Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Diptyque's Mysterious Oliban Transports Me Thousands of Miles & Thousands of Years

No photograph can truly convey the sensation of stepping into a cathedral, but the feeling is unlike anything else I've experienced in my entire life. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but in this case they seem paltry in comparison to what I can tell you about this feeling. Imagine a hot, humid day. The sun is beating relentlessly down on your back. You step within an immense ancient wooden door perhaps carved to perfection and laced with black metal accents. This door—nearly t-->hree times your height or moreseems to be a portal to another world. Immediately upon entering you feel the cool, damp air of this cathedral, its interior riddled with shadows. The stone building feels heavy above you and strange oneiric echos float through the air as if trapped there hundreds of years ago.

What I most notice when I step into a cathedral, even more than the cool air against my skin and beautiful rainbow shafts of light streaming through the stained glass windows is the incredibly rich smell of incense. Heavy, woodsy and ever present the perfume permeates the air and mingles with the earthy smell of the place to create an experience that borders on magical. If it's possible for one to feel this way upon entering a cathedral in the twenty-first century imagine the impact it would have made hundreds of years ago.


Smell is of course the strongest sense we have in association with our memory, so it's no surprise that Diptyque's rich Oliban reminds me of the interior of an old cathedral from the moment I set a match to the wick. Diptyque describes Oliban as follows: "a mysterious creation showcasing the precious resin frankincense. This fragrance will transport the user straight to the heart of the Arabian Nights." I can quite frankly assert that this candle perfumes a room unlike any other I've ever owned. Despite the fact that I'm immediately transported to a cathedral, the allusion to the Arabian Nights is incredibly accurate.  

(Left to right): La Cathédrale de Chartres, Chartres, France & Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris 6ème Arr, France


Oliban represents a different take on classic holiday fragrances, indeed a much older one. The three wise men of yore brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the nativity, and Diptyque's Holiday 2012 candles mirror these gifts, putting a modern spin on fragrances that have been forgotten to time. Oliban is of course the frankincense, Oud Ambré the myrrh (a resin originally obtained from trees much like our modern Oud) and Sapin Doré the gold. 

Packaged in glass inspired by the Arabian Nights, these candles are fit for a king and would make any holiday recipient overjoyed during the otherwise bleak midwinter. Have you had the opportunity to smell any of Diptyque's Holiday 2012 candles?