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…

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…

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 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,…

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 Chemistry of Death and Desire

What do fleshy tuberose, cooked Brussel sprouts, chocolate, the musk of human sex, faeces, and a decomposing body all have in common?