January 1837 St Petersburg , Russia
An olfactory journey, retelling firebrand poet Aleksandr Pushkin's fateful duel.
Aleksandr opens with stoic, almost sharp and frosted notes of vodka and birch leaves, mysterious and foreshadowing. We wait as Pushkin prepares toilette, neroli and violet create the effect of Pushkin's cologne.
Sweet violet leaf intertwines with leather and powdery orris (iris root), invoking an almost warm hay accord transporting us to the forest as Aleksandr rides to face his foe.
Aleksandr finishes on a melancholic base of towering fir balsam trees, leathery birch tar and animalic musk.
'He mounts the sledge, with daylight fading:
``Make way, make way,'' goes up the shout;
his collar in its beaver braiding
glitters with hoar-frost all about.'
A. Pushkin. Eugene Onegin (tr. Ch. Johnston)