The Clarimonde Project, Part II

If you read my last post, you know there’s an exciting blog project swirling in the ether, inspired by the darkly romantic short story, Clarimonde. Romuald, who despite his passion for the priesthood, entered into an illicit love affair with the hypnotic Clarimonde, only to regret it for years to come. At the end of his tale, Romauld implores the reader,  “Never gaze upon a woman, and walk abroad only with eyes ever fixed upon the ground; for however chaste and watchful one may be, the error of a single moment is enough to make one lose eternity. Lose eternity.”

My heart ached for poor Romauld as I read of his love literally vanishing into dust before his eyes. His subsequent deep anguish regarding that love made me feel even more despondent. Thankfully, I was soothed by the post at ScentLessSensibilities, as Sheila picked up the story where the author Théophile Gautier left off. Her continuation of Clarimonde centers around Romauld’s housekeeper at the presbytery and a mysterious perfume she finds during a posthumous sorting of his chamber. The perfume that Sheila was inspired by, Immortal Mine, was created by Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl for The Clarimonde Project. It is rich and floral, inky and dark, but I’ll stop there. Go read ScentLessSensibilities‘ review as it is far more inspired than anything I could attempt.

My sadness for Romauld has also been assuaged by a gloriously comforting oud and frankincense based perfume by Mandy Aftel. Mandy’s Clarimonde-inspired Oud Luban smells of wooden pews and altars suffused with incense that has burned for centuries and centuries. Oud Luban is a solid perfume that holds eight different types of oud in its midst. Surprisingly, it is a subtle and supple oud that caresses with suede, etherial smoke and a smoothly aged patchouli. It is both sensual and reverential, and I hope Romauld found comfort in such an aroma in the wake of Clarimonde’s departure from his life.

The Clarimonde Project Part I
The Clarimonde Project Part III

Oud Luban is available at Aftelier Perfumes.

Samples of Immortal Mine will be available for purchase by contacting Maria and Alexis at

Image from

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by the above perfumers. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.Share

13 thoughts on “The Clarimonde Project, Part II

  1. I cannot wait to try these fragrances. Mandy’s Oud Luban sounds captivating – the Catholic schoolgirl in me misses the smell of a church!

    1. I was raised Episcopalian and I too miss that sometimes. Luckily we have perfumes to evoke those feelings without the trappings of a church 😉

  2. Dear Trish, I had a similar image with Oud Luban of weathered-treasured wood and also found the scent very comforting. It has an antique feel…agreed…

    1. It was lovely to read your experience with Oud Luban Monica. Very affirming 🙂 some Oud perfumes can be sharp and tangy
      But Mandy’s is so smooth and sensual. Such an intelligent blend of the higher mind and body.

  3. What a beautiful and poetic description of both perfumes! I can’t wait to smell them myself. The story is so inspirational and it’s fascinating to see how it unfolds and gets re-told by each perfumer and writer, adding more depth to this tale…

    1. Thanks so much Ayala, I cannot wait to give your Clarimonde pillow some dream time. It of course will only add to the depth you speak of

  4. Trish…thank you so much for mentioning my storied take on ‘Immortal Mine’, and for your own equally inspiring take! Don’t sell yourself so short! 😉 But this is a perfume and perfume prose project like no other, and it has been so incredibly inspiring to be a part of it – and to share our own individual perspectives. Clarimonde is such a haunting tale, and all our differing angles only deepen that perspective – and add to the haunting! 🙂

  5. Very haunting indeed! I find Romuald even more haunting after reading your truly brilliant continuation of the Clarimonde legacy. Maybe Clarimonde’s less tormenting but equally as passionate alter ego is now Séverine…might you fill us in regarding her trip to Paris?

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