Serin – January Scent Project


Serin – January Scent Project

It is not the first time that we are amazed by one of John Biebel’s creations. After Smolderose, realistic olfactory jewel where a red lipstick’s shine meets that of a burnt trees, Serin is another work of contrasts, unsettling yet not destabilising but refocusing and relaxing as of a sunlight beam traversing the body from head to toe.

Serin is unsettling in its bitter opening, drawn out like a sword, a bitterness of myrrh and camphor. Such aura, that of marigolds plucked out in our mums’ gardens brings forth by its greenness the image of lost temples in the jungle and all the imaginary rituals we adorn them with. Dried flower potions and sour decoctions one drinks to the dregs so as to pass into the world of shamans – such is Serin. It unsettles in that it surprises and tests our tenacity. It unsettles for it cares not for being loved. It unsettles by a form of cutting-edge truth, a striking sincerity ; by a bitterness which brings back to life.

Serin though comes forth once you surrender to it and once the first hours are gone, like in the silent ruins of such temple yards, it kindles, it wakes up and meets us. The bitterness fades off and leaves a luminous cloud of incense. The sunbeams pierce through the heavy forest branches and illuminates the faces, the colours, the glyphs and the details that lied hidden on the walls –


It is a heart pumped with heliotrope and the gorgeous creaminess of guaiac wood that now acts like a talisman protecting its wearer. There is, within Serin, an ascetic motion – one must be patient and endure and renounce to earthly pleasures to taste at last the incorruptible delights of a life lived free. It is as if every head note stripped itself of its thorny shell to unveil its gorgeous heart, as if each material revealed itself to the wearer in their supreme nobility.

As if the terrible idols of East and West after testing our faith gave us to enjoy the dew of immortal life. For Serin does indeed warm up with every hour that passes until it leaves on the skin a semblance of guerlinade, that lipstick smear one catches in Smolderose, an addictive sun unction.

Serin proves John Biebel’s talent to map the human psyche by giving us to smell this swaying between light and darkness, renouncement and beatitude, happiness and anguish.

With a soul heavy I walk, forestalling the coming of nightshade when herons and thrushes fly to rest. With a soul shaking I walk across the river and its sands and ashen banks and red and white and grey where no boat ever shores. With a tenebrous soul I walk, of a darkness heralding peace like night does day, and see and cross the crumbling bridge of stones. And from up there I see my reflection wrinkled in the waters. I see it marred with the raining rain, I see it waning in the shingles under the evening greys of a colourless dusk.

The soul on fire I shout in silence, my voice caught in this endless second when my life suddenly seems uncoiled and as I close my eyes, I feel in me a light anew, grazing my calves, kissing my neck and smiting my fears.

In the sadness of the passing day, a sun rises again, an unknown force catches me and appeased it calls me by my name ; it pierces me and makes me live again. The hills are not going to march off nor the birds cease to sing nor the stars fall upon us, nor the sun upon itself. No. No colour shall fade nor flower, no life shall not, here, end. Not by fear’s blow or loneliness nor anguish, no – life does not end here. Rivers will walk still and spheres shall dance still for life does not end here.


It is life. It survive. And I also will.

Tears of salt and of honey, a new dawn is rising wreathing the forests and the dew in flame. A new dawn is rising, a day that shall never end. I feel its warmth inside my bones, I feel its kiss on the blisters of my lips ; a pillar of light consuming all in its wake, covering the world like a crystal lid.

Flame of fire.

I am a phoenix.

And I feel in me growing the pulses of the clouds and the silence of the sea. I feel Saturn singing in my fingers and the void which stands between her and me. I feel the gold of leaves as they fall in an autumnal dance, in my eyebrows I feel the sap of young trees rushing to their crown and on my heart like eagles’ wings as they watch eternal snows lulling stupas to sleep.

I am a phoenix.

Death, thou shalt not own me.

I fall into myself, an endless cave ; endless with treasures, endless with jewels, endless with summits wherefrom springs the unspeakable light of this newborn sun.

Death, where is thy victory ?

There is built into my heart a cathedral of hope.


I am serene.

I am Serin.

“All that is gold does not glitter

From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring”

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