Shezmu: The Demon-God of Egyptian Perfume

If you are a fan of fragrance history, you may be familiar with the Egyptian god Nefertem. He is the personification of the Cosmic Lotus in the Egyptian creation myth. Nefertem is the protector of dawn and patron of Egypt’s beloved blue lotuses. Nefertem rises from the river at daybreak each morning with his flowers…

Nuri & Hayley Talk 7 Years of Perfume

  As part of our anniversary celebrations, I sat down to do a duelling interview with Hayley Croom from Paintbox Soapworks. We discussed seven years of writing, the feral qualities of solo entrepreneurship, and learning to love cherry accords. Usually, my interviews can only be found in my monthly newsletter, Aromatica de Profundis, but we…

Tappūtī-Bēlet-ekallim: The First Perfumer?

  If you Google Tappūtī-Bēlet-ekallim, you will find dozens of articles praising her as the first perfumer. Online, Tappūtī-Bēlet-ekallim is presented as a feminist, a scientist, and an entrepreneur. Yet, those concepts would have been utterly foreign to her lived experience. Images accompanying these stories feature Babylonian goddesses, Sumerian queens, and Urukian tablets. They’re a…

The Sketchy History of Four Thieves Oil

The internet has a thing about salacious history. Give the crowd a good old-timey murder, and they will produce 150,000 blog posts and eight true crime podcasts devoted to telling you the real story. While I give them points for enthusiasm, these works often employ some very dodgy research methods. Copy-and-paste is in pretty heavy rotation. Researched and…