Deep Midnight Perfumes

Deep Midnight Perfumes

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Victorian Sugarplums: Happy Holidays!

Victorian Sugarplums from the kitchen of Cat Marx

This is an authentic sugarplum recipe from the Victorian Era.  I have made a few modern modifications to it. But these are true sugarplums.  Many people often hear the term and think it is plum, of some sort, as you will see that is not the case. I use all unsulphered fruits.


1 cup dried apricots

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup pitted dates

½ cup cranberries

½ cup golden raisins or plain raisins

2 tsp. orange zest

3 tablespoons of orange juice

¼ cup honey

¼ cup candied ginger…you may adjust according to taste

You may add these spices according to taste:

¼ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cinnamon,¼ tsp. cardamom…you will also see this in some stores as cardamon...same thing

½ cup white organic sugar or fine turbinado sugar for rolling the sugarplums in.

You may also add a Tbsp. of rum or brandy to taste.


Thanks to most modern kitchens, we can chop all of this in a food processor.  Take each fruit and nut ingredient and the candied ginger and pulse in a food processor until chopped to an even medium texture. The fruit and nuts should begin to clump. Transfer to a large bowl and add the honey, orange juice, orange zest, desired spices, and rum or brandy if chosen, and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Roll by hand into bite sized balls and roll in the sugar.  This will make about 4 dozen or so sugarplums, less if you make the balls larger. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container lined in wax paper.  The longer you keep the sugarplums, the more refined the tastes seem to become as they meld.  I often wait 48 hours before serving them.  Enjoy and happy holidays!  XOXO Cat 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

“Hobbit” Forming

When I was a child of twelve or thirteen, the first fantasy book that my parents gave me to read was “The Hobbit”.  I can remember staying up until 2:00 AM in my room reading about Bilbo and his band of adventuring dwarves….and of course the dragon.  I read and re-read the book many times and became hooked on high fantasy novels, eagerly devouring any book I could about dragons, wizards, brave warriors and the like. “The Hobbit” remains one of my favorite books to this day, and Tolkien my favorite author.

Last fall of 2011, I began working on a series of perfumes that would be inspired by this beloved book.  In early spring of this year, 2012, I released my first perfume in the series inspired by “The Hobbit”---”Dungeons Deep”, followed by “House of Healing”,  and soon after those, “The Halfling’s Party”, “Dragon’s Orb”, and “Black Arrow”, released this late fall.  I want to describe my creation process a little bit below.
My goal was to create a series of very complex and unique scents that would represent each of the free races of Middle Earth (Hobbits, Dwarves, Humans, and Elves), and Gandalf and Smaug as well.  I wanted them each to tell a mini story of portions of the novel. Each of the perfumes oils went through several incarnations before I had each one exactly the way I wanted it.

There are certain series of perfumes that I have worked on for over a year and this is one of them, and definitely a labor of love and my perfume ode to J.R.R. Tolkien and the world of “The Hobbit.”
"Dungeons Deep": Here I wanted to create a scent that would make you feel like you were in the throne hall of a great underground dwarven city, full of mystery and a warm spicy, slighty smoky earthiness.
The dwarf lords living in their halls of stone were great metalworkers, smiths, craftsmen, warriors, lovers of hospitality and gatherings, and honorable and proud to the end. This fantasy perfume is inspired by Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarf lords and dwarf warriors in The Hobbit. Inhale and you will find yourself surrounded by: A deep cavern hall covered in ancient moss, the scents of earth and fire, tempered with benzoin, and a sweet warm tobacco blended with unique spices. A Unisex scent that is dark and earthy upon first application and finishes with a magical, warm, sweet smokiness on the dry down.

 "House of Healing": For the elves I wanted to capture a scent that was fresh and clean, green and floral combined, evoked a sense of peace and well-being, and reminded one of a forest with the lofty elven spires of Rivendell where a weary traveler could take their rest.
The Elves who dwelt in a magnificent hidden valley near the foothills and mountains of mist, were great healers, lovers of peace and harmony, and blessed with grace and wisdom that extended to the dome of stars. This fantasy perfume is inspired by Rivendell, Elrond and all the Elven Lords and Ladies in The Hobbit. In this last safe refuge, one might breathe in the soft, earthy comforts of: wild iris, linden blossoms, fragrant green trees and grasses, fallen oaks leaves, and sweet morning dewdrops. Magical and serene.

 “The Halfling’s Party”: This one was a lot of fun to work on as I used a lot of gourmand scent notes. Hobbits do love their food and drink and I wanted this perfume to be just like walking into Bilbo’s house and smelling fine food and drink, and the comforts of hearth and home. I wanted it to make the wearer feel as if they had come to join the Bilbo’s party with Gandalf and all the dwarves. I even included my photo of The Hobbit Hole at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
The Halfling's Party Perfume Oil
This fantasy perfume oil is inspired by The Hobbit and the characters of Bilbo and Frodo and their companions. Bring a friend or two, or four or maybe more to a generously hosted Halfling Party; they love to give as well as receive! Freshly buttered bread, harvest apples baked into a caramel tart, rum, red wine (for the wizard), and a light citrus with background notes of old polished wood, sweet tobacco leaf, and a dusting of oak wood roaring in a welcoming hearth...makes for a fine, comforting, gourmand scent that tips to the feminine side of the scale but can certainly be enjoyed by both sexes.

 “Dragon’s Orb”: Creating this scent was a bit of challenge. I wanted notes to represent both the dragon, Smaug, and the Arkenstone. To me the dragon would be fiery and enigmatic, and the Arkenstone cool and magical. Here I combined main scent notes that evoke both concepts and work very well together. My website listing features the wonderful artwork of M. Beau Studio, created specifically for my perfume.
Dragon's Orb
Inspired by the wondrous white gem, the Arkenstone, sought by Thorin Oakenshield and guarded by Smaug the dragon of The Hobbit. Rich white amber, vetiver and softer greens evoke the beauty and earthiness of the gem, while spicy black pepper, juniper berries, several mysterious resin notes and herbs attest to the darkness of the dragon. A unisex scent that is spicy and warm, with a unique coolness on the dry down.

And lastly I have “Black Arrow”:  I wanted this to represent Bard the bowman, the human who brought down Smaug with his spelled arrow. It had to be bold and intense and for this, I created my own special accord which I named Dragonfire. The perfume evokes the bravery of Bard trying to slay the dragon while the town around him is going up in flames. I had was great to be able to photograph model Apollo Hawthorne, who made a perfect representation of Bard for my concept.
Black Arrow Perfume Oil
Do you have the audacity to stand against the dragon? Inspired by Bard, the human who slew Smaug the dragon with his black arrow in The Hobbit; this is a bold yet unisex perfume oil, tending towards the masculine. Deep resins, blackened honey, and smoldering dragonfire envelop you in a daring, dark, and adventurous scent.

Recently, the Barnes and Noble website, Spark Notes, requested my permission to showcase my perfumes inspired by “The Hobbit” on their website for an article on
unique Hobbit items “Inspired by the Shire”:
I want to thank all of my fans and customers for their love and support of my perfume creations. Creating these and all my scents has been a true joy! Best wishes to you always! Cat xoxo

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