one could be sacred, divine, the one not coming from the Earth? Before
Sorbonne, I was on political science and I was very active within the cathedra
of secularism – I wanted to write an article on the spirituality of scents.
Incense comes as a natural response, but is the monoscent of incense only connection between the two kingdoms?
James Heeley Cardinal is something close to that. Could that perfume be the
link between the two?
Being in Paris opens new doors to sacred world. I was
never going to churches so much as in Paris. The city itself is like a big,
walkable museum where you can admire buildings, monuments, historic sights.
France is the oldest catholic country in the world with massive catholic
culture and tradition although it is completely secularized. Whoever you are,
being French or foreigner, you can’t escape that tradition. When you enter into
Notre Dame, Saint Germain des Près, Saint Eustache, Sacre Coeur, what you get
is the smell of Cardinal. One of the most beautiful and perfectly layered
Philosophy and Aesthetics at King’s College and it was in France, through his
design work that the young Englishman discovered how scents are ‘designed’ and
made. Influenced by his life and education, it is no wonder that Cardinal was
produced. That is why I said that the one can’t escape the tradition – it is
around you on very sublime and unconscious way. You simply adopt it, whether
want it or not. Heeley, as an autodidact, his continually evolving work now
contains a varied collection of unique scents, each made according to the art
of traditional French perfumery. Every detail, from the creation of the scent
to the recyclable packaging is designed ‘in house’. Therefore, it is possible
to see that the whole line respires with specific culture, not just by any
heritage. After a year spent in Paris, you start to think ‘Parisian’, you
notice some things maybe even better than domestic people because you are not
taking it for granted. What I see in Heeley line is the beauty of the French
tradition. Sel Marin is, for example, the beauty of bronzed skin, French Riviera.
Cocobello is, for me, the nature of Corsica and big beaches while Cardinal
represents truly French history deeply rooted in religion.
means actually? It means that it is based notably on one raw material. It is
not quite so because frankincense is not the only material inside. Cardinal is
beautiful incense scent based on raw materials that are making the effect of
incense – labdanum, myrh, white linen. It is creamy, balsamic, smoky – not just
the ‘monoscent’, after all. Notre Dame of Paris has beautiful tradition – what you
can hear there are liturgical singings called ‘veprês’. By the end of singings,
the priest is taking large bawl of incense and makes the altar holy. The altar
becomes covered in incense while you can hear the song in the praise of Lord.
beauty of Cardinal. The most incens-y church I have ever seen (smelled) is
Saint Sulpice. You would know it by the da Vinci Code – it is the one where
they search for the rose in Paris. Saint Sulpice is also one of the most mysterious
churches I have ever been into. The building is like under the veil of mystery
and everything is symbolic. The space is sacred and the grandeur and splendor
makes you feel respect to that place. As soon as you enter, the one can feel
light breeze of incense that flows in the air. When you look up, you see
Delacroix’s paintings that fascinate you. The most fascinating is the momentum
when Heliodor is chased out of temple – the horseman in golden shield shows up
in the holy place to chase out the Roman soldier.
secrets. Indeed, way you can see in the church is the veil of mystery, lot of
hidden passages, smell of incense, symbols, and the gnomon. James Heeley is exactly
that – the smell of sacred mystery, of some hidden story that will maybe be
revealed. It starts with balsamic notes and later it turns into smoky incense.
Unstoppable mark between the two kingdoms.