Meo Fusciuni (real name Giuseppe Imprezzabile) seems to be a rather spiritually-based man, a versatile artist with a love of travel.
Many of his previous creations already have referred to various travels (1# nota di viaggio – rites de passage, 2# nota di viaggio – shukran, 3#nota di viaggio – ciavuru d’amuri…).
The scent of Varanasi was supposed to be (and I hope it will be) an introduction to another travel trilogy, this time called “Timeless Trilogy”.
Well, man proposes, but Covid disposes, and poor Giuseppe sits at home and thinks of Pinocchio …. oh sorry, that was Geppetto. So he’s just sitting at home. I feel his pain a lot, I crave to travel myself and this sitting at home and waiting for better times is quite tiresome (although of course I’m very grateful that thanks to today’s medicine it doesn’t have a much worse impact and I feel a little spoiled).
But I firmly hope that sooner or later it will all be over and the trilogy will continue.
So far, let’s focus on the first peace.
The holiest city of Hinduism. The city of the god Shiva and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. A place where it is believed that when someone dies in it, it is freed from the constant cycle of life, the samsara, and his soul will be liberated. That is why there are so many funeral rituals, which consist in burning the dead and scattering their ashes into the waters of the sacred Ganges River.
The journey there obviously strongly influenced Mea, because, in addition to the perfume, he also published a poem and his travel diary.
Even the perfume he created inspired by his journey is strongly influenced by the spirituality of the place.
Instead of the usual perfume pyramid, Meo decided to base i’s creation on a square. The square is one of the most important symbols of Hinduism, a symbol of the balance of opposites, the cosmic order, worshipping 4 springs of the river Ganges, which are also places of pilgrimage, associated with 4 temples, 4 ages of Hinduism.
These 4 sides are made up of spicy (saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, Indian incense), floral (rose, jasmine), woody (cypriol, ambrette), and animal components (vetiver, oud, nard, and gurjun balm, trying to emulate the chord of animal tones), but to the center, to the heart, he inserted aquatic tones, focusing attention on the sacred waters of the river Ganges.
Mandala of Scents
And here we basically get to the olfactory mandala.
The mandala is formed by a circle embedded in a square, it is a representation of the integrity of the universe, where the inner part (circle) is an expression of spirituality – and there Meo inserts his aquatic tones dedicated to the river Ganges – and the square is an expression of everything profane. Their union in the mandala should help unite the secular and the spiritual.
Meo Fusciuni completed his trip to India in 2017, but even two years later, when he found a chord that perfectly reconstructs the real ambergris, he decided to actually make the Varanasi perfume. It is based mainly on a photograph of him leaning towards the waters of the Ganges River at sunrise.
And what is my impression of it?
When I first time smelled the sample (yes, that’s exactly what discourage anybody to do 😀), my first reaction was …. this is what I wear already!!! Does the gentleman know that he reassembled the good old Vega from Guerlain, bless her precious memory?
And indeed, on the skin, it takes a similar direction at some points. It is interesting because it is quite a different scent. Maybe it’s animal tones in combination with rose and jasmine, maybe it’s a complete coincidence, but there are certain junction points.
Of course, except for aldehydes. Aldehydes are very intensive in Vega, but Varanasi does not contain them at all. Instead of it, there is that aquatic heart.
Overall, it is a very interesting and atypical combination of a water component with relatively typical oriental ingredients. Basically, almost everything (perhaps except sandalwood) that we would get in the scent depicting India is there, but as if laterally. As if swinging on a water surface, not quite calm, like a stream of river pulling fallen flowers, woods, spilled spices, fragrance ingredients, and incenses used in rituals on the shore.
Unlike the “sharp” Vega, this one smells soft. Not weak, but soft. It’s soft, smooth, a little zoic. Like a cuddly pet that comes to us when we burn Indian incense sticks for a more pleasant atmosphere.
I am not sure if this is the correct dramatic picture of an ancient city and posthumous rituals.
But it might be a picture of the peace of mind that everyone is looking for there.
“Drink and die, smell and fly”
Each human’s moment is a legacy of his own time, through my eyes, it’s gold, in the western form of vacuum. Like a Sadhu covered in white ash, I would like this mixture to coat my soul.
Varanasi, the place of truth, of passage, of the ritual, in which the cicadas do not sing because they are observing man, that become ritual in every daily gesture. Where spirituality sublimates the human being, where the air contemplates the body, where souls ask not to go back, where even our hearts will try to find refuge.
Oh my Lord, how can I ask for Your Grace? As you carry the water that will pass through here a thousand more times for many millennia to come? Yet I saw the Sacred River halt its steady flowing and look at me, showing me its body, its truth.
As if something unattainable existed for our mind in those waters, the incessant rituals before my eyes. Bring water on your head and wait for the time.
So many lights at dawn, how many shores around us. I only saw one sunrise, I saw only one shore. I am dying by fire and from the shore I am leaving, far, far away.
So much ash on that boat, how many oars against the tide, I was just a little speck, I was the current.