“Perfume is a language whose speech is worth learning and unpacking as one would a poem, book, or film. Scent is a path to getting closer to our senses, to instinct, and to our bodies and the earth at a time when those attachments are threatened.”
Acquainting myself with narcissus. I wore Bruno Fazzolari’s Au Delà Narcisse today (a new favorite!), and later on I spent some time with the absolute and browsed Nez’s “naturals notebook.” Such a complex scent—earthy and spicy at the same time, a little bit like iris, but richer and more honeyed.
“The study of smell requires one to exit the realm of the beautiful to descend into what German philosophers used to call the Sublime, and come face to face with the enduring strangeness of raw sensation.” —Luca Turin, The Secret of Scent
Lavender is a polarizing scent, surprisingly to me! It’s one of my first scent loves, but when I ask people about the smells they like or dislike, a lot of people declare that they hate lavender. In perfumery, lavender comes in two distinctive forms: essential oil (steam distilled), which is a top note that has a more medicinal, herby aroma. This is what most people think of when they think of lavender. Then there’s lavender absolute (long story short: dissolved), which is a middle note with a softer floral aroma. It smells more like the actual flower—which is all over the place here in the PNW. 💜
Have you ever tried to sit with a smell when you don’t know what it is, and describe it without first trying to find out what it is or how someone else describes it? It almost feels like you have your hands tied behind your back, and you just can’t “reach” it. It makes you realize how limited our language for scent is! But if you let yourself stay in that space for a few minutes to observe the scent, observe your response, and observe the thoughts the smell evokes, you can arrive at some interesting ideas you otherwise wouldn’t have.