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 Rise of Miasma

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. In this post, we’re discussing the rise of Miasma Theory during the Second Pandemic and how it impacted European olfactive…

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…

Turning the Bones Part II: Endangered Customs

This is Part II of our two-part look at Famadihana. Read Part I here While forces have been at work for some time trying to kill the lively and joyous practice of Famadihana, they have done little to dampen the practice in the highlands; what may prove the death nail, however, is the pneumonic plague.

Turning the Bones Part I: Dance with the Perfumed Dead

Places have souls; you experience them through their scents. What does Madagascar’s soul smell like? Mango and lemon chutney, recently plucked limes and papaya, fresh green coffee pods, and newly ground cocoa powder. It’s in homemade cinnamon-infused rum mixed with coconut milk (a Punch Coco), carved Rosewood figures rubbed with nutty Baobab oil, wild ylang-ylang…

An Apple of Whale Poop a Day Keeps The Black Death at Bay

If you are a lover of perfumes, you have many joys, one of them is getting to explain the mystical substance known as Ambergris to the unsuspecting. Aged ambergris (literally grey amber) has an earthy mildly marine sweetness. Think of warm, sea-salted skin after a day of sailing.