This year I have found and worn some beautiful work. I had a very unsettling period in the summer when my sense of smell just collapsed; I found myself unable to properly distinguish between notes, accords and materials I normally navigated with ease. This was the result of a serious viral infection a few years ago that resulted in hospitalisation and now a ghostly set of symptoms rises and falls like a malevolent tide, periodically attacking my olfactory system. Even when I recover, I am plagued by doubts; am I truly smelling cashmeran or cistus or just my memory of them? It has made me painfully conscious of how I interact with aroma, much more so then before and I have been researching the science of scent psychology and the effect on mood, migraine, learning, autism, dementia and sexual awareness. I now go for days with no scent on at all, whereas before I would never have dreamed of doing that. My skin and senses need days of neutrality and blankness in order for me to process aroma.
I have written less than I would have liked I think, but what I have written is bold and heartfelt. Some of you have commented on the increased poeticism and eroticism in the writing. This is fine; I am always trying to do different things. I wrote five scent-related prose essays for Issue 4 of ODOU Magazine, the olfactory related publication designed and edited by the wonderful Liam Moore. I loved writing these, short obsessive pieces linking sex, death, desire and love to five particular fragrances including Bulgari Black, Vero Kern’s Onda, Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas, Daphne by Comme des Garçons and Tabac Blond by Caron. I have more prose in Issue 5.. not saying too much except it will be haunted and obsessed with roses.
I have always taken my time with my reviews and thoughts, those of you that follow my work are aware of that. I need to, the pieces are long, detailed and take a lot of time to research, plan and assemble. I also take a lot of the images myself. If don’t take them, I edit them ruthlessly through a complex series of apps, filters, lenses, effects and frames to achieve the precise look I desire. Editing is exhausting. I always overwrite and prune back; it’s the way I’ve always written. It’s indulgent and time consuming I know, but it allows me to play around with large amounts of info and then begin to carefully whittle it down through numerous drafts. I have a few trusted readers, only one technical reader, perfumer and friend Mr E; he has read my work from the beginning and I rely on his expert aroma knowledge to help me when I stumble or need reassurance that my instincts are not crazy. I still don’t do negative reviews and yet I’m still criticised by other bloggers for this. I don’t care. Everyone is different, all our tastes unique. I like things, you all like things. That’s all it really amounts to. I am not a perfumer or any kind of expert; I write on what I like, why waste time on anything else?