Some things are sent to try us in the department of open-mindedness and forbearance. The blurb for Therapeutate —awkward neologism, btw— blithely describes the company’s botanical products as the “grass-fed option to other brands filled with petrochemicals and animal-by-products”, which would be laughable if it wasn’t sad. What is wrong with petrochemicals that isn’t also wrong with plants? If nature knows best, how come smallpox and hemlock? What animal byproducts? Does the whale care whether her vomit ends up on someone’s wrist? Should cetaceans get a percentage? Dig a little deeper and you find a profile of perfumer Rodney Hughes that predictably ticks all the magical-thinking airhead boxes imaginable, from reiki to aromatherapy, Egyptians (always handy) etc. It even ventures into fantasy historical linguistics, claiming that the word essence (derived from essere, to be) is related to the Essenes, one heck of a stretch and twist.
But…. but…the fragrances are lovely, damn it all. Some have that brown cast of natural perfumery that reminds me of Georges Braque, which I find monotonous. But four out of the seven perfumes Rodney Hughes sent me smell really good, a very impressive score for botanicals. And not just good, but rich, complex, balanced, distinctive compositions made with hella good materials. Taosi is a lovely citrus-woody; Cardamom Rose hits a powdery soft spot I don’t remember encountering before with its lovely heart of patchouli-scented Petit-Beurre. There is an element of Le Labo-style misdirection in the materials lists. Osirius, for example, starts with a huge, whistling galbanum note not mentioned among the ingredients, before settling down to a plush floral. And Exotic Flower is one of the nicest all-out ambers I remember smelling, devastatingly sweet yet light and fluffy like the best galaktoboureko. Give this man petrochemicals!
Categories: niche houses