The Coraline Collection.
This series is based on the characters, locations, and ideas found within the pages of Neil Gaiman’s novel, ‘Coraline’.
This is a charitable, not-for-profit venture: proceeds from every single bottle go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which works to preserve and protect the First Amendment rights of the comics community.
Artwork on this page by Vera Brosgol!
PERFUME OIL BLENDS
$26.00 per 5ml bottle.
Presented in an amber apothecary glass vial.
Because of the nature of this project, imps are unavailable.
“What should I do?” asked Coraline.
“Read a book,” said her mother. “Watch a video. Play with your toys. Go and pester Miss Spink or Miss Forcible, or the crazy old man upstairs.”
“No,” said Coraline. “I don't want to do those things. I want to explore.”
Dry grass, clean skin, and a little bit of mossy berry.Add to cart
Miss Spink and Miss Forcible lived in the flat below Coraline's, on the ground floor. They were both old and round, and they lived in their flat with a number of ageing Highland terriers who had names like Hamish and Andrew and Jock. Once upon a time Miss Spink and Miss Forcible had been actresses, as Miss Spink told Coraline the first time she met her.
“You see, Caroline,” Miss Spink said, getting Coraline's name wrong, “both myself and Miss Forcible were famous actresses, in our time. We trod the boards, luvvy. Oh, don't let Hamish eat the fruitcake, or he'll be up all night with his tummy.”
A classic vintage musk.
Both Miss Spink and Miss Forcible scents have a bit of tea splash and biscuit crumbs.Add to cart
Miss Spink and Miss Forcible lived in the flat below Coraline’s, on the ground floor. They were both old and round, and they lived in their flat with a number of ageing Highland terriers who had names like Hamish and Andrew and Jock. Once upon a time Miss Spink and Miss Forcible had been actresses, as Miss Spink told Coraline the first time she met her.
“You see, Caroline,” Miss Spink said, getting Coraline’s name wrong, “both myself and Miss Forcible were famous actresses, in our time. We trod the boards, luvvy. Oh, don’t let Hamish eat the fruitcake, or he’ll be up all night with his tummy.”
“It’s Coraline. Not Caroline, Coraline,” said Coraline.
A grand, over-the-top tuberose gardenia.
Both Miss Spink and Miss Forcible scents have a bit of tea splash and biscuit crumbs.Add to cart
In the flat above Coraline’s, under the roof, was a crazy old man with a big mustache. He told Coraline that he was training a mouse circus. He wouldn’t let anyone see it.
“One day, little Caroline, when they are all ready, everyone in the whole world will see the wonders of my mouse circus. You ask me why you cannot see it now. Is that what you asked me?”
“No,” said Coraline quietly, “I asked you not to call me Caroline. It’s Coraline.”
“The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,” said the man upstairs, “is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed. Also, they refuse to play the songs I have written for them. All the songs I have written for the mice to play go oompah oompah. But the white mice will only play toodle oodle, like that. I am thinking of trying them on different types of cheese.”
A toodle oodle of pink cotton candy noses, vanilla spun sugar fur, scattered kernels of popcorn, and a touch of polished golden wood.Add to cart
“The man in the top flat. Mister Bobo. Fine old circus family, I believe. Romanian or Slovenian or Livonian, or one of those countries. Bless me, I can never remember them anymore.”
It had never occurred to Coraline that the crazy old man upstairs actually had a name, she realized. If she’d known his name was Mr. Bobo she would have said it every chance she got. How often do you get to say a name like “Mr. Bobo” aloud?
Cooking herbs, pickles, and mouse fur.Add to cart
There was a polite noise from behind her.
She turned around. Standing on the wall next to her was a large black cat, identical to the large black cat she’d seen in the grounds at home.
“Good afternoon,” said the cat.
Its voice sounded like the voice at the back of Coraline’s head, the voice she thought words in, but a man’s voice, not a girl’s.
“Hello,” said Coraline. “I saw a cat like you in the garden at home. You must be the other cat.”
The cat shook its head. “No,” it said. “I’m not the other anything. I’m me.” It tipped its head to one side; green eyes glinted. “You people are spread all over the place. Cats, on the other hand, keep ourselves together. If you see what I mean.”
“I suppose. But if you’re the same cat I saw at home, how can you talk?”
Cats don’t have shoulders, not like people do. But the cat shrugged, in one smooth movement that started at the tip of its tail and ended in a raised movement of its whiskers. “I can talk.”
“Cats don’t talk at home.”
“No?” said the cat.
“No,” said Coraline.
The cat leaped smoothly from the wall to the grass near Coraline’s feet. It stared up at her.
“Well, you’re the expert on these things,” said the cat dryly. “After all, what would I know? I’m only a cat.”
Sleek, black, dark, and clever: benzoin, honey, cedar, and dark musk.Add to cart
The other mother took the bacon from under the grill and put it on a plate. Then she slipped the cheese omelette from the pan onto the plate, flipping it as she did so, letting it fold itself into a perfect omelette shape.
She placed the breakfast plate in front of Coraline, along with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a mug of frothy hot chocolate.
“Yes,” she said. “I think I like this game. But what kind of game shall it be? A riddle game? A test of knowledge or of skill?
“An exploring game,” suggested Coraline. “A finding-things game.”
“And what is it you think you should be finding in this hide-and-go-seek game, Coraline Jones?”
Coraline hesitated. Then, “My parents,” said Coraline. “And the souls of the children behind the mirror.”
The other mother smiled at this, triumphantly, and Coraline wondered if she had made the right choice. Still, it was too late to change her mind now.
“A deal,” said the other mother. “Now eat up your breakfast, my sweet. Don't worry-it won't hurt you.”
Coraline stared at the breakfast, hating herself for giving in so easily, but she was starving.
“How do I know you'll keep your word?” asked Coraline.
“I swear it,” said the other mother. “I swear it on my own mother's grave.”
“Does she have a grave?” asked Coraline.
“Oh yes,” said the other mother. “I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”
“Swear on something else. So I can trust you to keep your word.”
“My right hand,” said the other mother, holding it up. She waggled the long fingers slowly, displaying the clawlike nails. “I swear on that.”
Coraline shrugged. “Okay,” she said. “It's a deal.” She ate the breakfast, trying not to wolf it down. She was hungrier than she had thought.
As she ate, her other mother stared at her. It was hard to read expressions into those black button eyes, but Coraline thought that her other mother looked hungry, too.
She drank the orange juice, but even though she knew she would like it she could not bring herself to taste the hot chocolate.Add to cart
Coraline opened the front door and looked at the gray sky. She wondered how long it would be until the sun came up, wondered whether her dream had been a true thing while knowing in her heart that it had been. Something she had taken to be part of the shadows under the hall couch detached itself from beneath the couch and made a mad, scrabbling rush on its long white legs, heading for the front door.
Coraline's mouth dropped open in horror and she stepped out of the way as the thing clicked and scuttled past her and out of the house, running crablike on its too-many tapping, clicking, scurrying feet.
She knew what it was, and she knew what it was after. She had seen it too many times in the last few days, reaching and clutching and snatching and popping blackbeetles obediently into the other mother's mouth. Five-footed, crimson-nailed, the color of bone.
It was the other mother's right hand.
It wanted the black key.
A scrabbling, skittering, clacking scent: white as bone, black as a beetle, and red as blood – orris root, vetiver, and daemonorops.Add to cart
The boy with the dirty face stood up and hugged Coraline tightly. “Take comfort in this,” he whispered. “Th'art alive. Thou livest.”
And in her dream Coraline saw that the sun had set and the stars were twinkling in the darkening sky.
Coraline stood in the meadow, and she watched as the three children (two of them walking, one flying) went away from her across the grass, silver in the light of the huge moon.
The three of them came to a small wooden bridge over a stream. They stopped there and turned and waved, and Coraline waved back.
And what came after was darkness.
Bittersweet: the scent of forgetfulness, peace, and oblivion. Like asphodel petals on moonlit water.Add to cart
She looked around the room. It was so familiar-that was what made it feel so truly strange. Everything was exactly the same as she remembered: there was all her grandmother’s strange-smelling furniture, there was the painting of the bowl of fruit (a bunch of grapes, two plums, a peach and an apple) hanging on the wall, there was the low wooden table with the lion’s feet, and the empty fireplace which seemed to suck heat from the room.
But there was something else, something she did not remember seeing before. A ball of glass, up on the mantelpiece.
She went over to the fireplace, went up on tiptoes, and lifted it down. It was a snow globe, with two little people in it. Coraline shook it and set the snow flying, white snow that glittered as it tumbled through the water.
Then she put the snow globe back on the mantelpiece, and carried on looking for her true parents and for a way out.
Cold leaded glass, bone chip snow, and glycerin.Add to cart
“What happened to you all?” asked Coraline. “How did you come here?”
“She left us here,” said one of the voices. “She stole our hearts, and she stole our souls, and she took our lives away, and she left us here, and she forgot about us in the dark.”
“You poor things,” said Coraline. “How long have you been here?”
“So very long a time,” said a voice.
“Aye. Time beyond reckoning,” said another voice.
“I walked through the scullery door,” said the voice of the one that thought it might be a boy, “and I found myself back in the parlor. But she was waiting for me. She told me she was my other mamma, but I never saw my true mamma again.”
“Flee!” said the very first of the voices-another girl, Coraline fancied. “Flee, while there’s still air in your lungs and blood in your veins and warmth in your heart. Flee while you still have your mind and your soul.”
“I’m not running away,” said Coraline. “She has my parents. I came to get them back.”
“Ah, but she’ll keep you here while the days turn to dust and the leaves fall and the years pass one after the next like the tick-tick-ticking of a clock.”
“No,” said Coraline. “She won’t.”
There was silence then in the room behind the mirror.
“Peradventure,” said a voice in the darkness, “if you could win your mamma and your papa back from the beldam, you could also win free our souls.” “Has she taken them?” asked Coraline, shocked.
“Aye. And hidden them.”
“That is why we could not leave here, when we died. She kept us, and she fed on us, until now we’ve nothing left of ourselves, only snakeskins and spider husks. Find our secret hearts, young mistress.”
“And what will happen to you if I do?” asked Coraline.
The voices said nothing.
“And what is she going to do to me?” she said.
The pale figures pulsed faintly; she could imagine that they were nothing more than afterimages, like the glow left by a bright light in your eyes, after the lights go out.
“It doth not hurt,” whispered one faint voice.
“She will take your life and all you are and all you care’st for, and she will leave you with nothing but mist and fog. She’ll take your joy. And one day you’ll awake and your heart and your soul will have gone. A husk you’ll be, a wisp you’ll be, and a thing no more than a dream on waking, or a memory of something forgotten.”
“Hollow,” whispered the third voice. “Hollow, hollow, hollow, hollow, hollow.”
I based the scent on a description of the characters that Neil sent to me in an email:
“Well, I like the idea that it would contain flowers and flame and fairy things… but from so long ago that they’ve almost forgotten who they are. So it would be a ghost perfume….”
In the perfume, I also tried to capture the blue-violet-white of an afterimage and the silence of a snuffed candle. The scent is dry with age, taut with loss, grief, and heartbreak, and sorrowful in the unspeakable desolation of simply being forgotten.Add to cart