Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Day 14 ~ One Year, One Nose
I've been thinking of Murphys, California lately -- a lot. March is the beginning of the 'season' in Murphys with the kickoff a huge St. Patrick's Day parade followed by a day or two of motorcycles roaring through downtown side streets and rabble rousing, or as much rabble rousing as one can do in a sleepy old mining town turned tres chic with several vintners offering wine tasting, upscale restaurants offering corned beef and cabbage, and the specialty shops offering whatever will get you in the door. But a trip to Murphys wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Nelson's Candies. The place just reeks of chocolate and coconut and buttery caramel. And somewhere in all of that is the woozy, boozy smell of sarsparilla, and the dark exotic scent of black licorice.
Anise seed evaluated at 30% (first of all, let me say that I adore the scent of anise and even made a perfume with it as the main component -- Khodum) has a very strong licorice/fennel scent with green herbal tones. Anise is warm and mellow, reminiscent of sarsparilla soda and Sen-Sen breath 'mints'. It reminds me of being a little kid sneaking pieces of black licorice from my step-father's stash -- he and I were the only two in the household who liked the flavor of black licorice, both abhorring the lesser, boring red licorice. It reminds me of the fall, of raking leaves and Springerle with milk, footie pajamas, and the anticipation of visiting relatives who drank warm beer, laughed loud enough you could almost see the laughter on the air, tried desperately to get everyone to eat at least one little piece of Limburger on a rye cracker, and always gave the most warm and welcoming pre-holiday parties.
I imagine anise seed's color to be yellow with little swirls of black. Anise seed isn't a linear smell, it's layered and complex and beautiful. The initial scent 'blast' wears off within a few minutes, and it mellows to its warmer tones, less of the piquant and piercing green and more of the languid, mellow herb. The staying power of anise seed is spectacular for a natural, up to 24 hours, however, it loses much of its licoricy tendencies and sinks into a mustiness, like old shirts hung too long in the closet.