When I was young, my mother kept a hook in a corner of our kitchen for drying out the rinds of oranges for our tea. Every day as the house warmed itself, the faint scent of citrus would awake to coil its way out of that corner and into our rooms.
First, it would arrive like a light, rousing whiff dancing beneath our nostrils.Then came the vigorous call: a blast of almost acerbic orange zest immersed in scalding hot water for the tea. Finished, as any proper Trinbagonian house would dictate, with a dash of Angostura Bitters.
She would greet us with a sugarless cup in said fashion before we even left our beds.
It was meant to be had in one gulp, a feat which neither my sister or I could manage in those days. The essence of that particular sort of orange - the kind that had matured under an equatorial Caribbean heat - was unrelenting. It soaked itself into everything; It lingered on my fingers, rubbed itself onto my clothes, and tainted the taste in my mouth for hours.
It churned the contents of my stomach every morning. (According to my mother, it was the all powerful, digestion-aiding power of orange peel tea.) And yet, I loved its silky feel on my tongue, the way each peel dried into curlicues on the hook, and the way its tart odour faded to a delightful perfume that would follow my path for the rest of each day.
To my mind, it is a reminder of the dawn, and home, and a warmth which comes with a cleansing that permeates like the heat of an Island sun.
I find myself searching for that feeling - that scent - everywhere I've lived since my childhood in Port-of-Spain.
In Manhattan, it came wafting through the back-doors of bars and restaurants in Greenwich Village, especially on Sundays as they prepped their rinds for adorning boozy-brunch cocktails. In Amsterdam, the scent of citrus would overtake the aisles of Albert Heijn as we bottled our own, freshly pressed orange juice on the spot.
Here in London, it comes via the more lemony, delicate scent of Portuguese candles flickering quietly as I run through morning tasks after reviewing the work of late nights.
Oddly enough, it also comes from the effervescent fizz of Berocca.
[ Under Review ]
Voga Scented Candle by Claus Porto
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