Tonight I cracked open my new bottle of Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente, and at first I was delighted by the root beer accord. But the perfume soon turned sort of sweet and then just stayed there, smelling simultaneously spicy and sweet and smoky, not at all unpleasant during any particular moment but a little much over the course of an entire evening.
And it's definitely lasted the entire evening. It's like hearing a song you enjoy played twenty times in a row, at an uncomfortable volume. By the end, not only are you unsure about your feelings for the song, you're also grumpy.
Wearing Myrrhe Ardente reminds me of a teenage prank I once played. I was having pizza with a friend and there was a rather loud jukebox in the corner, in which customers were dropping in their coins, choosing their favorite Journey songs, and sitting down and waiting for them to come up.
My friend and I, rapscallions both, ended our evening in the pizza parlor by trading several dollars for change, discretely dropping it all into the jukebox and playing "Happy Birthday." Not once but many, many times: 1st selection, G-56, "Happy Birthday"; 2nd selection, G-56, "Happy Birthday"; 3rd selection, G-56, "Happy Birthday", over and over and over again.
What's more painful than listening to Journey? We were all about to find out. Except "we" didn't include us, because my friend and I slipped out before our selections started and watched through the windows from outside.
The first "Happy Birthday," a generic '50s-style group sing-a-long that was plenty loud enough to hear from the street, was met with wide smiles and people curiously turning and looking around the restaurant for the evening's honoree. Maybe it was a secret "Happy Birthday," we imagined them thinking, for a shy little girl or boy. Or maybe it was a mistake. Oh well, we'll get back to Journey in a minute.
Except after two annoying verses, with the celebrant's name appearing as "la-la's", as in "happy birthday to la-la...", it started all over again. Two more verses, two more la-la's, and an increasingly irritated pizza parlor.
By the third or fourth version, fathers were standing up, hands on hips, looking like they wanted to club somebody over the head with their pizza pans. And by the fifth go-round, several people had gathered in front of the jukebox and from the street it appeared as if they were somehow trying to convince it to stop, to please just stop playing.
Around that time, a couple of families walked out and spotted our hysteria over the monumentally stupid scene we had created, and so we made a hasty departure and missed the ending.
And right now, I'm convinced Myrrhe Ardente is my punishment at last. Because it just won't stop, it keeps singing "happy birthday to la-la" over and over again, and I want to gather up all the angry dads in my neighborhood and find somebody to club with our pizza pans. Except it's 2 a.m. and they're all asleep. And they can't smell it anyway. It's only me. Me and Myrrhe Ardente, all unrelentingly heavy and sweet and by now more painful than listening to Journey.
Revisit Dan Rolleri's initial high hopes for Myrrhe Ardente here.