Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Olfaction Meets Warrior Queen


"A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future"
Coco Chanel

I'm a huge fan of 2 things: the story of Boudicca and unusual perfume.

Boudicca (also spelt Boadicea and Boudica) was born around AD 30 and was a queen of the Iceni tribe of what is East Anglia in England. She led an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Romans in ancient Britain. It is speculated that she was actually named Boudiga after the Celtic goddess of Victory by her Iceni followers, but the Romans called her Boudicca. Her appearance was reportedly that of a tall, strong woman with waist length red hair.

Her husband was Prasutagus, king of the Iceni, an ancient tribe.When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, Prasutagus was allowed to continue his rule. Everywhere else was under roman rule. When Prasutagus died he left the vast majority of his estate to the roman empire. He left a small portion to Boudicca and their 2 daughters Camorra and Tasca. The Romans did not recognise the rights of women having power or having daughters as heirs. . When Boudicca protested this the Romans are said to have stripped and flogged her in public and as a final insult raped her 2 daughters who were about 12 years old. They then decided to impose power on the Iceni and treated the people as slaves.


This was the final straw for a once pround people and resulted in the Iceni conspiring with their neighbours, the Trinovantes, amongst others to revolt. Boudicca was chosen as the leader of the rebellion. They marched to Camulodunum (or Colchester as it's now known) where they destroyed the town. The rebels were growing in number; it is estimated that between 150,000 and 230,000 people marched forward to Londimium (London) and burnt it to the ground. St Albans received the same treatment and circa 80,000 people died in the carnage.

They marched onwards where her troops finally clashed with the Roman forces at an unknown location. Despite the Romans being outnumbered by almost 20 to 1, it was not enough for the Britons to overcome sophisticated roman weapons and battle techniques. Boudicca is said to have survived the final battle and decided to ingest hemlock, a poisonous plant rather than be subjected to the humiliation of capture by the triumphant Romans.

My preference for unusual perfumes is a throwback from working in a department store; i recognise a lot of well known perfumes and dislike being able to pinpoint what someone is wearing. My favourite new scent to wear is Wode.

Wode was released in 2008 and is the first perfume by Boudicca. Boudicca is a UK fashion label founded by Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby. Named after Woad, a plant that is used to produce a blue dye. Legend has it that the ancient Britons and Picts used a blue paint or pigment when going into battle as it gave them a fearsome and mystical appearance.



The fragrance was developed by legendary perfumer Geza Schoen and contains notes of Hemlock, Juniper, Cardamon, Raw Opium, Nutmeg, Clary Sage, Coriander, Angelica Root, Saffron, Tonka Bean, Styrax resin, Amber and Treemoss. It's available in 2 versions: an eau de toilette which is slightly lighter and when sprayed on the skin it turns a bright cobalt blue which then fades and becomes transparent. The eau de parfum is more intense due to a higher concentration of oils and doesn't have any blue coloring.

It's smells quite 'green' to begin with and i was unsure if it was something I'd wear regularly. However once it settles on the skin it evolves into a unique scent (on my skin it smells quite warm and sensual). I purchased mine from LuckyScent as they have an amazing selection of non mainstream fragrances and they also do samples if you're unsure like i was.


For more information on Boudicca the design house and perfume:
http://boudiccacouture.com
http://www.boudiccawode.com/

Boudicca Image: Stephen Youll

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

that perfume sounds amazing. Have you read The Emperor of Scent by
Chandler Burr?

Anaglyph told me about it. Have you checked out his blog yet?

http://www.tetherdcow.com/?p=451

Green Of Eye, Sharp Of Claw said...

@NM: After wearing it i think it's lovely, but again fragrance is such a hugely personal thing.That's why i like being able to to try before i buy!

No i haven't read it but I'll check it out. I've also had a look at Anaglyph's page. Yaaaay new bloggage and literature-happy days :)

Anonymous said...

you must check out his artwork as well

perpetualocean.com

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