I'm starting a perfume column, to be hosted by Open Letters Monthly. I'm pretty excited about this. The first one is up today. Both the concept and the clever name (On the Scent) were John's ideas. I'll be both reviewing and essaying perfumes. First up I reviewed five scents from a small independent line called Sonoma Scent Studio. Two of them (Winter Woods and Tabac Aurea) were pretty much the bomb, so if you're in the market for a new fragrance, be you man, woman, or child (well, maybe not child), go read the reviews. While you're there, read Nate's poem and the interview with Cat Bourassa-Hebert, who supplied the cover image. (She also designed the cover for That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness.) Cat's answer to "How close have you been to an owl?" is shockingly awesome.
Also, I really liked this article in the New Yorker called "Scents and Sensibility." (I've often wondered why English-language journalism is so pun-dependent. Is this true everywhere?) It's a couple of years old but I just found it. The first page is worth reading if you skip the rest; the author explains how with exposure you can begin to recognize the facets of wine or perfume that seem so inaccessible at first, to the degree that you wonder if the experts are faking it with their yuzu and hay notes, etc. The point being that those notes are present, but one has to learn how to smell/taste them.