It is not difficult to sympathise with the mindset of a bee. Enthralled by the vivid colour and hypnotic scent of a flower in full bloom, who amongst us could resist alighting on its velvety petals to gorge on nectar as if there were no tomorrow? Once this precious cargo has been returned to the hive, it is stored in the waxy honeycomb, where the bees fan it with their wings to evaporate the water content. A thick, golden lava-like stream of sticky sweetness begins to emerge while Mother Nature congratulates herself once again on this magnificent achievement, otherwise known as honey.
One of the natural world’s greatest prizes, we have been hypnotised by honey since Man first roamed the Earth. It’s in our prehistoric DNA. Neolithic cave paintings depict intrepid foragers scaling heights to plunder hives while being swarmed with indignant bees. The Sumerians and Babylonians expressed their love for it in ancient writings, including the oldest poem known to be in existence – an erotic ode to the 20th-century BCE king Shu-Sin, whose beauty is described by a lovesick admirer as ‘honeysweet’.
Even the bees that make it feast on it through winter when flowers are few and far between and they need a sweet pick-me-up. Who could blame them?
It was inevitable, of course, that honey should become a major player during the festive season. The ancient Egyptians are said to have begun giving it as presents long before the Victorians started this yuletide tradition centuries later. And what kind of a celebration doesn’t involve sweet delights to feast on? Not one that we care to attend.
Which leads us to our scent of the season – Starlit Mandarin & Honey. Escorted by notes of dried grass, hay and geranium, deep, rich honey finds a sparkling winter dance partner in the bright zing of yellow mandarin. A Citrus Fougere to summon the spirit of hibernal revelry, where log fires and merriment crackle long into the night.