Cognac

  • 413 U.S. 15 / Miller vs. California

    In 1974, a court ruling established a litmus test for obscenity in the United States. Does the First Amendment protect dirty birds? Yes, and no; it depends on where you are and what your neighbors perceive as naughty. The Court’s majority opinion stated that material could only be defined as obscene if

    “(a) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; [and] (b) the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”
    If all three conditions are satisfied, voilà! — your work is obscene.

    But is it art?

    Although a work considered to have literary, artistic, political, or scientific value cannot, in theory, constitutionally be found to be obscene regardless of whether it appeals to prurient interest or is patently offensive, the question lies in how we can possibly determine with certainty whether or not a film, photograph, tale, or limerick has social value when philosophical and moral compasses vary so wildly from person to person and community to community.

    Is a perfume inspired by an 18th Century painting of a dildo obscene?

    What would your friends and neighbors say?

    413 U.S. 15 / MILLER VS CALIFORNIA
    Leather, cognac, fig, ripe berry, and cream, stuffed into a plain brown paper bag.

    Proceeds from the sale of this scent benefits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

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  • A Certain Nameless Awe

    But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple — through the purple to the green — through the green to the orange — through this again to the white — and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him.

    Death unimpeded: bone-white sandalwood, dry cognac, and chilled ambergris accord.

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  • A Spirit, Katie

    On my arrival (June 5) all appeared fair enough. I found the mediums established on the second floor of a small house in Ninth Street near Arch. There were but two rooms on the floor, a front parlor and a bedroom; the lower floor under both rooms being occupied as a shop for the sale of musical instruments. In a back corner of the parlor was a walnut cabinet, seven feet wide and eight feet high, with a door that opened into the parlor, and two apertures, five and six feet high respectively, both curtained with black cloth. We had lamp-light, shaded but sufficient to enable us to recognize faces and to see everything that passed in the room. After we had examined the cabinet, the medium entered it, closing the door.

    Soon at one of the apertures appeared a fair, thoughtful young face, a girl of eighteen apparently, by whom I was cordially welcomed in a low, pleasant voice. She returned and spoke to us several times. At the close of the sitting she twice appeared, robed in white, just within the cabinet door; not coming out, however, into the room: the first time (so I was told) that she had ever shown herself in full form.

    It was evidently a living, moving, thinking being. Yet I suspended judgment. One of the mediums was out of our sight. Then there was a door — locked, padlocked, and otherwise effectually secured, it seemed, but yet a door — from the cabinet into the bedroom adjoining. The possibility of a confederate suggested itself.

    Forty memorable sittings followed. Gradually test conditions were perfected, and every imaginable ground for suspecting deception was removed; and then, instead of failure, all the phenomena came out in greater perfection than before. I select the more remarkable; to copy my notes in full would involve tedious repetition.

    June 7. Katie allowed Dr. Child to feel her pulse; its beats were distinct, about seventy-two a minute. A lady offered her a gold ring, and asked me to put it on her finger. I did so. The hand, beautifully formed, was like that of a mortal woman, nearly of the same temperature as my own, and slightly moist. At the close of the sitting she advanced into the room, dropped a finger on my head, and touched several other persons.

    June 9. I gave her a long chain, composed of Violet’s hair, a present to myself more than forty-five years ago: hoping, as I told Katie, thereby to attract Violet herself in accordance with her promise. I observed that Katie wore the gold ring. But when, at the close of the sitting, examined with a light every nook and corner in the cabinet, neither ring nor chain was to be found.

    June 10. Katie called me up to the aperture, handed me back the hair chain, and said: “Violet wishes you to keep this, in memory of her, until you are called to meet her in her spirit-home.”

    – Touching Visitants From a Higher Life, Robert Dale Owen

    In memory of her: green cognac, rose water, and Italian bergamot.

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  • Een Satyr

    Jacob Jordaens

    A heavy, animalic musk with cognac, fir balsam, grapevine, black cypress, patchouli, honey, and copaiba balsam.

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  • Sed Non Satiata

    Strange goddess, brown as evening to the sight,
    Whose scent is half of musk, half of havanah,
    Work of some obi, Faust of the Savanah,
    Ebony witch, and daughter of the night.

    By far preferred to troth, or opium, or sleep,
    Love vaunts the red elixir of your mouth.
    My caravan of longings seeks in drouth
    Your eyes, the wells at which my cares drink deep.

    Through those black eyes, by which your soul respires,
    Pitiless demon! pour less scorching fires.
    I am no Styx nine times with flame to wed.

    Nor can I turn myself to Proserpine
    To break your spell, Megera libertine!
    Within the dark inferno of your bed.

    A pounding heartbeat coalesced into scent: demonic passion and brutal sexuality manifested through myrrh, red patchouli, cognac, honey, and tuberose and geranium in a breathy, panting veil over the darkest body musk.

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  • The Diamond’s Gong

    A celestial hymn, singing to Earth from fifty light years away: ten billion-trillion-trillion-carats of glittering white musk, with cognac, tagetes, white champaca, Gum Arabic, and davana.

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  • The Lemniscate

    The sign of life, the sigil of eternity. The mathematics that form the structure of the universe, the finality of Omega, yet also the inconceivable, endless space beyond. Immortality and rebirth, the perfect aspiration of Spirit.

    Frankincense and black pepper, Himalayan cedar, cognac, and tobacco.

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