The Book of Hours Suite

A CONTEMPLATIVE TRILOGY: “The Book of Hours suite is composed by three perfumes that take references from the medieval Paleography studies carried out by Ricardo Ramos with Stanford University / USA. This is an olfactory journey through medieval monastic activities, with an aim of capturing their intriguing mysticism, from the intimate erudite atmosphere of the scriptoriums , spinning around the olfactory references of cobblestone courtyards and gardens in cloisters and abbeys, detaching the mystical concept from liturgical aspects and the use of incense, to represent the human and material side of this environment fully charged with spirituality

HOUSE: Ricardo Ramos
FRAGRANCES: Book of Hours: Iron Gall, Rosary, Vellum
COST: Suite of 3 / $227

Iron Gall: In a perfume that nods to an ancient, fermented vegetable-based ink mixed with iron and tannins that was used to write upon handmade parchment from the 5-19th centuries this cognac-colored perfume is definitely one of those true, unique anomalies. First thing I get is a wonderfully fruity and room-filling patchouli forwardness that is rich like honey. Wow. I was expecting, by all accounts, for this to be altogether one of those heavy sinkers, but instead this is imbued with a certain lightness that defies its color and some of its parts. Woods, spices like saffron and amber create a reverent, psyche cleansing fragrance. There too lurks this strangely unidentifiable accord that is somewhat like concord grape or unripe fig. Actually, I’m reviewing this while having my morning latte, and I have to say what an incredible synergy that is happening there alone. Though this includes Japanese citrus it is only present at the very top and then swirls away, and I’m left with a barren dry field of lavender but at a bit of a distance. There’s a toned down bitterness of complex greenness and something rustic and earthy. Moreover its the dazzling the combination of patchouli and spice that paints a timeless environment, even as the herbaceous side retreats into the softer glow of musk. That said, this has the semblance of the great outdoors and is not lost in a time that humanity has forgot, it is rather enduring. This has a cerebral effect, and is mostly quite calming from the mid point onward. (85%)

Nose: Ricardo Ramos
Notes: Yuzu, Hinoki, Salt, Black Pepper, Lavender, Sandalwood, Saffron, Patchouli, Styrax, Cedar, Galbanum, Oak Moss, Amber, Musk

Rosary: Having grown up in a very Irish Catholic household (my granny had a brogue, dontcha know!), the concept of a Rosary is forever embedded in my consciousness — but I hadn’t previously associated this beaded necklace with the olfactory, not until now that is. First to meet my passages is this sweet and soft Turkish rose, oh its delicate but stoic. Surrounded by spices and a mineral flatness the peppered greenery is hidden behind veils of solitude. I can still remember kneeling on a pew alongside my aunt (a nun) in a mountaintop chapel right outside of the Boston airport where I grew up. I remember the silence, the murmurs like a soft hum. This is like that with a bellowing, mentholated, open-airiness. It’s romantic, but for the love of the great beyond rather than a specific fellow human. It feels more like looking back into memory than anything else, like sorting through an old archive of photographs, of what once was. In the mid this gives off a rosy, soapy blush. This has a feminine (intuitive) spirit and I’m here for it. This will seem mysterious to some, and it’s not super light as it builds on your skin, but its also not like wearing a heavy cloak and repenting – it’s more the act of becoming one with the colossal construct of goddesses, gods, and angels of choice – or Mother Nature as it were. A sweeping revelation in fragrance, especially for rose lovers, this is a great second cousin of their Maverick’s Rose fragrance, but altogether in its own corner. (87%)

Nose: Jorge Lee
Notes: Hinoki, Eucalyptus, Stone Paver Accord, Turkish Rose, Pink Pepper, Pepper Seeds, Galbanum, Oak Moss, Sandalwood, Musk, Ambergris

Vellum: Now, for a mindful pairing with Iron Gall is the actual writing foil, the parchment, made with calf skin membrane back in its origins – oh, how we humans have evolved! It may sound gross to think that paper once came from such a source, but the modern day printing press would not really take flight until German inventor Johannes Gutenberg came along in the mid 1400’s to reinvent the medium. And now, save a tree (and a calf), the paperless internet has become the global staple, whodathunkit? Does anyone still know what penmanship is (?), write an actual letter (?), have a ream of paper handy? Universal questions…but I digress. Of the three perfumes here this is the most elusive. It seeps into the subconscious so delicately, almost transparent and airy at first, but don’t be fooled, it has this sense of chill, with the most faded citrus and evergreen. Think a dry gin martini in hand while steeped in a bubble bath. Pop, pop, pop. There’s pale sweetness that lingers with a skin-like scent like pores screaming for a serious moisturization session. Kind of like paper that readily absorbs ink. This is heady, but trust me, don’t think about it, just sit back and relax, pour your every thought from your pores on to the surface of your tablet, recycled scraps – just let it out. This is a leather fragrance with the lightest dusting of flowers when it comes right down to brass tacks, though it’s far from brassy, it’s classy. Woody essences illuminate in the final chapter. This made me think. Ahhhhhh. (88%)

Nose: Ricardo Ramos
Notes: Juniper Spirits, Suede, Cypress, Yuzu, Ginger, Verbena, Hyacinth, Human Sweat, Saffron, Cedar, Sandalwood, Leather, Musk

Recommended Soundtrack:
EnigmaThe Cross Of Changes (1993, Virgin)


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