Victorian Tear Catchers Are Trash

It seems like every year, my colleagues and I have to dispute the myth of Victorian Tear Catchers. I don’t know how or why disproving internet myths about perfume became my life, but here we are. So let’s go a bit deeper than space would allow in that tweet, and let’s hope I never have…

Introducing Our New Newsletter!

I am so excited to announce I will be publishing a monthly newsletter, Aromatica de Profundis, starting August 1st, 2021, with enrollment opening July 1st! Why a newsletter? Well, I have multiple areas of interest and research.  I’ve found that some people know me from one aspect of what I do but have no idea…

The Redolent Plague Doctor?

We’ve all seen him. A dark figure, robed in black, carrying his long examining stick like a scythe. A pale beak glimpsing out from beyond his broad-brimmed hat. A carrion crow turned man. Such nightmare fuel could only spring forth from the fever dreams of a Dark Age mind, right? His beak stuffed with aromatic…

The Sweet Smell of Plague Preservatives

This post is part of the Scented History of the Plague series. If you are not familiar with the history of the plague in Europe, you may want to pop over to our primer first or learn about why miasma was important to the Black Death. In today’s post, we will be discussing the deliciously…

The Scented History of the Plague: A Primer

Hello my beloveds, over the next few posts we will be discussing the history of the plague, miasma, and their impact on olfactive culture. This turned into a gigantic undertaking so instead of dropping a 10,000-word brick in your inboxes I’ll be breaking up our tale over several posts. Before we get into the super…

Books I’m Excited to Read This Year

A new year is upon us and with it, a fresh start to crush my Goodreads Reading Challenge, or at least that is how I would have approached it in past years. I’m an intensely competitive person, and I would read 60-90 books a year mostly just to prove I could. I always had a…

The Putrid and the Divine Book Club 2019

A few years back, after receiving several requests for more information on topics covered in the blog, I made a lengthy list of over 50 books to indulge our olfactive bookworms. In retrospect, that list was a bit daunting. At first, I was planning to just do an updated tighter edit of that list but instead,…

Scented Prayers: Copal & the Day of the Dead

With the success of movies like Coco and The Book of Life, along with the popularity of children’s books like The Dead Family Diaz, it is clear that the English speaking world is more familiar than ever with Día de Muertos (aka Day of the Dead). Overall I think this is a good thing. Latin American…

The Death/Scent Reading List

Over the last year I have had several requests for more information and deeper reads on subjects brought up on the blog. So after banging around my shelves a bit, here is the Death/Scent reading list. Some of them are staples of both olfactive and death literature, others are weird and wonderful deep cuts.  This…

The Perfumed Mummy

Now we reach the intersection of material culture, belief systems, and death with the physical preparation of the body, which used many aromatic ingredients. The creation of the archetypical Egyptian mummy was a complex evolution that embraced the olfactive elements of the putrid and the divine.