Happy Thanksgiving to all!
We are pleased to introduce Katrina, a multi-talented young woman who has joined our team. She will be blogging for Possets as well as assisting in other areas. Not only does Katrina have a deep passion for perfume, she is an accomplished writer and a touring musician. We are very happy to have Katrina aboard.
Greetings, dear readers. My name is Katrina and I’m the newest member of the Possets team, here to put the words to the scents, and to gush about all things perfume. I can’t tell you how giddy I am to be here. I can, however, tell you a little about how it came to be.
Growing up, I saw perfume as a distant luxury, untouchable like a pearl necklace. I learned from my mother to protect my nice things. She never really had any perfume, but if she did I expect she would have kept it in its neat box, guarded from daily use. I, too, was always frugal with my fancy things—and for me as a kid that meant Bonne Bell Lip Smacker chapsticks. I’d save my favorite tubes of this ’90s staple for special occasions because I was too afraid to use them up. Similarly, when I visited Fragonard perfumery during my high school French class trip to Paris, I cherished my golden bottle of the feminine and floral Ile D’Amour so much that I barely used it. When my interest in perfume was recently ignited, I returned to the bottle only to find that a portion of it had evaporated. I decided that from that moment forward I would indulge in the ceremony of perfume regularly and liberally.
Before I became interested enough to check in on my fancy French souvenir, I found myself reading the book “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins. The novel is a gritty, lively exploration of three competing perfumers and their passion for scent, as well as two lovers in Ancient Eurasia on the hunt for immortality. The book spawned my interest in the behind-the-scenes elements of perfume. I was struck by the wild devotion of the of the characters’ passion. One perfumer in particular, Priscilla, works as a waitress only to afford her expensive oils for her perfumes which she then mixes passionately late into the night in her tiny, messy apartment. The mad-scientist aspect of the process was appealing to me.
At the same time, another angle of the perfume world was working its way into my mind. In my mid-20s (speaking as someone who is freshly 28) I found myself spending a lot more time in the woods and being enriched by every minute under the canopy of trees. I grew more perceptive to the scents I found in nature, and began to make the connection between the smells and the plants and substances that they came from. Nature itself is so magical to me, and the idea that a person can forage bits of these ethereal woods and bottle them into pocket-sized vessels of scents is amazing.
My current personal perfume goal is to learn to forage my own plants for the distillation of my own oils. Along the way I plan to learn everything that I can about perfume. And no matter how many books I read, there are some things that can only be learned and realized from interactions with a like-minded person.
This is where Possets comes into the story. I moved to Cincinnati this past July. The city itself was full of hot, passionate summer scents—simmering sidewalks, street vendors, swimming pools, hot grass. Something told me that this city, with its history and its beautiful architecture and its lively art scene, was bound to have its own perfumer. A quick internet search lead me to Possets, and a brief email exchange had me sitting across the table from Jennie in a tea shop in the east side of Cincinnati.
Meeting strangers isn’t usually the most effortless task for me. As with many people, I get nervous and wonder about what to say and worry about how I’m being perceived. But my coffee date with Jennie wasn’t like this at all. She was immediately warm, kind, interested, and excited to tell me about her recently inherited business. We talked for a few hours, about perfume and about other things. She told me all about Fabienne and the wonderful influence she had and continues to have on people all over the world, both with her scents and her amicable personality. Before I left, Jennie handed me a few Possets samples and we made plans for me to meet her husband Tom and to see the space where the perfume magic happens.
A few weeks and one equally warm lunch date with Tom and Jennie later, I found myself standing in an understated room filled with good vibes and good smells. Tom was opening the cabinets that held the library of scents and oils that Fabienne had been building for so many years. He pulled bottle after bottle—Oud, Honeysuckle, Sandalwood, Amber, Black Pepper, Neroli—and we sniffed and discussed our impressions. We were like giddy kids discovering candy for the first time.
In fact, I imagine that learning about all of the oils and their stories feels similar to if I were to have eaten nothing but protein shakes all my life and were discovering vegetables, fruits, and grains for the first time. There are so many possibilities, and so many different stories and symphonies of scent that can be concocted, and still so many amazing Possets scents already there to sniff and explore. It’s like waking up to a whole new dimension. It’s obvious that Jennie and Tom are equally inspired by and dedicated to this world of scent. I’ve seen the way they discuss their line of perfumes—Possets is in excellent, caring hands.
As for me, I couldn’t be happier to have found a couple of people who are equally interested in discussing how cool it is that, for instance, the sticky essence of labdanum was originally collected from the beards of goats who had been grazing on the cistus shrubs. (Neat, huh?) I’m so excited to be here learning and gushing with every reader who shares the same perfume obsession as we do. For now, I’m off to smell more of these Possets samples that Tom passed along…