Friday, July 18, 2014

Perfume of the Gods: Gonesh No. 6 Perfumes of Ancient Times Incense

PERFUME OF THE GODS: GONESH #6 INCENSE!  We can only imagine how the temples of ancient times must have looked, sounded and smelled...with priests in elaborate robes, gold ornaments and vessels all about, the sound of stringed instruments being plucked and bells ringing and the air thick with clouds of exotic scents designed to please the gods and to heighten the senses of the participants.  Among the oldest of references to incense are found in the Athara Veda Hindu texts of ancient India dating back at least 3,500 years -- and some say possibly 8,500 years! Amazing, isn't it? And not just India -- but the Indus, Babylonian, Persian and Chinese civilizations and of course those wonderfully ceremonious ancient Egyptians who just couldn't live without offering untold volumes of incense (based on the gums and resins from aromatic trees from the Arabian and Somali coasts) to their many deities -- oh, and did you know that even Moses in the Hebrew Bible Book of Exodus was instructed by his god to "take fragrances such as balsam, onycha, galbanum and pure frankincense, all of the same weight, as well as other specified fragrances"??  Well, now you know how just how important burning incense was on both historical and spiritual levels!  So when we jump over into the more contemporary Western civilization, many of us know about those clouds of frankincense pouring out from swinging thuribles (that's what those metal incense burners on a chain are called!) filling Catholic churches and cathedrals during High Mass with that intense aroma that has titillated seekers of faith for millennia! Which now brings us to spiritual seekers of Eastern religious highs during the 1960s hippie movement in San Francisco when a new-found appreciation of exotic incense opened up an entirely new generation to joss sticks and cones -- predominantly from India.  But for Americans living in other urban areas apart from San Francisco, there was access to incense cones since 1923 -- and all being handmade in Chicago of all places! What started out as the Hindu Incense Company -- formed by three gentlemen from India who wanted to bring great fragrances to the U.S. market -- didn't go as well as the three gents had hoped for.  The bank stepped in and asked Laurent Radkins to revive the company long enough to recoup their losses -- and it was such a success that Radkins eventually bought the company from the bank and proceeded to operate it for more than 40 years. By 1965, the name Gonesh was trademarked and the company's products were found across the country in such department stores as S.S. Kresge (which later bacame KMart) which allowed baby boomers and hippies alike to readily find incense in America. Among the many fragrances offered by Gonesh is No. 6 Perfumes of Ancient Times -- a scent which has intrigued Studio of Style for many, many years. It's hard to describe without smelling it because the scent is so layered in notes and layered in time itself! But we do know that No. 6 was the creation of Dr. David Macarus who was the company's perfumer for many years up to the early 1980s -- and what he created has become almost of cult status for many of Gonesh's loyal customers (like Studio of Style!). The inspiration for the No. 6 scent was trying to convey "the mystery of ancient Persia" as well as capturing "the atmosphere of fragrances that traveled along the timeless 'incense road' from Southern Arabia to the ports along the Mediterranean" says Gonesh factory manager Michael Nielsen (who came to company in the late 1980s).  "One of our customers is a hotel owner who burns Number 6 continually, day and night, in the lobby to create an allure.  Others say that it reminds them of times in their 'past lives'." What sets Gonesh sticks and cones apart from other manufacturers, among other things, is that Gonesh has the highest charcoal content of any brand currently out there -- which delivers a pure, clean burn and makes the fragrant blends sparkle, so you get the most fragrance possible every time.  Gonesh (now under parent company Genieco) has remained intensely loyal to being made in America by American workers and using the finest ingredients for moments when you want to feel transported to a field of flowers, a sacred space, a holiday gathering or any array of places and cultures (check out their Los Santitos or African American Heritage Collection to name a few).  Whatever Dr. Macarus blended in Gonesh No. 6 is truly magical -- and continues to transport us to times of temples, bells, gold and clouds of exotic scents that once filled ancient airs.
Enjoy Ancient Times: