Bitter

  • Black Ice 2013

    Lovely, dangerous, slick, and bitterly cold: chilly white sleet-like notes with a hint of vetiver, a breath of smoky asphalt, and winter wind.

  • Eau de Ghoul

    They all started telling stories, then, of how fine and wonderful a thing it was to be a ghoul, of all the things they had crunched up and swallowed down with their powerful teeth. Impervious they were to disease or illness, said one of them. Why, it didn’t matter what their dinner had died of, they could just chomp it down. They told of the places they had been, which mostly seemed to be catacombs and plague-pits (“Plague Pits is good eatin’,” said the Emperor of China, and everyone agreed.) They told Bod how they had got their names and how he, in his turn, once he had become a nameless ghoul, would be named, as they had been.

    “But I don’t want to become one of you,” said Bod.

    “One way or another,” said the Bishop of Bath and Wells, cheerily, “you’ll become one of us. The other way is messier, involves being digested, and you’re not really around very long to enjoy it.”

    “But that’s not a good thing to talk about,” said the Emperor of China.”Best to be a Ghoul. We’re afraid of nuffink!”

    And all the ghouls around the coffin-wood fire howled at this statement, and growled and sang and exclaimed at how wise they were, and how mighty, and how fine it was to be scared of nothing.

    Dessicated skin coated in blackened ginger, cinnamon, and mold-flecked dirt, with cumin, bitter clove, leather, and dried blood.

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  • Firethorn Berry Tea

    It’s a little bitter.

    I’m afraid nothing gentle ever grows in this land, Edith – You need a measure of bitterness – not to be eaten. To survive…

  • In Time of Plague

    Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss!
    This world uncertain is:
    Fond are life’s lustful joys,
    Death proves them all but toys.
    None from his darts can fly;
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!

    Rich men, trust not in wealth,
    Gold cannot buy you health;
    Physic himself must fade;
    All things to end are made;
    The plague full swift goes by;
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!

    Beauty is but a flower
    Which wrinkles will devour;
    Brightness falls from the air;
    Queens have died young and fair;
    Dust hath closed Helen’s eye;
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!

    Strength stoops unto the grave,
    Worms feed on Hector brave;
    Swords may not fight with fate;
    Earth still holds ope her gate;
    Come, come! the bells do cry;
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!

    Wit with his wantonness
    Tasteth death’s bitterness;
    Hell’s executioner
    Hath no ears for to hear
    What vain art can reply:
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!

    Haste therefore each degree
    To welcome destiny;
    Heaven is our heritage,
    Earth but a player’s stage.
    Mount we unto the sky;
    I am sick, I must die—
    Lord, have mercy on us!
    – Thomas Nashe

    Blackened roses against a backdrop of velvet opoponax, bitter clove, and tobacco abosolute.

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  • Looming Spectre of Inutterable Horror

    Arizona vs United States

    We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the States from regulating bubble-gum advertising, or even the construction of nuclear plants. We are talking about a federal law going to the core of state sovereignty: the power to exclude.

    The Court opinion’s looming specter of inutterable horror—“[i]f §3 of the Arizona statute were valid, every State could give itself independent authority to prosecute federal registration violations”—seems to me not so horrible and even less looming.

    If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.

    Wherein Scalia channels Lovecraft: raw frankincense and tobacco absolute with Russian leather, blackened champaca, bitter clove, red patchouli, bourbon vanilla and petitgrain.

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  • Opium Poppy

    Opium teaches only one thing, which is that aside from physical suffering, there is nothing real. A bitter, soft, fragile flower.

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  • Palus Putridinis

    The Marsh of Corruption: murky patchouli and dank oakmoss drowning in a mire of leathery bourbon vanilla, bitter clove, bog cypress, cumin, and vetiver.

  • The Hell-Gate of Ireland 2013

    The Cave of Cruachan in Connaught, a province that was given to the Formorians after the Battle of Mag Tuired. On the first of November, a flock of malevolent copper-colored birds bursts forth from the mouth of the cave, ushering a host of restless ghosts and wicked goblins that torment the living by blighting crops, killing livestock, stealing away brides-to-be, and replacing infants with changelings.

    Smoldering brimstone, bitter labdanum, clove, black musk, and copper-colored feathers.

  • Totentanz

    Shadow musk and blood musk with opoponax, aged patchouli, leather accord, black pepper, and bitter clove.

  • Troll

    They call me Troll;
    Gnawer of the Moon,
    Giant of the Gale-blasts,
    Curse of the rain-hall,
    Companion of the Sibyl,
    Nightroaming hag,
    Swallower of the loaf of heaven.
    What is a Troll but that?

    A lurching, hateful, bitter scent. This is a gruesome blend of ghastly greens and blacks: vetiver, pine pitch, troll musk, black basil, clove smoke, and scorched cumin.

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  • VILF

    Because isn't that what this book is really about? Vampire smut: patchouli-infused honey, red musk, red sandalwood, red ginger, pink pepper, Peru balsam, dark Eastern florals, Himalayan cedar, smoky vanilla, bitter clove, and leather.

  • Village Legend Lives Long

    I had seen maps of the town, and knew where to find the home of my people. It was told that I should be known and welcomed, for village legend lives long; so I hastened through Back Street to Circle Court, and across the fresh snow on the one full flagstone pavement in the town, to where Green Lane leads off behind the Market house. The old maps still held good, and I had no trouble; though at Arkham they must have lied when they said the trolleys ran to this place, since I saw not a wire overhead. Snow would have hid the rails in any case. I was glad I had chosen to walk, for the white village had seemed very beautiful from the hill; and now I was eager to knock at the door of my people, the seventh house on the left in Green Lane, with an ancient peaked roof and jutting second story, all built before 1650.

    The scent of ancient families harboring ancient secrets: thin dribbles of frankincense, bitter cistus, hollow myrrh, pale chamomile, and dark, furtive opoponax.