berig: 1 post

Where My Jasmine Forest Blooms

Much of my scent vocabulary comes from Poltava, a town in central Ukraine where I spent the first 15 summers of my life. I was born in the capital city of Kyiv, but Berig, a hamlet near the town of Poltava, is our family nest. My mother’s line can trace its roots to this region as far back as the 17th century. Though in Ukraine’s tumultuous history four centuries are hardly ancient, this land exhorts an inexorable pull on me. Berig is our idea of heaven. I can describe without much effort how many trees are in the orchard and which of the peeling grey shutters has a rusty hook, but I also can recall the exact scent inside the water tank, the damp warmth of the tool shed, and the bitter odor of dandelion flowers.

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As you read Bois de Jasmin, you breathe in these scents along with me, because the roots of my jasmine forest, bois de jasmin, are in Berig. When describing the fragrance of carnations and roses, I think of the flowers my great-grandmother grew. They are my olfactive referents. And so I would like to take you to very place that inspired Bois de Jasmin, to my great-grandparents’ house in Berig.

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