Fragrance & the Apothecary - A trip down the rabbit hole of perfumania. Discussing the ancient art of attars, recovering from "smell blindness," and an experiment with lichens as perfume.
Hi Sarah, I was reading your post with great excitement, your work with essential oils, scents, and the mascerating of poplar buds is so similar to my own journey, and I realised I could learn so much from you. And then at the end of your post I was most pleasantly surprised to find my Substack mentioned! How kind and thoughtful of you! Thank you so much. My favourite summer plant is meadowsweet, and last summer I steeped the flowers in oil on a sunny window sill for 6 weeks, one batch with fresh flowers and one after I'd dried them. I used the oil as a facial cleanser and I can't tell you how uplifting it was to get that blast of gentle summer scent every morning as the weather turned colder and moved into winter. Good luck with the poplar buds! Oh, and I love your Bookshelf, what a fabulous resource.💕
This is a wonderful article. I have read it twice. I am sad to say that I contracted covid 1 1/2 years ago, lost my sense of smell, and have only regained part of it. I can barely taste chocolate, mostly the sweetness of it, although my imagination carries me some of the way. I've noticed that shrimp is only a vague taste, and once again, I find myself imagining the taste as I eat it. Same with some other foods. Since I have been olfactory-dominant in my five senses since birth, it has been distressing to have this valuable sense muted. Through Applied Kinesiology, I have had my vagus nerve worked on, which has helped only minimally. I chew a very minty gum almost daily to remind my brain of intense flavors. As a retired holistic chiropractor, I have hundreds of bottles of fragrance, especially essential oils. I sometimes sniff lemon or rose oil when I'm down, as an upper. Lately, I've been thrilled with spikenard, as it is so earthy. After reading your article, I an encouraged to take daily "doses" of a different fragrance each day to remind my 10th cranial to turn on more. (My chiropractor already told me to do so) Since in my teens, I have been a good cook, but it's hard to be so when one can't taste the food.
I love Ali Isaac's writing, and am thrilled she's back at it with sharing her fabulous articles. She's way too modest about her skills. I told her about you, but she already knew! Great things come out of Ireland. Thank you for this lovely article.
Here's an idea for a workshop! I would be interested! x