A Picnic in Arkham
The Lovecraft Collection.
Scents inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos.
What, in substance, both the Esquimaux wizards and the Louisiana swamp-priests had chanted to their kindred idols was something very like this: the word-divisions being guessed at from traditional breaks in the phrase as chanted aloud:
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”
In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
PERFUME OIL BLENDS
Presented in an amber apothecary vial.
Al AzifSelect options
An Arabic term that refers to both the chirping of nocturnal insects and the ambient sound made by the chattering of demons. This is the original title of the feared Necronomicon, the Book of Dead Names, penned by the Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred.
Nor is it to be thought that man is either the oldest or the last of earth’s masters, or that the common bulk of life and substances walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread. By Their smell can men sometimes know Them near, but of Their semblance can no man know, saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from man’s truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken and the Rites howled through at their Seasons. The wind gibbers with Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites. Kadath in the cold waste hath known Them, and what man knows Kadath? The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of Ocean hold stones where Their seal is engraven, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles? Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold. Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet. Man rules now where They ruled once; They shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, and after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall They reign again.
A sinister, sinuous incense of summoning, a herald and paean to the Primordial Gods of Darkness, Chaos, Madness and Decay.
Behind everything crouched the brooding, festering horror of the ancient town, and of the mouldy, unhallowed garret gable where he wrote and studied and wrestled with figures and formulae when he was not tossing on the meager iron bed. His ears were growing sensitive to a preternatural and intolerable degree, and he had long ago stopped the cheap mantel clock whose ticking had come to seem like a thunder of artillery. At night the subtle stirring of the black city outside, the sinister scurrying of rats in the wormy partitions, and the creaking of hidden timbers in the centuried house, were enough to give him a sense of strident pandemonium. The darkness always teemed with unexplained sound – and yet he sometimes shook with fear lest the noises he heard should subside and allow him to hear certain other fainter noises which he suspected were lurking behind them.
He was in the changeless, legend-haunted city of Arkham, with its clustering gambrel roofs that sway and sag over attics where witches hid from the King’s men in the dark, olden years of the Province.
A shadowy, unapproachable forest of maple, birch, dogwood, cypress and pine softened by a garland of New England wildflowers: bergamot, columbine, rue anemone, blue violet, creeping phlox, bloodroot, toadflax, and pixie moss.
The Daemon Sultan, Seething Nuclear Chaos
…that last amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity — the boundless daemon-sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed flutes; to which detestable pounding and piping dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other Gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep.
Azathoth is the blind, idiot god who sits on a black throne at the center of Chaos. His scent is high-pitched and screeching, both impenetrably dark and searingly bright with the clarity of madness: tangerine, saffron, vetiver, black amber and cedarwood.
Brown JenkinSelect options
The yellowed country records containing her testimony and that of her accusers were so damnably suggestive of things beyond human experience – and the descriptions of the darting little furry object which served as her familiar were so painfully realistic despite their incredible details.
That object – no larger than a good-sized rat and quaintly called by the townspeople “Brown Jenkin – seemed to have been the fruit of a remarkable case of sympathetic herd-delusion, for in 1692 no less than eleven persons had testified to glimpsing it. There were recent rumours, too, with a baffling and disconcerting amount of agreement. Witnesses said it had long hair and the shape of a rat, but that its sharp-toothed, bearded face was evilly human while its paws were like tiny human hands. It took messages betwixt old Keziah and the devil, and was nursed on the witch’s blood, which it sucked like a vampire. Its voice was a kind of loathsome titter, and it could speak all languages. Of all the bizarre monstrosities in Gilman’s dreams, nothing filled him with greater panic and nausea than this blasphemous and diminutive hybrid, whose image flitted across his vision in a form a thousandfold more hateful than anything his waking mind had deduced from the ancient records and the modern whispers.
A small, furry, sharp-toothed scent that will nuzzle you curiously in the black hours before dawn: dusty white sandalwood and orris root, dry coconut husk, creeping musk, and the residue of ceremonial incense.
If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings… It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence…
A creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants and dark, unfathomable waters.
Miskatonic UniversitySelect options
A venerable New England university, whose vast library holds many rare, diabolical and obscure arcane works, including one of the few surviving legitimate copies of the Necronomicon. Home to innumerable scholars of the esoteric and the occult, and the notorious Dr. Herbert West.
The scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls.
Night GauntSelect options
No one ever found what the night-gaunts took, though those beasts themselves were so uncertain as to be almost fabulous. Carter asked them if night-gaunts sucked blood and liked shiny things and left webbed footprints, but they all shook their heads negatively and seemed frightened at his making such an inquiry. When he saw how taciturn they had become he asked them no more, but went to sleep in his blanket.
Their scent of their slick, rubbery hides is bittersweet, ticklish, and skin-creeping: something akin to yuzu, white grapefruit, and kumquat mixed with the snow-dusted flowers of Mount Ngranek.
And it was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like a Pharaoh. The fellahin knelt when they saw him, yet could not say why. He said he had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that he had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences – of electricity and psychology – and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of a nightmare.
Brooding, yet electric: the scent of buried secrets, roiling nightmares, the essence of the Crawling Chaos, the Father of Knives and Locusts, the Hunter in the Dark. This is the blackest of ritual incenses charged with flashes of ozone.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.The sunken city of the Great God Cthulhu. A hellishly dark aquatic scent, evocative of fathomless oceanic deeps, the mysteries of madness buried under crushing black waters, and the brooding eternal evil that lies beneath the waves.
It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train – a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.
An amorphous, radiant, incandescent scent. Ever changing, protoplasmic and primordial: white amber, green coconut meat, iris, palmarosa, Chinese peony, lime, water lily, snowdrop, muguet, lemongrass, osmanthus, wisteria, glassy musk, and hinoki.
Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, the All-Mother and wife of the Not-to-Be-Named-One.
The lust incense of a corrupted Astarte. A blend of ritual herbs and dark resins, shot through with three gingers and aphrodisiacal spices.
We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.
A great undersea metropolis located below Devil’s Reef. A swirling, lightless, effervescent scent: the deepest marine notes with bergamot, eucalyptus and foamy ambergris.