Let’s talk about movies.
I tend to avoid horror movies, partially due to the fact that cheap scares and cheesy slashers do nothing for me. I like old movies, and especially Hitchcock films, with North by Northwest being an absolute favourite of mine. However, horror texts with allegorical messages, supernatural and religious themes and scriptural motifs are such a treat to watch. I have watched The Exorcist (1973) repeatedly with much enthusiasm because not only is the cinematography outstanding, but also because movies like that have this lingering quality.
What I mean is, I can watch films like that without getting worried immediately. But, laying down alone in bed with the film in the back of your mind is always the scariest part. It is a testament to the film’s ability to shock, scare, and create trepidation. Religious horrors are thus the worst – partially because they target an internal factor – being spirituality and a hidden and uncontrollable other-world. Possession, demonic presences… Even just unexplainable occurrences. These are things that are out of our control. Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, and heck, even the first Paranormal Activity were shockers because they feature things that render our ability to defend ourselves obsolete and harbour desolation and hopelessness.
Relevant to this fragrance – Fahrenheit Absolute by Dior, summed up simply – is the scent that Satan would don.
Released twenty-one years after the original, this is Fahrenheit grown up to an extreme level.
© 2014 Liam Sardea
So – Why would Satan don this fragrance? I am reminded of Peter Stormare’s brilliant portrayal of Lucifer in Constantine (2005). He is dressed in a pristine white and his eyes droop down looking all red, evil, and aged. This may as well be his physical form, with perhaps the other form being a shadowy and jet black figure with red eyes and smouldering embers at his feet – much like the red to black gradient effect of this bottle. This two-sided figure is deceitful, dark, and calculating. He is a master of rhetoric. Speculation of course, however I feel the Hollywood representation of this figure is fulfilled through Fahrenheit Absolute.
This features a deceptive opening. A richly lacquered vanilla opening, I find this interesting as I am reminded of Dior’s latest (and later) Fahrenheit flanker, Fahrenheit Le Parfum, which features a profoundly gourmand opening of a dreamy aged bourbon vanilla. The original blueprint of Fahrenheit also makes an appearance in the opening and exists not for very long. A diffusive and tart citrus note opens, bringing along the sun-dried chamomile and summer grass accord that becomes obvious only when mentioned.
Immediately, the original blueprint and the very famous violet-petrol-leaf accord is then replaced with a dominant cumin note – with its intense pulsations of spice and heat against some other smouldering ingredients.
The addition of Ethiopian myrrh, Somalian incense, and agarwood from Laos all contain liturgical nuances and attachments; and all these ingredients tend to smoulder and be burnt in each of their respective religious practises. Thus, Fahrenheit Absolute is intense as if the original fragrance was subjected to heat and some sort of pentagram-based, blood spilling sacrificial satanic ritual – figuratively speaking of course… And I love it. The aforementioned vanilla note mixes slightly with dry fruit and a sweet and dusty leather accord also recalling the old vintage Fahrenheit masterpiece; bolstered by a trail of incense commanding respect.
Certainly, these satanic attachments are not to be feared – but are the most appropriate words I can tackle to highlight the brazen and challenging nature of Fahrenheit Absolute. The agarwood is dry and grounding; and surprisingly has a strong presence in the opening. This is a sweaty fragrance, thanks to the cumin, and a dry woods note lingers throughout wear. This is sweeter than the original, but not in the way you would expect it to be. This plays tricks constantly, and takes unexpected turns with wear. I find this is a bit like Russian Roulette with each waft and each progressive sniff – you are either approached by a sweaty cumin beast; or the harmony of oud, violet leaf, and vanilla. It can be at times uneasy, and thus awkward to wear out and about. The latter melange is incredibly pleasant and tickles the nose in a good way, whereas the former may do the opposite.
On a side note, I had an interesting experience testing this fragrance out. I sprayed once on each arm about five minutes apart from each other. I would find that one would pulse a stronger and sweeter vanilla-dominant note, whereas the other would pulse the spicy cumin note.
Overall it is obvious to see why the fragrance was discontinued, as this does not appeal to a broad market. It reads fantastically on paper, but is too risky for real life application. I would still recommend sourcing this fragrance, as it is such a fun experience trying to grapple it.
Alternatives: Interlude Man by Amouage; Fahrenheit Le Parfum by Dior; and Fahrenheit by Dior.
An enjoyable flanker. It is dark and brooding; a fairytale brimstone smell. An intensive take on Fahrenheit.
Subjective rating : 3.5/5
Objective rating: 3.5/5