowled over by the beauty of his poetry. What a wonderful poet and person he was.

    Of course I can’t see the word Shiraz without thinking of my favourite wine ….. I’m sure Hafez would have loved a glass or two of this.

    As for perfume, the two that immediately popped into my head have already been mentioned: Ta’if and Nahema. I think their beautiful rosiness and middle eastern vibes would scent Hafez’s words well. October 13, 2016 at 1:57am Reply

    • Victoria: There is never any need to feel ashamed! On the contrary, it means that you can look forward to discovering something new and interesting.

      There are still vineyards in Shiraz, and grapes I had there were wonderful, but they mostly go into making vinegar. This Shirazi vinegar is sweet and aromatic, with a spicy note. You can use it as a regular vinegar or make a type of sweet-and-sour drink, which is ideal in the summer. October 13, 2016 at 9:59am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I think “Safran troublant” might make a good choice: red roses as well as saffron seem ideal for Persia. October 13, 2016 at 2:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, how could I forget about saffron! October 13, 2016 at 9:59am Reply

  • Hamamelis: Thank you for offering some of Hafez’s poetry. I am sure it will find a good home with many.

    When I think of Hafez, I think of Chamade, which I both came to know here on BdJ. For the hyacinths we need to spend some ‘money’ on, for its galbanum (learned here that it comes from Iran), for the rose, for its bottle which represents the feminine, for its many layers like the poems have and for its beauty that leaves a longing. October 13, 2016 at 6:26am Reply

    • Karen A: Chamade is so, so stunning! It was all I wore this past spring in to early summer. Love it’s complexity without being complicated. October 13, 2016 at 8:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Chamade, with all of its passionate connotations, would be such a wonderful choice. October 13, 2016 at 10:02am Reply

  • Hamamelis: PS thank you for the dog cognition link! I don’t do facebook, so sorry to comment here. I have raised our dog via the dog cognition way, and it has opened my eyes (and nose!!) to my own eye dominated world view, and I hope I have let go some of my human arrogance because of it. I have seen with my own eyes that my dog can smell if I lift my arm (when she can’t see me) and she smells my mood and many other things. And she understands a fair amount of Dutch, far beyond the normal sit commando’s. Quite uncanny! October 13, 2016 at 6:35am Reply

    • Sandra: Adorable!
      Love the relationship you and your pup have October 13, 2016 at 7:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m going to add a link here too
      Dogs Can Train Us To Have a Better Sense of Smell

      Your dog sounds like a great companion–and a very clever one. October 13, 2016 at 10:03am Reply

      • Austenfan: Dogs are the best! Thanks for the link. Watching a dog track a scent is wonderful, it makes you realise that their perception of the world is so different to ours. My dog was very nearly blind towards the end, but used her nose to get around, and was fine. October 13, 2016 at 1:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: And it’s so acute! October 14, 2016 at 5:39am Reply

          • Austenfan: This is such a great example of a (very young) dog using its nose, and having the time of its life.

            And back on topic, I love your enthusiasm for Iranian culture, the rose that instantly leapt to mind was Une Rose Nacrée du Désert. October 14, 2016 at 7:42am Reply

            • Victoria: That was too adorable for words. There is nothing cuter than the enthusiastic puppies who haven’t yet figured out how to coordinate their paws and tails. 🙂 October 15, 2016 at 4:21am Reply

  • Iuliana: Thank you, Victoria. It has to be a “dirty” rose (and La fille de Berlin was already mentioned) or something opulent but complex, Tauer-style for example. Although relatively far from Persia, Le Maroc pour elle? October 13, 2016 at 7:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Why not! It fits in spirit, I think. October 13, 2016 at 10:04am Reply

  • Klaas: Although not a rose perfume ‘pur sang’, I would love to add L’Heure Bleue to this rose scented list (Bulgarian Rose being one of its ingredients). The shimmering, smoldering & highly erotic 1980’s version that is, which knocked the breath out of me when I first smelt it as a teenager; such depth, such mystery, so many facets…an olfactory mosaic (or poem?) October 13, 2016 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that it’s perfect for all of the reasons you mentioned. October 14, 2016 at 5:33am Reply

  • Kandice: Victoria, thank you so much for this wonderful post about one of my all-time favorite poets. While I don’t have any perfume suggestions better than those already given, I do want to thank you for the translation recommendations. I’ve been searching for some better translations for awhile now. October 13, 2016 at 3:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: They’re all flawed, I have to say, but they’re among the best we have in English. Gray tends to be too literal. Ordoubadian sometimes chooses not to translate certain words or render them in curiously dry forms, but at least, he keeps some flow of Hafez’s originals. October 14, 2016 at 5:33am Reply

  • Anna: What a beautiful post on Hafiz! Linking the beautiful poetry with scent is just so right and what better scent than the rose. All the rose perfumes suggested are wonderful – Une Rose Chypre, Une Fille de Berlin and thick rich rose oil from Bulgaria also comes to mind. Poetry, scent and beauty are richly intertwined. October 13, 2016 at 9:44pm Reply

  • Tati: Wonderful post, I’ve just been reading about Shiraz recently. Hafiz incorporates both the masculine and feminine in his poetry, and since roses are popular for men in the Middle East and Iran, I’m thinking Papillon’s Tobacco Rose, which is dry and sensual– rose and hay and honey. Also Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit. October 14, 2016 at 2:46am Reply

    • Laurie: V, I’m confused. Is it Hafez or Hafiz? October 14, 2016 at 4:41am Reply

      • Victoria: In modern Persian, the poet’s name is pronounced as Hafez. Hafiz would be an old-fashioned pronunciation, but it’s also fine. October 14, 2016 at 5:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t yet tried Tobacco Rose, but judging based on her other perfumes, it must be a complex, layered thing. Your description is beautiful. October 14, 2016 at 5:26am Reply

  • maja: I haven’t read Hafez yet and neither Rumi because my love for (relatively) contemporary poetry has interfered with my reading 🙂 Ever since I found about Forugh Farrokhzad I’ve been reading her poems translated in other languages I know. Remarkable especially if her short and tragic life is taken into consideration. Here’s a couple of verses from her poem Window:

    When my trust was suspended from the fragile thread of justice
    and in the whole city
    they were chopping up my heart’s lanterns
    when they would blindfold me
    with the dark handkerchief of Law
    and from my anxious temples of desire
    fountains of blood would squirt out
    when my life had become nothing
    but the tic-tac of a clock,
    I discovered
    I must
    must love,
    insanely. October 15, 2016 at 4:29pm Reply

  • April: My nose goes to prosaic Voleur de Roses.
    This post refreshed me.
    Thank you. October 16, 2016 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not prosaic at all! Such a beautiful perfume. October 17, 2016 at 5:14am Reply

  • Golnareh: I just read this amazing post that you did on Hafez a couple of years ago. How strange that scent has moved to the realm of food in our culture. Our Attaries, contrary to what the name suggests are now places where only herbal medicine is practiced and mixed and sold. I imagine at one time they must have mixed scents as well. As for a scent for Hafez, I realise he speaks of scattering rose petals here, and that he refers to Rose a lot in his poems. But he also has a lot of Narcissus in his poems. Narcissus was a symbol for eyes, you see. And Shiraz is the city of orange blossoms. All streets grow heavy with the heady scent of orange blossoms in Ordibehesht, second month of Spring. We also burn esfand, frankincense, Rose, and incense a lot in our homes. So there is that. Also a bit of musc is required for a poet such as Hafez. The other ingredient which may surprise you is pine. Another element which symbolises a beautiful figure and posture. We call it Sarv é naz in Farsi, as opposed to the other sarv. April 12, 2018 at 3:34pm Reply

  • Jafar: I love the piece and it is amazing how I landed here. Thank you for writing! July 16, 2021 at 2:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Jafar. July 20, 2021 at 3:57am Reply

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