the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Tag: perfume


A Swiss fragrance chemist is traveling the world, trying to capture the scents of hundreds of rare and endangered species and archeologists are using modern analytical technologies to bring ancient scents to life.

Scientists at Bonn University’s Egyptian Museum, for example, are trying to raise from the dead, so to speak, the aroma of the contents of a 3,500-year-old perfume bottle from the reign of the Egyptian female pharaoh Hatshepsut.

“Smell is unique among the senses in the way it is processed by the brain — olfactory information travels directly to a brain region linked with the hippocampus and the amygdala, sites of memory and emotion,” writes Humphries.

“Scientists have suggested that the way smell is processed makes smell memories particularly strong and persistent. But outside of our memory, smells themselves are ephemeral: They are formed by volatile chemical compounds that can easily disperse and disintegrate. So smell is both a powerful part of our experiences and an evanescent one.”

photo: Nicolas Muller – Girona, 1940s
from: unlocking the scents of the past
and more


how to make egyptian musk

Things You’ll Need:

  • Eyedropper
  • Patchouli essential oil
  • Rose essential oil
  • Cedar essential oil
  • Amber essential oil
  • Frankincense essential oil
  • Myrrh essential oil
  • Vanilla essential oil
  • Almond oil
  • Instructions:

    Use an eyedropper to place nine drops (each) of patchouli, rose, and amber essential oils into an amber-colored glass bottle with a cap (1 cup capacity). Add seven drops of frankincense, myrrh and cedarwood essential oils to the bottle. Place five drops of vanilla essential oil into the bottle. Fill the bottle half full of pure almond oil and replace the cap. Shake the bottle and place it in a dark place for up to 21 days. Apply the oil blend directly to your skin as fragrance.

    (photo: from here)
    (perfume recipes: here and here and this too)
    (inspired by a favorite scent,
    which reminds me of 1995, working at buffalo exchange
    and selling tons of this stuff)

    animalic, earthy and woody

    To obtain the musk, the deer is killed and its gland, also called “musk pod”, is removed. Upon drying, the reddish-brown paste inside the musk pod turns into a black granular material called “musk grain”, which is then tinctured with alcohol. The aroma of the tincture gives a pleasant odor only after it is considerably diluted. No other natural substance has such a complex aroma associated with so many contradictory descriptions; however, it is usually described abstractly as animalic, earthy and woody or something akin to the odor of baby’s skin.


    the oldest perfume

    “Extracts of anise, pine, coriander, bergamot, almond, and parsley are among the ingredients the ancient perfume-makers preferred.”

    from here

    scents and sensibility

    my mother was Channel No. 5.

    i was XS (until i learned it was discontinued).

    it has been a brutal parting with the fumes of 1994 (when i first started wearing it) contained in its now empty bottle.

    how do i start over?

    where do i begin?

    it’s a parting i refuse to accept.

    (and on a totally unrelated note:  joan’s cigarettes.)

    das perfume


    (marlene deitrich)

    “In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber pots. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer very young, came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and tumorous disease. The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces.The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentice as did his master’s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the king himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the queen like an old goat, summer and winter”
    — Patrick Süskind, Perfume

    a nose knows

    “Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” 
                  –patrick suskind, perfume

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