Perfumer & Poet
I love anything unorthodox.
I came to perfume in an unorthodox way, as a byproduct of intense immersion in a culture that adores fragrance. I moved to Morocco when the economy crashed. The year before I had studied there and had made friends thanks to Moroccan kindness. I knew that as a developing country the worldwide lull would have less effect in Morocco. At the time going there with just a suitcase and Euros from a summer job felt much more secure than the prospects of returning to America.
I loved it. I found work teaching, which is still one of my passions. I ate street food and spent afternoons wandering the medina and my French became more nuanced with Moroccan Darija. And though I had visited Provençal perfumeries, Morocco was where I began to truly appreciate fragrances. The souks sell just about everything. One stall had a wall of amber bottles labeled with their contents: rose, sage, eucalyptus, cedarwood, rosemary. The materials were of the quality that has made Moroccan oils internationally famous. It was the first tender strides in the endless journey of learning how to make perfume.
I appreciate all of the memories that are connected to scent. Creating perfume has a certain amount of responsibility. You don’t just wear perfume. You imprint upon it. You anchor it to a specific time, place, and setting. You also imprint upon the fragrance of others. You may remember a person solely by the smell of their fragrance. There are many artforms for taste, sight, and hearing. Perfumery is the only one exclusively for the sense of smell.
Fragrances are the essence of connection, they cannot exist in a vacuum. If you hate it, it’s a connection you create with it. If you love it, it’s in relation to some other preference.
On Wax Poetic:
Poetry has a certain ineffable quality that is shared with perfume. It is a creative outlet that can be described and categorized, but never contained. Wax Poetic is my ultimate passion project, a brand with the premise of intersecting perfume and poetry. The debut collection features three fragrances and poems that have been created around one another. The process was very recursive, each fragrance shaped its poem and the poems guided the perfume’s revisions. Both poetry and perfume share archetypes. Ember plays with archetypes on both levels- as a poem it addresses the renewal of a wheat field after being burnt in the spring- the archetype of rebirth. As a perfume it addresses the fougère, a fragrant archetype rich with tradition and history.
Ember is herbaceous yet with hints of grain and soft smoke. Fruition’s name developed from the poem’s narrative of strength and resilience despite doubt. Fruition plays with the fragrant intersection of florals with gourmand notes. Geranium and plum are at the heart of the bouquet, representing the fruits of labor. Flight is about leaving what (and who) needs to be left. The scent grabs your attention, an uplifting green floralcy that is cool yet refined. Flight is foremostly about self-respect, and emulating it in a scent took a great amount of revision.
On independent perfumery:
The greater interest in niche and artisan perfumery is starting a more widespread renaissance of the art. Though it will never be mainstream, there is still much more potential growth. There is a greater amount of variety with independent perfumer houses. There is greater creative risk. I know quite a few people will not “get” Wax Poetic or appreciate what makes it unique, but that just means it’s not for them. That is the essence of being a niche in the market. I think the challenge for independent perfumery is finding enough of an audience that fits the niche. Consumers being more interested in independent perfume over mainstream brands means that there are more audience members for the niche perfumeries. The greater appreciation of artisan fragrance benefits all independent perfumers.