The merchant ship of Captain Alexandre
It is a time long past and when seafaring still worked small and big wonders.
It proudly lies at anchor in a French port. It was at sea for two years and three months, now it has returned home.
The "Zafeer" is a huge ship, a three-master built of mighty and massive wooden planks and would be able to speak, to tell of voyages that the imagination of the time was still capable of blowing up.
The pure white, large sails rest caught up on the masts, while the men, with the achievements of the many journeys over the wooden jetty, make their way off board and to the already waiting carriages. Hurriedly the goods are loaded and the too delicate looking wheels creak under the loads. Each filled carriage is pulled by horses decorated with noble bridles and carefully guided by its coachman. The cobblestone pavement and the potholes of the roads leading out of the city and to the castle demand the utmost of each vehicle. Rocking and crunching they all move towards their destination, where they are already impatiently awaited.
Captain Alexandre will lay the treasures at the reception in his honour, the King and his wife at their feet and will decorate the presentation with numerous anecdotes that will captivate the royal couple as well as the invited guests. The boys then hang spellbound at his lips and wish that one day they would be proud sailors like him. Their fathers, however, dream of offspring who earn good money in the service of their majesties and bring fame and honour to the family. And the ladies are captivated by the eloquent captain's charm and are driven through all emotional states by his lively tales, which are deliberately embellished with frightening elements. These will eventually, caused by their tight corsages, push them to the limits of their powers. Energetically fanning the air, they finally try to bring their temperature and pulse back under control and the trembling breasts back to more composure.
At least that's how Captain Alexandre imagines himself smiling amused while he has himself prepared after the bath by servants in his accommodation, because the receptions are always the same and yet or just because of that legendary.
The soirée is already in full swing when Captain Alexandre joins the guests.
In a few moments, as the main guest, after having passed through the endless corridors and the trellis-like crowd, he turns through the massive and gold-decorated archway into the throne room.
The treasures are still veiled behind a heavy, dark red velvet curtain. First Captain Alexandre walks across the almost endlessly long carpet past it and to the pedestal with the thrones. There he greets the royal couple and brings the greetings and best wishes of distant ruling families. Then it is time. On his signal fanfares sound Two servants pull on powerful cords hanging from the ceiling, which finally set the curtains in motion with a slight delay. Slowly they slide to the side and reveal what has been hidden so far. Gleaming light shines from the chests and vessels, sparkles and coloured prisms from the gems illuminate and colour their immediate surroundings and a multitude of exquisite scents free themselves from their containers and gradually settle more and more into the castle air.
This is how I imagine what happens when I sniff Zafeer Oud Vanilla.
Not all of the fine things from the pyramid will have been known throughout the world, let alone at court. Well aware of this circumstance, I would like to link the story that began at court with the description of the fragrance that makes Zafeer Oud Vanilla so special to me.
So back to Captain Alexandre, who in the meantime has approached the countless chests, boxes, caskets and clay pots. The king has followed him and curiously inspects the gifts, while the exotic scents increasingly capture him as well.
Alexandre hands him noble leather skins, soft and grippy they lay themselves in the monarch's testing hands. A warm and leathery smell rises from them. But it is already mixed with a no less warm and quite strong caramel note. It is not the speciality of a distant country, but originates from Brittany and was served as dessert when the whole crew was allowed to enjoy the evening before at the captain's expense. The food impressed everyone equally, so that they decided to report to the king and bring it back with them. Immediately he is taken with it, lets the food melt in his mouth and soul. And how the scents of the different gifts harmoniously unite! As if they all belonged together. No one here has ever experienced anything like it. The coconuts are broken open and tasted. Also their special scent is released into the air to join the other flavours. The numerous blossoms filled in amphoras or pickled in oil exude their sweetly seductive vapours, the wooden boxes and steamed up chests on their part, as well as the chopped precious woods from exotic markets provide the air with a softly spicy aura. Especially intoxicating for the king seems to be the content of a small jug. It contains vanilla beans from Madagascar and, what has already been mixed in the air, is embedded in a single dense fragrance. Soon the whole throne room is taken over by the scent and amazes the society. The precious stones and gold pieces brought along recede for a moment into the background, because these fragrant achievements are today for once the true treasure.
What luck that Captain Alexandre was at court in spring with his olfactory treasures. Or was it autumn? Winter? It couldn't have been summer, when everyone would have fallen out of their boots. But in the other seasons, the fragrance mixture is simply a gourmand nose feast, which at least tempts me to such time travel and stories
Anyway, I am curious what Captain Alexandre will bring along for us from future trips.