BY TRISTA EDWARDS
Christian Dior once said, "A woman’s perfume tells you more about her than her handwriting." I thought about this quote as I began to experiment in making my first batch of solid perfume in my kitchen. The process itself is fairly simple but the intricacies of fragrance leave me equally dazzled and overwhelmed.
Many years ago, I traveled to the Fragonard perfumery, one of the oldest perfumeries in Côte d’Azur, France. I became entranced not just by the hypnotizing aromas but the beauty of the bottles, the flowers, and the herbs that went into each scent. Not only did each bottle encapsulate a bouquet of sensual splendor but the potential to become the signature of memory. Studies have well documented that certain smells can trigger various memories and emotions. With this, Dior’s pithy statement makes complete sense. We all have at least one or two distinct smells (if not more) that when they hit our olfactory sensors take us immediately back to a time, place, or person.
When I smell lilacs, I am suddenly nine years old again and playing among the laundry hung out to dry in my childhood backyard in Ohio. When I smell damp dirt, I’m eleven and putting my bike away for the night in 1900s barn where my grandfather stored his tools. When I smell cigarettes, I’m seventeen and baking under the Georgia sun at an outdoor concert listening to punk rock. When I smell honeysuckle, I’m twenty and I’m with my boyfriend trespassing on somebody’s private property to get to the creek on their land, sunbathe on the large, warm rocks in the middle of the water, and smoke a joint.
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Fragrances are intimate. Even as I type now, the mere mention of these scents is causing a sore ache in my chest and a throbbing desire for visceral experience of these moments. It hurts.
I am not too afraid to admit that I covet the possibility to possess the signature scent of memory for somebody, to be someone’s happy, aching remembrance. Because of this, I rarely don more than a few select fragrances. Since my early twenties, I have had a steady collection of scents that I will apply. Yes, I genuinely love these perfumes but I also like to keep my signature memory pool limited. I rotate between notes of lavender, patchouli, rose, and cedar wood. It is a selfish and base desire but we all have them. There are many ways we attempt to cast the spell of remembrance, to leave our mark, to cause a beautiful and painful ache in our absence even if it is only temporary. This is just another way we strange and intricate humans crave to be loved.
I have begun to concoct my own solid perfumes, to experiment and find the right balance of fragrance that applies to my desires…the mark I want to leave. There is intoxicating power in crafting your signature scent. I want to share the recipe I have been playing with. The process and proportions are similar to any solid perfume recipe you would find on any number of DIY blogs. What you really get to investigate and conjure is your personal likings on scent. What you want to be heavier, what you want to be a subtle note, how many fragrances you want to combine, what carrier base best suits your skin type, and so on.
So try and explore. Craft your signature scent or summon certain recollections you want to keep with you. Resurrect memories in little droplets of earth’s distilled essences.
Solid Perfume with Essential Oils
- 1 Tablespoon organic Almond Oil or another similar carrier oil
- 1 Tablespoon organic beeswax
- 1-3 Essential Oils (I used Lavender and Ylang-ylang)
- Dried rose petals (optional)
- A few drops of liquid vitamin E (optional)
- For step-by-step process, follow the video below.
Trista Edwards is a poet, land mermaid, light witch, horror enthusiast, creatrix, traveler, feminist, and dog lover. She is also the curator and editor of the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). She is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection but until then you can read her poems at The Journal, Mid-American Review, 32 Poems, Birmingham Poetry Review, The Boiler Journal, Sou’wester, Queen Mob's Tea House, and more. She writes about travel, ghosts, and poetry on her blog, Marvel + Moon. Trista is a contributing editor at Luna Luna Magazine.