Scent Diary : Flowers That Smell Like Hay

Phloxes smell like hay and cloves. These flowers are so commonplace that I don’t think I ever bothered to smell them before. They merged into the summer cityscape of dusty chestnut trees, yellowing grass and tiny marigolds that dot the lawns around here. Occasionally, I spotted them at the florists, but since I knew that they don’t keep their freshness well, I rarely bought them. Not smelling phloxes was a mistake, because if I were to have lowered my face into the mass of soft petals sooner, I would have added another beautiful fragrance to my scent palette.

This little discovery encouraged me to smell things I often take for granted–walnut leaves, chestnut shells, potato peels. When boiling chickpeas for a salad, I noticed that they smell meaty and nutty at once. Moss covered clay pots on the patio had a vetiver like odor. I also tried Jovan Musk from my box of “perfumes to try later” and liked its creamy drydown.

Scent Diary is a place where we can share fragrances we encounter, good and bad, perfumes we wear and the scents around us. It’s a way to sharpen our sense of smell, but also just to enjoy the fragrance hobby in a different way. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

Wishing a great Labor Day weekend to my American readers!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, phloxes

Roja Dove The Essence of Perfume Book Giveaway

Roja Dove kindly offered a copy of his book The Essence of Perfume to one Bois de Jasmin reader. “In The Essence of Perfume the story of perfume, from ancient Egypt where the fragrance Kypi induced mass surrender when it was offered in worship to the sun god, through the rivalry between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, and up to modern day celebrity fragrances, is told by Roja Dove.” It’s a coffee table sized volume, now published in its second edition and available through the publisher and

To enter, please comment by answering this question: “What book are you currently reading? How are you enjoying it?”


The contest is now closed. I will select one winner via a random number generator and will announce the winner next week. Thank you for participating.

Best Lavender Perfumes : My Financial Times Magazine Column

In my new article for the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column, The Best Lavender Perfumes, I talk about some of my favorite lavender blends as well as fragrances that use lavender notes.


Lavender is a much misunderstood perfume ingredient. “Too simple” is a common response from many who’ve long associated it with aftershaves and soaps. Among perfume materials, lavender may not have the femme-fatale allure of jasmine or tuberose, but in terms of versatility, the essence of its tiny violet flowers often outranks more exotic blooms. It can be found in fragrances from all corners of the perfume map. Please read the rest by clicking here.

Climate change and the spread of disease are creating pressures for the production of lavender in France, and I also touch upon this issue in my article.

If you have favorite lavender perfumes, I would love to hear what you enjoy and wear. 

Photo via FT

Perfume and Poetry: The Book of Scented Things Review

Patricia on perfume and poetry.

For me poetry first meant the limericks and nursery rhymes in The Golden Treasury of Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer and containing lovely illustrations by Joan Walsh Anglund. The pages of this book became dog-eared and torn over the years, and the cover finally fell off. Once I could read, I graduated to the longer poems within, such as “The Highwayman” and “Paul Revere’s Ride.” But it wasn’t until high school, when I was introduced to a wider range of poetry, especially modern verse, that I felt the power of poetry to take one on an incredible journey within the space of only a few verses. As a teenager, the poems of e e cummings were early favorites, and I still have a copy of Poems 1923-1954, my name written on the flyleaf in loopy handwriting I hardly recognize.


The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems About Perfume, edited by Jehanne Dubrow and Lindsay Lusby, is a collection of one hundred original poems about fragrance written by American poets. These poets were sent perfume vials, all different and carefully chosen by the editors, and asked to “…write a poem that engages with or responds to the fragrance that we have sent you.” The editors go into detailed explanation of the book’s inception in the Introduction, and Alyssa Harad, author of Coming to My Senses, provides her thoughts on scent and literature in a well-written Preface. A very useful Contributors’ and Matchmaking Notes section appears at the end of the book and gives biographical information on each poet as well as the name of the assigned perfume.

Continue reading →

L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube Giveaway Result

The winner is Polinia. Congratulations! Please email me your address, and I will pass it on to A.

Again, thank you to A. for your generosity and willingness to share!

If a winner doesn’t respond within 7 days, I reserve a right to pick another person.

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