Thursday 14 May 2020

ELDRITCH MIST by Screaming Mandrake Perfumes

One of the ongoing challenges for the perfume industry is persuading customers to invest their time in a company and their products. There is so much choice, which just keeps getting bigger, and so standing out from the crowd becomes harder. When you also add in the actual price of the fragrances then you begin to understand why customers are reticent to switch allegiances. One niche brand that continues to perform well in these challenging times is the Wicca-inspired Screaming Mandrake Perfumes, and their latest Eldritch Mist fragrance promises to allow the wearer to flee to “the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

When Claira Carnell launched Screaming Mandrake Perfumes she had the aim of creating fragrances that harnessed the physical and spiritual side of nature and the elements. Claira had been a practising witch, or Wicca as they are more correctly known, for seventeen years and so also drew this into her creations. The links between fragrance and sorcery are closer than you may think, a perfumer creates a potion after all, and Claira’s ability to transport you to different times and places through scent is what sets her apart. I reviewed her Ancient Lands perfume last year, and so a return visit was long overdue.

Since I first featured Claira the question that I get asked most is around the name of the company. So, I asked her to explain it to me. “The name came from wanting something from nature but also conveying a magical aspect, and the mandrake seemed perfect - screaming when it is pulled from the ground. The main Mandrake image is an illustration from 1583, I wanted to give everything an ancient apothecary feel.” She doesn’t take her success for granted and added, “there is a real love for this little thing I have created and I am so thankful that others love it too.”

Her latest fragrance is called Eldritch Mist and is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. He might not be a writer that you’re familiar with, but he’s regarded as one of the most significant twentieth century authors of supernatural horror fiction. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange eons even death may die,” is a quote from his 1921 book The Nameless City, and it forms the basis for Eldritch Mist. Its meaning is still passionately discussed but, in the fragrance that we’re about to experience, a journey to the promised “peace and safety of a new dark age” is the message that reigns supreme.

The fragrance opens with a piercingly aromatic burst, thanks to the notes of aniseed and juniper, before the herbal quality come into play. It’s interesting that whilst you do pick up the coriander and rosemary that is mentioned, they combine to give a lavender-esque aroma that is touched by notes of black pepper and liquorice. There seems to be a touch of jasmine in the heart, which pushes towards the animalic, before an earthy amber accord arrives. The fragrance is definitely given a dry edge by the cedarwood, but Eldritch Mist absolutely delivers the darkened weightiness of the passage of time.

Eldritch Mist is available as a perfume oil from the Screaming Mandrake Perfumes website at priced at £10 for 10ml.

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