The Olfactive

Rodney Hughes


I am a native of Louisiana, who moved to NYC in late eighties. I came to New York at the tail end of the Studio 54 and the Garage Dance Phenomena. The City was still smoking from all the partying, sex, drugs and of course the height of fashion. It was for that very last reason I moved to New York. Here I am this bright eyed young art student who had come to study at Pratt Institute. New York was so full of excitement, bizarre happenings and an element of danger.

It was the first time a really saw homelessness and mental patients turned out into the streets. It was nothing to walking down the street and see a person literally talking to an electrical pole. This place was as if the veil of all illusion had been ripped, torn and tattered. It seemed like a no holds barred kind of place to a young man whom up to this point had lived a very sheltered existence. Ever since I could remember, it was the type of excitement and fast pace I had longed for while growing up in Louisiana.It’s funny how the grass seems greener on the other side. After living in NYC for nearly 30 years, I would have to say its current gentrification has wiped away a lot of the dinginess, glitter, excitement. Sometimes, I feel like it’s not the city that once excited and gathered an amazing array of artists. However, I have no regrets, this experience has been life changing.

Living and working in this city has allowed me so much excess to the inner workings of living a creative life. Fresh out of Design School in 1991, I started a Men’s Activewear line with my best friend. We spent the next 6 years designing and selling in across America. This was a great experience and really set me on a path of entrepreneurship. So even after the we retired the collection and I retuned to the corporate sector of fashion, but maintained this spirit as a freelancer.Fashion taught me some great lessons through my interaction in a highly creative environment where deadlines were super pressurized and travel overseas meant playing as hard as we worked. I even have a pair on pants I split on the dance floor while in Sri Lanka to prove we went hard. 

The title  Therapeutate refers to the Egyptian Therapeutae  a sect of Healer Priests started by Pharaoh Tuthmose III of the 18th Dynasty.

The title Therapeutate refers to the Egyptian Therapeutae a sect of Healer Priests started by Pharaoh Tuthmose III of the 18th Dynasty.

Therapeutate Parfums began in 2007 about the time I started to consider what my future in fashion should be. Earlier that year my partner and I had opened a very unique community hardware store. It was everything home repair, custom paints and a highly curated selection of the best in green home and leisure care products. We were known as the boutique hardware store because of its interior design and approach to selling tools, gardening and home products.By the next year, I left Fashion to concentrate on the business and to launch Therapeutate Parfums. In just two years the hardware store grow so fast, we were moving into a larger location, while the previous store would be developed into another retail venture. This began the project of Liquid Oz Cafe and Wine Bar. So as you can see things were happening so fast something was bound to suffer. This meant my time on TP was very limited, but I kept this dream live by developing a private following of devoted lovers and becoming a nose/contributing writer for Ca Fleure Bon. 

When I am thinking of the creation of a perfume, I thinking of what I want to say and what should this new fragrance represent about my life and its experience. Being an artist my goal is to paint a landscape that will take ones scent perception through a guided tour of my personal experiences. An example of this would be fragrance I once created to represent how I felt walking in NYC on early spring while the cold crispiness of winter still loomed over the city. Its goal was to capture all the anticipation of spring I could sense in the air.Exotic Flower the fragrance you feel drawn to had a very different approach. This perfume came out of my desire to create a rich, dark Chypre full of incense and white flowers. It was an exercise is narcissism, to see if I could defy convention.

It was originally to be called, The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice. Its infused with black and blueberries with many references to the Isle of Cyprus and its female cult of fertility.To be an Indie Perfumer is challenging, but I don't know any other way that allows me to feel the freedom I have created for my life. I can look at what’s truly great in the market place and separate what’s just another pretty covering, but smells like everything else. This helps me define my place in the crowd. Do I come dress like every one else on trend or do I make an entrance that’s lasting? That is the question.I prefer working in naturals and botanicals because I approach life as a healing process.

I am a Reiki Master, my intention is to live a healthy, balanced existence. This for me means maintaining a deeply spiritual connection to all parts of myself. However, I am not walking around with blinders on, I know that the market place is dominated by an array of approaches. Its important to have choices, its all relevant. For that reason, I have familiarized my palate with isolates (“considered natural”), aroma-chemicals and animal by products, so I get it. What I don’t get is when a “nose” tells me the only way for a perfumer to achieve depth and layers is to apply the latter. I say rubbish, Therapeutate Parfums’ depth and layers can hang with what’s considered the best by standard. I have been wearing some of the very best niche and commercial fragrances for years, before I began creating perfumes.

However, I love being a natural perfumer and the work is informed by my spiritual life, travels and insights into history. Currently the line is available on or by directly contacting me at The line has just undergone a facelift and re-branding and will be available soon via website and a Flagship store to open in New Orleans in early 2016. The top industry reports seem to think and have projected huge growth in the areas of commercial application to enhance a shopper’s experience and drive the retail bottomline, they predict growth in areas of healing and naturals, men’s grooming, pet adornment and children. Personally, I see naturals and botanicals taking center stage as consumers become better educated. When shopping for food, we are moving towards free range, minimally processed, organic, local and fair trade. This is were I see every area of our lives “leaning into being.”