Art Books Events Arquiste for Cire Trudon: Mérida – In Praise of The White City [and the Guava]

Arquiste for Cire Trudon: Mérida – In Praise of The White City [and the Guava]

02/12/13 13:07:51 (One comment)

by: Ida Meister

“From Spain, I learned about food;
from France, how to seek out beauty;
and Mexico is my soul…”—Carlos Huber

I normally don’t write about candles, although I love fine ones. It’s simply that I’d rather enjoy seeing my loved ones’ pleasure when they’re given this ambient joy. I confess to spoiling our Markissimo with as many sylvan-scented pillars and pastoral note votives as possible. ;-)
When I sniffed the new Cire Trudon offering, a Yann Vasnier/Rodrigo Flores-Roux collaboration for Arquiste and named after the capital city of the Yucatan Peninsula, I was smitten. Even more so, as Carlos Huber proceeded to spin his web of historical intrigue for my eager ears.
It all began when Carlos Huber—renowned architect, historian, humanist— encountered a domicile built in the Beaux Arts style. He was entranced by the overwhelming fragrance produced by an immense guava tree in the courtyard. Carlos [being Carlos] had been reading about Empress Carlota and her foray into The White City of Mérida: a city so white-hot that the entire elite populace dressed only in white linen; the extremely wealthy never mingled with the Mexicans. The streets were snowy with crushed seashells. 

The newly crowned Empress was the first European woman to ever travel the Mayan cities and certainly the Yucatan when she visited in 1865. They hold a festive celebration in her honor. As she reposes under the great guava tree, the air around her is saturated with scent: ripening guava, the tropical woods of mahogany and palo primavera, a hint of gunpowder and singed paper from the fireworks...

Tesoro entrañablemente amado,” [treasure intimately loved] signs Carlota in her missives to Maximillian… Pity poor Carlota; she was energetic, industrious, and perhaps misguided—possibly bipolar into the bargain.

In the early 1860’s Napoleon III intended to turn Mexico into a  French satellite state. Maximillian I [aka the former Archduke of Austria] and Charlotte of Belgium were crowned in Mexico City, 1864. But Napoleon soon tired of his intervention, Maximillian  further alienated and antagonized Juárez, his opposition, and in 1867 Benito Juárez of the Republic of Mexico executed Maximillian [whose last words were rumored to be “Poor Carlota!”] while Carlota was in Paris, Vienna, and finally Rome, attempting to gather support for her husband’s throne from Pope Pius IX—to no avail.

Carlota became intensely paranoid: she refused food and drink, convinced that there was a conspiracy to poison her. She forced her servants to drive her all about Rome, where she would only drink from the fountains. She died in obscurity, having fallen prey to many relapses and profound despair at the Chateau de Bouchout in Meise, Belgium.

And the candle?
It is sublime in itself—and no less marvelous for the history and emotions elicited by it. Lushly floral, exotically woody with a flinty edge, it evokes powerful memories for our Carlos. We are urged to succumb to our own.
On February 18th, it will debut in the Cire Trudon flagship store in Paris. I’m buying one, for certain. No; this time, I’ll purchase two.


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When I sniffed the new Cire Trudon offering, a Yann Vasnier/Rodrigo Flores-Roux collaboration for Arquiste and named after the capital city of the Yucatan Peninsula, I was smitten. Even more so, as Carlos Huber proceeded to spin his web of historical intrigue for my eager ears.   Read more...

Photo by Cire Trudon

Ida Meister (chayaruchama) has been an avid collector and sniffeuse for over 40 years. She adores consulting and collaborating with niche, budding and independent perfumers. Her hypervigilant nose has been of great help in her profession as a neuroscience/oncology nurse, where she often smells fear, suffering, stress, and can identify most micro-organisms, medications, stages of disease, and has written about the amygdala. As a Senior and Natural Perfumery Editor, Ida has participated in many blog events with natural and mixed media perfumers and other writers. She has also been a teacher, translator, opera singer, dancer and caterer.


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What a curious and fascinating story - Mr. Huber seems very drawn to the historic and literary realms of scent. I happen to like these sorts of journeys backward and forward in time; looking at the past but acknowledging the present as well. I think this approach gets closer to timelessness.


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