Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scented Letters: A Paean to Valentine's Day

If you've visited this blog before you know that it is dedicated to fountain pen collecting and the art of the hand written letter. Nothing beats a hand written letter, except one that has been scented with a fragrance. I've received two such letters recently and the experience of opening the letter and having the scent of perfume waft over me was quite exhilarating. Perhaps the fragrance reminds me of a brunch or dinner and the wonderful conversation that was had at that time. Sometimes I open the letters to re-read them at other times I simply hold them to my nose and close my eyes and - remember.

Valentine's Day will be here soon. If there was ever a time to take pen in hand to write to someone that you love, now's the time. You can write a letter to your wife, your girlfriend, husband, mother, father, son or daughter. You can write to someone though you may see them everyday. It's funny how so many of us never consider writing to someone nearby; they need not be far and away.

My dear friend Fifi pointed out to me how she hears the voice of the person in her head while reading their letter. That is so true! It's an aspect of letter writing that I had not thought of before. Fifi also pointed out that she never hears the voice of one sending an email, and neither do I. I only see the cold and dry text, which is often written in terse language which doesn't engage the emotions. Valentine emails are simply not an option for this writer.

A few words about Valentine's Day.

The original Valentine's Day was celebrated in Rome as the festival of Lupercalia a festival of sexual license. Young men and women would write their names on pieces of paper and after drawing the names out of a bowl would then engage in erotic games. Well the Christians were horrified by this practice and would try to suppress this day celebrating the feast of a saint, in this case St. Valentine. February was also the month that was sacred to the Goddess Juno Februata, Goddess of the "fever" or rather the "febris" of love. She was replaced, by the leaders of the early Christian the Church, by St. Valentine. But the erotic festivals continued in the form of a "sacred marriage with the angels in the nuptial chamber." This sacred marriage involved a man and a woman who portrayed Sophia and the Redeemer in connubial bliss. During the ceremony the following words were spoken: "Let the seed of light descend into thy bridal chamber, receive the thine arms to embrace him. Behold grace has descended upon thee."

Last year Montblanc created a scented red ink for Valentine's Day. I like the idea of scented ink but they are rare and are hard to find. This particular bottle carries the fragrance of red roses. I plan to purchase a bottle on my next visit to Art Brown & Brother.

[The quotes in this blog are from the Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker]

Pour Fifi

Have Pen, Will Write
Scribo Ergo Sum


OfficeSupplyGeek said...

That is pretty cool, its just too bad they dont put it in their standard size/shape bottle which seems to be one of the best for when you need to refill that fountain pen.

supersize spanishfly said...

Ah Cliff, it is always a pleasure to read one of your blogs but I have to disagree with you and Fifi, I hear your voice all over this blog, it is the words you write or type that mean something to the person who recieves it. Just my opinion, (I have to say that I am an internet Scented ink, what a cool way to write, "I Love you" or "Be Mine"...just add Norah Jones and you have me at's day..Hope cupid doesn't forget about me this this blog

Mantra said...

Hi Cliff,

What a fabulous pen. I love the fact that this pen has a scent to it. Who wouldn't want to receive a scented letter. That is so romantic for Valentine's Day! How much would this type of pen cost?

Anonymous said...

Dear Cliff:

Happy Valentine's Day. I found your blog after my mother-in-law gave me a Mont Blanc Boheme fountain pen and became obsessed with fountain pens. I enjoy your reading your blog. I love the Mont Blanc Je'taime ink but their Season's Greetings ink is much deeper red with the scent of vanilla. I love the photos you post of gorgeous pens on your blog.
Do you have a favorite fountain pen?
Also what brand is black and silver filigree pen that is currently on your blog page?
Have a wonderful holiday.

Anonymous said...

PS: Pardon the typo.

Clifford Jacobs (Jake) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clifford Jacobs (Jake) said...

Dear Chris,

The black pen with silver overlay is a "bespoke" pen made by pensmith Henry Simpole for The Conway Stewart Pen Company. A bespoke pen is one that is customed designed. "Bespoke" is a term that is usually used in reference to British tailoring. Henry Simpole has a great site that you can visit by here:

My favorite pens, at the moment, are an Aurora Talentum and a Stipula Antonio Gaudi Etruria Architectura. Both have italic nibs which is my nib preference. (I'm a calligrapher.)

I happen to have a passion for Italian pens many of which are available with italic nibs. I like a hefty pen with a generous ink flow and a medium to broad nib. Lately I've developed an interest in fine point nibs which I hope to add more to my collection in the future.

Thanks for dropping by,


February 17, 2009 2:19 PM