scent diary: 43 posts

Scent Diary : 72 Seasons

“Bush warblers start singing in the mountains.” This is the name of the current season, according to the traditional Japanese calendar. The calendar is divided into 24 parts, called sekki, from Risshun (Beginning of spring) in early February until Daikan (Greater cold).  The 24 sekki are each split into three making up a total of 72 kō. Each kō is about five days and it has a poetic name adapted to Japanese climate.

To read through the calendar is to travel through the Japanese year, tracing the changes in nature and observing our surroundings in their minute detail. The names of the seasons are concise and yet descriptive, evoking perfectly the transformation as winter fades, spring undulates into summer and fall smolders into winter. As Murasaki Shikibu, the 11th-century author of the marvelous Tale of Genji noted, “It is nature that gives me the most pleasure, the changes through the seasons, the blossoms and leaves of autumn and spring, the shifting patterns of the skies.” If you’re curious to learn about 72 seasons, I invite you to read this article in Kyoto Journal.

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you–and about scents in your environment. 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.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Scent Diary : First of the Year

Happy 2024 to my readers and friends! I wish you many wonderful experiences, health and success. Above all, I wish that 2024 will be a more peaceful year than the previous one.

What was the first thing you smelled this year? One of the exercises I gave to my ISIPCA students to develop them ability to notice and describe aromas is to track the scents they smell over the course of five consecutive days. It was a training method I learned as a perfumery students and I always found it effective. Even these days when I make a point of keeping a scent diary for several days and noting what odors I observe around me, my perception of aromas becomes heightened.

So with the goal of starting the year well, here is my list:
Jasmine tea–white grape, apricot jam, suede, green buds.
White hyacinths–I made an arrangement with white hyacinths and pine branches and I smelled the vivid wet almond and earthy rose scent as soon as I walked into the living this morning.
Panettone–my homemade panettone was scented with orange and lemon peel, vanilla and rum-raisins.
Kefir–my morning, holiday or not, starts with feeding my army of pets–sourdough starters, nukadon, and kefir. Kefir smells wonderfully of green apple and lemon.
Hermès Cuir d’Ange–my perfume today, soft leather and tender musk, with a whisper of violets and faded roses.

I would love to read your lists.

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. 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.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Roses and Green Tea

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!

The combination of rose and black tea is gorgeous–the honeyed, citrusy note of rosewater complements the gentle smokiness of black tea well and brings out its roasted chestnut accents. Andy has previously shared his recipe for “the morning of roses” tea and I mentioned how I transform tea into a cup of Shalimar. However, using rosewater in green tea hasn’t occurred to me previously, since green teas are quite delicate and it didn’t seem to me that rose would fit well with the seaweed and spinach notes of the unfermented green blends I usually drink.

Oolong tea, on other hand, suits roses well. Oolong undergoes fermentation, the length of which varies depending on the tea grower, but in most cases, fermentation releases the floral notes of tea leaves. This is the reason osmanthus and jasmine suit oolongs perfectly–the marriage of flavors is harmonious.

Adding rosewater is not the same as letting the petals perfume the leaves, but it works well enough. Start with a couple of drops of rosewater added directly into the brewed tea and adjust the quantity to your taste. Savor the fragrant vapor rising above the cup. Enjoy the slow valse of flavors. A cup of tea is a moment to put the world on pause and carve out time for yourself. Make it as enjoyable as possible.

If you have your favorite teas or tea combinations, please share. 

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. 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.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Scent Diary : The Colors of Kateryna Bilokur

The colors of Kateryna Bilokur (1900-1961). Born into a peasant family, she learned painting on her own. Her family thought that she brought shame on them by refusing to be “a normal woman”—marry and have children. The Soviet government wanted to showcase that even peasants on Soviet collective farms can do such incredible things, so Bilokur was denied education she sought and a transfer to Kyiv. In 1954, her paintings were praised by Pablo Picasso when he saw them at the international exhibition in Paris. But that praise didn’t materialize into anything significant for Bilokur. She died in poor health a few years later.

Look at these rich colors and the splendor of these flowers. Imagine a place where all flowers bloom at the same time.

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. 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.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Scent Diary : The Beautiful Scent of Sweet Peas

What a beautiful fragrance do sweet peas have! Until I grew these flowers in my garden, I didn’t realize the full dimensions of their scent. In perfumery, a sweet pea accord is a common one in vintage-style fragrances, but I never enjoyed its cloying powderiness. Real sweet peas have a powdery scent, but this makeup-like note is uplifted by rose, pear and violet accents. Are you familiar with this fragrance? Do you have perfumes that resemble it?

For those curious to grow sweet peas themselves, I can tell you that they are not too capricious. They sprouted easily, but it took a few warm weeks for the plants to shot up and take over their corner of the flower bed. I bought a mix of different colors and it was a surprise to discover the hues of the blossoms as they opened up–magenta, purple, lilac, white, peach.

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