When my daughter was born, I would place tiny dots of sandalwood oil behind her perfect little ears and in the folds of her delicate neck. She was the best smelling baby around; the combination of the natural scent of infant and sandalwood was heady, divine, something you could live in forever. It’s an unusual thing, to perfume babies, something that runs counter to today’s heightened wariness of unnecessary exposure to chemicals (though the perfume oil I used was natural, with no additives or preservatives).
A cloaked and masked phantom who wanders through dense woodlands, stopping only to smell flowers. A legendary, extinct herb praised by ancient philosophers, emperors, and cooks. Puddles of gleaming white liquid dripped by stalactites in Alpine caves. You have entered the world of Stora Skuggan, a niche perfume brand that delights in translating tales of myth and mystery into olfactory experiences.
As the Stora Skuggan website says of the above-mentioned phantom (whose legend inspired their first fragrance, Fantôme de Maules), “The modern world is alight with information and the shadows are shrinking. It is rare to come across someone who doesn’t feel it is necessary to explain himself.” Perhaps that’s why I enjoy encountering a perfume line that remains faceless, almost nameless…
But scientists investigating a chemical that smells like sandalwood have discovered the woody, floral “odorant” can stimulate hair growth. They published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
“This is actually a rather amazing finding,” Ralf Paus, research leader and a scientist at the University of Manchester, told The Independent. “This is the first time ever that it has been shown that the remodeling of a normal human mini-organ [a hair] can be regulated by a simple, cosmetically widely-used odorant.”
— Read more at Battling Baldness With Sandalwood: Synthetic Scent Stimulates Hair Growth at Newsweek.
Two weeks ago there was a Meeting of the Noses in Portland, Oregon. After knowing each other via Now Smell This and emails for almost !12! years, Angela and I finally met face to face. (And I’m happy to report that Angie is as witty, kind and charming in person as she is in her writing. Okay, add a dash of lighthearted roguery, as well!) One other nose was involved in our meeting, too — raconteuse Tracy Tsefalas of the Portland perfume boutique Fumerie. I forgot how much fun it is to discuss the Perfume Industry with fellow travelers.
On the shelves of Fumerie, I was thrilled to discover some hard-to-find Ortigia products. Ortigia was founded by Sue Townsend of Crabtree & Evelyn fame…
Why are so many fragrances, not to mention entire fragrance lines, inspired by travel or destinations? Fashionista recently posed this question, without quite getting around to answering it. While I may not have the answer, either, I do know that it’s not a new idea, no matter what Fashionista may say: I’m thinking waaay back to best-selling classics like Evening in Paris, but also to more recent destination-inspired scents from Hermès (remember Un Jardin sur le Nil?) and L’Artisan Parfumeur (Bois Farine! Timbuktu!), not to mention entire brands like Bond no. 9.
If you’d asked me a month ago, I might have had some deep theory about this, but my current reality is that I’m laid up with a broken ankle and I just want to close my eyes and imagine places other than my living room. So I’m back with two more fragrances from Le Jardin Retrouvé, following my thoughts on Cuir de Russie…