“Diamonds are forever, but we both know I am not.” He whispered to her just as the evening prayers began in St. Marks. Tiffany let go of his hand and turned to look at the dark waters of Regent’s canal which ran past the old church under a bridge on Prince Albert Road and into Regent’s Park. .
“I know James, I’ve always known.” She sighed and squared her shoulders. “I guess I’ll go back to America.”
“I think it would be best darling. I’ll make all the arrangements. Thursday I have to go to Istanbul on a job and maybe St. Petersburg. Can you be ready to leave on Wednesday?”
“Yes… Maybe you can send me some remembrance of you from Russia with love?” She turned and smiled against the dying light of the early autumn sky. A diamond bright tear quivered in the corner of her eye. She quickly wiped it away. “I don’t believe in God, but somehow I feel like praying. Will you walk me to the door of the church?”
“You don’t need to pray for yourself.”
Rather than answer him, she took his hand again and walked with him to the entrance to St. Mark’s. She turned to him on the steps. “My prayers won’t be for myself, they’ll be for you my darling Mr. Bond.” She smiled, brushed a lock of his hair way from his brow then turned and disappeared into the sanctuary.
He stood on the steps of the church for a few heartbeats. He didn’t want to send Tiffany away but he knew it was just no good. It hadn’t been good since Royale-les-Eaux and the woman who had killed the last shred of humanity in him. He turned from the church and started to walk along Prince Albert Road toward his flat. Beneath the twilight twinkle of the heartless stars that watched over London he pushed the memories that French town on the English Channel as deep into his soul as he could.
He had no remorse, guilt or moral compass when it came to killing a man, or a woman. That’s what made him a perfect agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He was afraid of no one. Except that single stiletto sharp memory, that haunted his dreams. Not every night and not always remembered but it was always near. There was no quantum of solace to be found in his dreams when her specter arose to slash at his armor with half remembered kisses and bloody sweet lies.
In a weak romantic moment that night in the Casino he invented a martini and named it after her. These days, these nights, he never drank that bitter cocktail, Now it was just vodka, vermouth, shaken well. Not stirred to distraction which he would be if he didn’t stop thinking of her. It nagged at the edges of his mind, the unshakeable fact that he was sending Tiffany away as he would any woman who came too close. It would be just so with women until the day of his death. Because of the woman he met at the Casino Royale he had to kill love as surely as he would any enemy who threatened to expose him. But tonight she wouldn’t die twice.
Bond turned toward the oncoming headlights on Prince Albert Road and flagged a cab.
“Where to sir?” The cabbie said bright as a penny.
A quarter of an hour later Bond was seated at the bar in Dukes. The barman at attendance smiled warmly.
“Good evening Mr. Bond. Will it be the usual?
“Not tonight Alessandro, I need to kill a ghost, put an end so to speak to being the property of a lady.”
(Photo of THE Allesandro at Duke’s Hotel stolen from dukeshotel.com)
Ah…I see, you haven’t had one of those in quite a while, let’s see, three measures of Gordon’s, if I am not mistaken, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, and then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Have I got it?
The lemon peel like a sparkling golden eye at the center of the cocktail winked in the low light of the bar as Alessandro placed the drink on a crisp napkin in front of Bond.
He looked at it and then as Alessandro stepped away he realized it was no use. She would never let him go. Before he lifted the glass to taste one last time her poison he said her name very softly.
From the first moment I first saw the bottle of Vesper the unisex perfume by MIKMOI last March at the San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon I was captivated by the polished beauty of the Italian made flacon and enchanted the perfume that it held within its impressive form. (When you look down through the bottom of the bottle there is a charming surprise.)
I asked its creator Mik of MIKMOI if he had named it after the evening prayer practice in many Christian churches or if he had christened it after Vesper Lynd the heroine in Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale”. I was delighted when he said.
“It is named after both the prayers and the woman.”
Vesper has a sensuality that bleeds into a reverent introspective and contemplative feeling of soft dreamy layers like sea fog on a summer evening. It is both a prayer and a remembrance of something precious that is past away and lost forever. “Vesper” is simply a beautiful perfume. And running below its beauty like a subterranean river is a touch of Japanese style and elegance.
The opening is as sharp as the fist sip of a martini and indeed there is a delicious note of Lillet in the opening. Lillet is a French aperitif that is used to make a Vesper Martini and quite nice on its own as well. There is nothing boozy or blowsy about this note, but rather urbane and stylish. It brings in a French perfume feeling to the rather surprising center notes to come. The liqueur sharpness is quickly gone and replaced with a rich green fig note which deepens into the Lillet and enhances the elegance of this perfume. The fig is our fist hint of the East as we slowly move away from European tradition toward something new.
In the center a sophisticated and very cool Baccara rose unfolds like beautiful origami flower with ribbons of soft supple suede trailing from her long graceful stem. Here it moves toward a more Japanese feeling in it subtle play of notes. There is really a lovely soft green accord that plays over the rose and suede making it very distinctive and unusual. In the base come the prayers on tendrils of twisting smoky myrrh, and frankincense coiling over the delicate amber. These incense notes with the amber can be both European cathedral and Shinto temple. It is all in your perspective on how they will play out for you.
The sillage is not overwhelming nor should it be. This is something as subtle as geisha’s glance across a fan and as beautiful and layered as a fine Kimono. On my skin the perfume lasts about eight hours moving very close to the skin at about three hours in.
Vesper begins in sensuality and ends in beautiful reverent place of meditation. A most unusual journey for a perfume and in so I find that Vesper is a really gorgeous fragrance.
(Vesper photo MIKMOI)
Vesper by MIKMOI Five Gold Stars *****
Where to purchase Vesper and other perfumes by MIKMOI: http://www.mikmoi.com/
(Vesper and Bond ~ Bojrk “You Only Live Twice:)