"Have you been drinking?" he had asked, suspiciously looking at the bottles on the shelf.
There they stand, his pride and joy, set up in rows, bottle by bottle, packed in gold and green and blue.
They bear unspeakable names, the bottles, in writings that I can hardly decipher - Laphroaig and Kilchoman, Glenfiddich next to Talisker Style, Ardberg, Aberlour and as they are all called, the bottles with the amber gold, the liquid that smells resinous and smoky, peaty often and gently vanilla, dry fruity, like a whole beehive.
I like that - olfactory, mind you.
In the glass and in the throat rather not - this pleasure is reserved for him, him, the lover of the bottles, who almost keeps them as I do my bottles.
No, I hadn't drunk, of course.
But the question was actually obvious.
Resinous-honey wood escaped from my skin, deep dark, bitter smoke.
An old whiskey barrel, still containing the aromas of many years, gallon by gallon dark gold, with that highly traded.
A smokehouse next door, honey ham in juniper smoke.
And dark chocolate, the one with the delicate melt.
Whiskey, you'd think.
The fine, expensive Islay whiskey - vanilla, wood and smoke.
His suspicion was understandable.
"Patchouli 24" isn't whiskey - but whatever it says on the tube: I wouldn't have typed Patchouli as an ingredient, blindly tested.
Patchouli fragrances often don't feel quite right to me - they are too gothic, earthy, gravelly, too black and much too heavy, threateningly gloomy between Dracula and the cult of the dead.
But "Patchouli 24" has nothing to do with that, the fragrance is much too warm, too vital, much too friendly, despite all the darkness and smoke.
The boys and girls of Le Labo seem to have stirred up the kind of Patchouli that was already so characteristic in Mugler's "Angel", so juicy-sweet and full of life, so far away from all gloom that even die-hard Patchouli-haters took a nose and also two.
At temperatures above 25°C, a patchouli fragrance is usually not the first choice.
Not to me, not to the noses of my people.
But "Patchouli 24" also works now in summer, in the desert as well as in the tropics, at home in Germany.
A sprayer envelops me in a delicate aura, perceptible only to those who are close to me, who cling to me and sniff for a long time, again and again, with small noses and with large ones.
And my driver's license, I've got it too, thank God.
PS: Ergoproxy, Yatagan - thank you!