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…

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…

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 to…

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…