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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Know a Slow Nose?

by Marla

I’ve become very drawn to the Slow. It began in Italy. It began with food. Delicious Italian food. Carlo Petrini was ticked off in 1986 about the opening of a McDonald’s, and he didn’t like fast food, period. So now we have Slow Food, Slow Cities, Slow Design. What does Slow Perfumery look like?

Slow is the love of where you are. Slow is local. Slow is taking your time (duh). Slow is caring about each and every product you make. Slow is highlighting special things grown or made only in your neck of the woods. Slow is about taking some breaks, a few naps, some time to roam around and ponder. Slow is sustainable. Slow is honoring your own community, and honoring other unique communities, too. Slow is quality. Slow is buying less often, but buying well and loving it.

Do you know a slow nose? Do you know a slow company that specializes in aromatics or aromatherapy or perfumery? I’ve interviewed a few here on PST: Jane Cate (Wing and a Prayer Perfumes), Dabney Rose, the attar families of India. I’ve worn the wonderful creations of a few others: Elise (Bellyflowers Botanical Perfumes), Roxana Villa (Illuminated Perfumes), Anya McCoy (Anya’s Garden Perfumes), dupetit (Germany).

Please leave a comment and tell me about what you know of Slow Perfume! Let’s get this slow ball rolling!

-My family recently became certified as sea turtle rescuers, so I thought I’d use images of sea turtles. They’re (slowly) nesting on our local beaches right now!



Blogger Ducks said...

Laurie at Sonoma Scent Studio. I love her works. And of course myself, haha! But I am not selling perfumes yet, just making them for family and friends.

I mostly wanted to congratulate you on becoming certified turtle rescuers. Certification can be difficult! We volunteer at a wildlife rescue center but are not yet certified to help with oil spills -- although we handle oiled wildlife all the time, it's just not the same as during a spill.

12:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Meredith said...

This might be a good time to introduce the Independent Perfumers Guild – we're looking for slow perfumers who wish to promote the art of 'slow' artisan fragrances to come join our cause. We've got lots of slow noses gathered on our Facebook page already:

I hope this isn't too forward of me to post this here, but this just really resonated with me!


2:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Ducks,
Yes, I've written back and forth with Laurie a bit, and one of her wonderful perfumes is in an upcoming article of mine!
Glad you are helping with the spills, there have been far too many lately!

6:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Meredith, this is a great time and place to leave that info!

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger marsha said...

Marla: I don't know any slow noses, but I live in eastern NC and wanted to offer kudoes to you on becoming certified turtle rescuers. I know on our beaches the turtles have to fight with the tourists just for a safe place to spawn. KUDOES!!

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

I'll second Laurie at SSS. The time and thought she puts into her creations is so obvious. If you like woody/incensey/resiny scents, hers are a must-try.
Congratulations on the certfication - those little buggers need all the help they can get.

9:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, sometimes I want to bop the tourists on the head! But there are worse things than tourists....It's debated whether it's better to clearly mark the nests here in Florida or not; turtle eggs are a delicacy and there are few staff to patrol the beaches these days against sad.

9:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Laurie definitely counts as a slow perfumer. She doesn't have a perfume that highlights local materials, per se, but has a beautiful oak perfume (she lives in oak woods). Roxana Villa and Anya McCoy really go the extra mile to create their own local materials for their perfumes that highlight their locations, it's pretty amazing. Ditto Elise and Dabney. Sophia duToit has been doing a lot to bring the unique materials of her own country, South Africa, to market. One of these days, I have to try making perfumery materials myself.

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marko said...

I'm a big fan of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I had the chance to meet with her last summer in her charming boutique in Boulder, CO....she is the epitome of "Slow" (in the way YOU described SLOW - not in the "not very smart" kind of slow....just want to be clear....).

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger dabney rose said...

Slow Nose...I like that! That goes along with my appreciation of unpretentiousness: I'm seeing a lot of 'trick ponies' & circus acts in the perfume world that leave me cold. Let's get back to loveliness and grace, at least for me.

12:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Dawn's work definitely fits the definition of slow. She's amazing! Does she work much with Colorado/Rocky Mtn. botanicals?

1:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loveliness and grace, that's exactly right! As someone who works with her local botanicals in a lovely and graceful manner, you are officially SLOW! I hope slow continues to grow!

1:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Elise Pearlstine said...

Slow to me means taking the time to get to know your botanical materials, which can be complex. Also, growing and harvesting some of your own scented material is a great way to slow down your nose. Thanks for a great article.

4:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is particularly wonderful to get to know a plant in all forms from seed/cutting to full blooms to perfume material. My only experience with that is lavender, spruce sap, and seaweed, but what fun!

6:31 PM EDT  
Blogger JoAnne Bassett said...

Hi, I am a slow nose..since 1993.
I am an aromatherapist and Couture Natural Perfumer. My company's website is

I grow some of my own raw materials such as roses, gardenias, citrus flowers, etc and use them in my creations.

JoAnne Bassett

3:44 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds wonderful, JoAnne, and I've heard a lot of good buzz about your "slow perfumes", too!Gardenias are my favorite garden flowers. Thanks for joining the list!

9:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Joanna said...

I ordered some summer clearance scents from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently and with the delivery came a sample of Alba from her Italian Splendor Collection. I decided to try it this morning and couldn't get online to order a bottle fast enough. What a beautiful scent! I can see myself wearing this everyday for quite some time. I've also been enjoying Opus Oils and Liz Zorn this summer.

11:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz Zorn has done some beautiful perfumes that highlight specific locations, as has DSH....

1:58 PM EDT  
Anonymous Joanna said...

I think Horst M. Rechelbacher is a slow nosed perfumer who doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. I thought some of those Aveda scents in the late 80's - early 90's were amazing and I miss them. Aveda has lost it's soul since being bought out but I love Jasminas, Horst's scent from Intelligent Nutrients. It is my favorite jasmine fragrance and is obviously crafted by someone with respect and knowledge of this flower.

2:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a jasmine nut, I must seek this one out!

8:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Doc Elly said...

I'm undoubtedly one of the slow perfumers, too. There are a number of things that I've been working on for the past year, dragging my feet. Part of the reason for my slowness is that I have to find time for perfume-making, balancing it with everything else in my life, the other factor is that my modus operandi is waiting for some sort of inspiration to strike, or subconscious processes to take place, and that happens in its own good time.

Meredith, I'll check out your Facebook page.

3:44 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc Elly,
I'm with you on finding the time and inspiration, but it's worth it in the end!

7:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Joanna said...

Marla, Jasminas is a pure jasmine scent. It's not heady or skanky, (Not that I don't appreciate a good skanky jasmine once in a while.) I love how uplifting and comforting the scent is. I find myself reaching for it a lot at the end of these long Minnesota winters when I can't wait any longer for spring to arrive.

10:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Illuminated Perfume said...

Thanks so much for including me in this fabulous topic near and dear to my heart and nose. Super grateful!

2:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roxana, it was a pleasure, your perfumes are beautifully uplifting!

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger janelc said...

HI Marla:
Thank you for including me in such good company. The article was(as always) informative and very well done.

2:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, Jane, you epitomize the perfumer that highlights her/his locale, and truly loves perfume creation and local materials.
You are SLOW!

5:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Julie H. Rose said...

I nominate Kathy Langelier, who owns the tiny company The Herbal Revolution (
she's such a slow nose that she doesn't know she makes perfume. She hand picks wild rose petals for her amazing edible Wild Rose and Honey Elixir, which is edible!

10:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Julie,
Your friend's work sounds intriguingly slow, I'll have to check out that shop. I like the idea of edible perfumes.

1:47 PM EDT  

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