I grew up in a Catholic school environment in Hong Kong and was taught about the Bible since I was a teenager. (Interestingly enough, my school didn’t require students to be Catholic and I have remained a non-religious person.) So naturally I learned about the birth of Jesus and the super exciting part of receiving gifts of myrrh, frankincense and gold. I had no clue what myrrh and frankincense were even after looking them up in a English-to-Chinese dictionary. This little unsolved mystery carried with me until I started paying attention to perfume ingredients.
Myrrh is the resin of a small tree and is used in perfumes since the beginning, but I never knew what it smelled like, and trying to find out from smelling a perfume is almost as hard as finding what turmeric smells like from smelling curry powder. Then one day I had an idea. Let’s buy Armani’s Myrrhe Imperiale (2013) and I would know what myrrh smells like!
Well, that idea was as dumb as a potato that doesn’t sprout. But let’s talk about the perfume itself first. Myrrhe Imperiale smells good and luxurious, but not amazing or unique to me. It’s warm, moody, smooth and refined because it has the three kings of resin in it: amber, benzoin and myrrh. It also smells mildly sweet and spicy as it has vanilla, saffron and pink pepper. (May be a bit of honey? Not too sure.) But in fact, this resins + pink pepper is the base of many perfumes released in 2010’s, from cliche designer’s scents to expensive perfumes like Amouage. For that, I regretted a little bit buying this perfume, and up to that point I still didn’t know what myrrh smelled like (not their fault).
But now I know what myrrh smells like, thanks to a trip to the Whole Foods supermarket. They have an aroma therapy section and there are testers of different essence oil including myrrh and frankincense. A twenty year old mystery finally solved (by going to a supermarket) – to me, myrrh smells like raw mushrooms soaking in oil! (yes, I am serious.) I revisited Myrrhe Imperiale again, and now I can smell it. (Laugh)