28 March 2008

Factoid Friday!

Earlier this week I was reading the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Right after, Mary pours a butt-load of super-expensive nard on his feet. Judas is mad because he sees this as a waste of money that could otherwise be in his keeping. He says it was a year's wages worth.

If you know me at all, which of course some of you don't, I had to know. So I got onto my not-so-trusty world wide web and searched for nard. Apparently this is some intense stuff taken from the root of nardostachys jatamansi (pictured at right). Horace offered to send Virgil a whole barrel of his best wine in exchange for a phial of nard. (reference here) So it was obviously pretty valuable. It was considered the perfume of the lost Garden of Eden.

Now that I knew what nard was, I wanted to compare the act to nowadays. How much is the most expensive perfume? Is it still a year's wages? What I found astounded me. I was thinking $10,000 or so. Probably as much as a poor man's wage, right? Wrong! The most expensive bottle of perfume is Clive Christian's Imperial Majesty at a measly $215,000!

Technically, the perfume is Clive Christian No. 1 and sells for $2150 an ounce. Imperial Majesty is No. 1 in the ultimate pay-more-for-the-packaging situation. The Baccarat crystal bottle has a five-carat diamond and an 18-carat gold collar. Ay-chee-wah-wah. So let's just pretend it is the perfume in a "normal" bottle. For 19 oz (that's how much is in the Imperial Majesty bottle) it would still be $40,850! And for your middle class American, that seems to me like an entire years' wage. Crazy, huh? Can you imagine pouring $40,850 worth of perfume on somebody's feet? Put the whole story in a new perspective for me.

There you go. You got to know what nard was and all about the most expensive perfume in the world. Now, granted that's a whole bunch of factoids and it is Factoid Friday not Factoids Friday, but if you will be gracious and forgive me, I'll try not to do it again.

P.S. Cleopatra would drench her sails in the most exquisite scents so that their fragrance would herald her approach along the banks of the Nile. I think that's pretty cool. If you're going to be a Pharoah, do it with panache, right? Dang it! That's another factoid!

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