Black Velvet (Northern Ireland Black Market)
The medieval knight is one of the most romantic figures in Irish history. Many stories have glorified their prowess in battle and stressed the ethical code of chivalry that knights introduced to the society of the time. In earlier conflicts, they were a major land necessary machine of war, along with the archer and sword-wielding foot soldier. In the interim, between wars, decorated knights continued their practice and traditional games during jousting tournaments. People would travel for weeks to watch the best of the clansmen from each shire “do or die” at tournament. With the rush of adrenaline fresh from fighting real enemies of the realm, many of the most respected knights met their end on local courses.
Widows and worried peasant wives grew tired of the blood and loss they felt from watching their husbands fall to other Irishmen. To comfort themselves, they began a tradition with bragging rights of their own. From the early 1800s until the early 1900s, many of the shires held a different kind of tournament. With Ireland being the most beautifully fragrant land in all the world, families of women competed to create the most delectable aroma from things grown and gathered within their own communities. Each spring, the winner of each shire journeyed to Dublin to compete against other perfumers for the bragging rights of a national perfume that would be known each year as “Essence of Eire.”
It is said that the first winner was disqualified when she was found to be from the ruffian land of Northern Ireland. Upon returning to her homeland, disgraced, she fell into a deep depression and died. Her daughters took her fragrance underground with the name Northern Ireland Black Market of NIBM. Two centuries later it still ships around the globe but by a very different moniker: Black Velvet.