THE PAST IS TOMORROW ~ Vesper by MIKMOI

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“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. .

 Regent's Canal, Londres, Royaume-Uni

“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.

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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.

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“Dukes Hotel.”

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.”

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(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?

“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.

“Vesper….”

 daniel

**********************007**********************

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.”

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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.

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(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:)

THE SCENT OF DANGER ~ Eucris by Geo. F. Trumper

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East of Las Vegas, the sky was a sharp steel grey and a tinge of crimson bled across the serrated tops of the western mountains. The windows of the Sands Hotel were hermetically sealed against the approaching furnace of the Nevada sun.  Tiffany languidly rolled over in bed and looked at the man from London sleeping next to her. He wasn’t her type, hard body, forceful, coolly sensual, and hot with a revolver. He was a professional killer. In short he was a man. She had her reasons for not liking men much; men had ruined her and had set her on a path that ultimately put her here beside him. But somehow this man intrigued her. What was it about him that made him different? What made her…like him?  The sex had been hot but that wasn’t it. She pulled the sheet up over her breasts to cut the shiver from the air conditioning and tried to figure him out.

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Tiffany leaned over to press her nose against his shoulder and breathed in his slightly salty masculine aroma. She closed her eyes and tried to place the fragrance he wore. It wasn’t something she had ever smelled before. There was oakmoss and some currant berries and just a hint of jasmine.  Most of the men she had dealings with from London diamond smugglers  to the pit bosses in Vegas all reeked of cheap cologne. This guy smelled nice. Like a gentleman. She had no dealings in her line of international crime with gentleman. She smiled and thought about how he had silently killed that man in front of her back in Amsterdam. So quick and nearly bloodless it was. He was no gentleman really, just a bloody cold killer.

As she ran her ring finger up his forearm to the forked veins of his bicep it hit her. Only while he slept could you see it in his face. A woman had ruined him. Of course that is what had intrigued her about him. He was just as damaged as she was. Because of the past both of them had shut down their emotions and were on autopilot. Neither of them knew how to land the plane.

Tiffany Case

He opened his arctic blue eyes.

“Are you hungry?” He said with just the whisper of a smile at the corner of his right eye.

“Ravenous.’ She leaned over him to the night stand on his side of the king-size bed  and picked up the phone receiver. “I’ll order breakfast. What would you like?”

“Orange juice, three eggs slightly scrambled, toast with orange marmalade, a large portion of bacon, and espresso with cream. Got it?”

She smiled. “Got it.”

As she placed the order with room service he looked her up and down and, then very slowly pulled the sheet down to her waist to reveal her appetizing curves. She smiled and pulled the sheet back up.

“Now it’s time for the truth Mister, what is your name really?”

In one panther move he rolled over on top of her and nibbled at her ear and whispered.

“The name’s James……..”

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(Artist Frank McCarthy)

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James Bond most famously wore Eucris by Geo. F. Trumper in Ian Fleming’s “Diamonds Are Forever.”  For Bond fans its being in that book set it apart as a glamorous masculine fragrance from 1956 on.  A masculine scent for sure but guess what? Tiffany Case would smell smashing in this scent too. A splash or two behind the ears and on a décolletage cascading with Cartier ice, a glass of champagne and voilà, magic.

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Created in 1912 by the famed London gentleman’s barbers you can bet that at least one bottle went down with the Titanic. It is a classic woody floral musk scent that when worn is sublimely rich and sophisticated in a very old school barbershop manner. That can be a good and refreshing thing in the world of today’s gourmand and oud craze. At over a hundred years old it is still a star in the masculine fragrance firmament.

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It opens with the pungent slightly animalic bite of black currant, sweet caraway and earthy coriander. Then up from the bottom right though the mid notes comes the killer beauty of the oakmoss. It grabs the jasmine and lily of the valley in the mid note range and turns them on their ears giving them a toughness they rarely display. These flowers transfigured by the oakmoss are the Bond Girls of the scent, beautiful, tough and slightly dangerous.

The dry down is all creamy sandalwood and musk, clean and sophisticated to the end. The Oakmoss holds on and never lets you forget who is boss in this fragrance.

Eucris lasts around ten hours on my skin and has a respectable silage of about three feet in the fist few hours and then six to twelve inches in the dry down. It isn’t shy but it is discrete in its style and allure.

The wonderful thing about Eucris and many classic old perfumes and colognes it that they carry a history, a life of there own over the decades and many stories along with them. If handled and nurtured with love by the houses that created them they can be as lovely, exciting, sexy and relevant today as the day they were first un-bottled and enjoyed by the public.

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Eucris by Geo. F. Trumper Five Gold Stars *****

(Please note that the story above is not an excerpt from Ian Fleming’s wonderful “Diamonds Are Forever” but simply a figment of my over active and romantic imagination.) 

“YOU SIR, ARE NO GENTLEMAN!” ~ Dunhill for Men by Alfred Dunhill

 

Dunhill for Men by Alfred Dunhill of London speaks softly of waking in Mayfair on the street where she lives.  It is a glimpse of young men down from the country stepping off a train at Victoria Station in a cloud of steam. It is Kensington Gardens in the fog and Belgravia in the spring, Harrods at Christmas, and the British Museum anytime. It is very upstairs behind closed doors, it is Ivor Novello, David Niven, The Duke of Winsor, more than any of that it is Bond, James Bond. Quintessentially British and completely undeniably dangerous.

The first spritz is an eye opening surprise of English lavender, Amalfi lemons, nutmeg and geranium. A short overture that momentarily off set me but then the curtain rose on splendiferous evolving notes of iris, a perfect English rose set near a bed of carnations near some stunning woodsy notes.  A glorious jasmine entwines the rose and one would be near swooning if it were not for the fact that the leather comes up fast and gives all these flowers a commanding macho edge.  It all becomes intoxicatingly masculine without being over bearing. This was the moment I fell in love with Dunhill for Men.  The dry down is a class act of citrusy vetiver, rich sandalwood, heady oak moss and refined Virginia cedar. A dash of old Tonka bean vanilla encased in fine tooled dark leather that is sublime.   It is a very adult masculine fragrance of supreme urbanity and sophisticated charm. Indeed old school, in fact old world and that is what makes it exciting and challenging. Created in the twilight of the British Empire in 1934 Dunhill for Men is a time trip back to an age of elegant sartorial grandeur. But yet there lurks just below the surface that danger that draws you in with a promise of adventure and sex.

This is a fine rich introduction for young men to the sophisticated possibilities that lie beyond the fads of today. Not “Fresh”, not “Clean” but rather it smells like a man. A little dirty, a bit animalistic, and very dangerously sexy. Dunhill is the scent for the kind of gentleman who is really not a gentleman at all. He is a man who knows his way around the casino at Monte Carlo as well as he does the back alleys of the Wan Chi in Hong Kong.

I put it on at six in the evening and when I woke at six the next morning it was lingering still and daring me to have another go. As dangerous as that may seem, that’s just what I did.

Five platinum stars *****

(Photos from Eon Produtions / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Colombia produtions of “Skyfall” staring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem. Directed by Sam Mendez. Trailer: http://www.skyfall-movie.com/site/ )

BOND IS BACK

 

VESPER

I just want you to know that if all that was left of you was your smile and your  little finger, you would still be more of a man than anyone I ever met.

BOND

Well, that’s because you know what I can do with that little finger.

With the celebrations in full swing for the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise it was inevitable that no stone would be left unturned. Eon Productions is about to enter the world of Fragrance with the release of “James Bond 007”.

The fragrance will only be available starting in August of 2012 at Harrods of London. The notes are fresh apples, cardamom, sandalwood, vetiver, lavender, coumarin and moss. It is classified as an aromatic-fougere.

International release is set for  September in North America, Europe, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the Far East. The fragrance will be carried in mid level department stores such as Sears and Kohls.

VESPER

You aren’t going to let me in there, are you? You’ve got your armor back on and that’s that.

BOND

I have no armor left. You stripped it from me . What ever is left….whatever I am….I am yours.

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Just for fun all eight, yes eight men who have played James Bond. From left to right, Barry Nelson as Jimmy Bond on the 1954 CBS television show “Climax” production of “Casino Royale”. Sean Connery the first official Bond. David Niven in the 1968 spoof of “Casino Royale”.  George Lazenby who only served Her Majesty’s secret service once. Roger Moore (no comment) . Timothy Dalton who gave Bond back his bite. Pierce Brosnan the Remington Steele Bond. Daniel Craig, who knows how to use his little finger to take Bond the closest to Ian Fleming’s original conception of James Bond.

Below, my painting of Daniel Craig as James Bond.

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