red: 1 post

My Name is Red : Perfumes That Evoke Scarlet

“I’m so fortunate to be red! I’m fiery. I’m strong. I know men take notice of me and that I cannot be resisted… Wherever I’m spread, I see eyes shine, passions increase, eyebrows rise and heartbeats quicken. Behold how wonderful it is to live! Behold how wonderful to see. I am everywhere. Life begins with and returns to me.”

This description of the color of blood and roses from Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red, has stayed with me ever since I first read the novel while studying perfumery. At the time, one of the exercises we were doing involved matching scents to colors, and so I started looking for a fragrance that evoked the same intensity as Pamuk’s description.

The obvious suspects like roses and raspberries were cast aside. I was after drama, rather than mere associations. Once while leafing through an album of Indian miniature paintings, I had an epiphany—sandalwood smells red. The 16th century vignettes painted during the Mughal era depicted women making sandalwood paste, and their activity reminded of the time I had spent in India, especially of the bright colors and smells.

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