I am drawn to intersections of words and olfaction in poetry, fiction, fragrance libraries, scented pages, perfume names, social and cultural history, personal anecdotes. I enjoy the challenge of adapting smells to language. Side-by-side comparison and sniffing and chatting provide the best education for my untrained nose, whether in person or online. Sometimes I use my notes from blind sniffs and mystery vials to write about perfumes. I find these raw though flawed impressions to be honest in a sensory way: not influenced by provenance, pedigree, image, branding. I’m usually motivated to write about perfumes that I like, that intrigue me, or that link to a memorable experience. I don’t rate or review perfumes, but I certainly do opine.
The process of articulating my perceptions helps me to anchor the memory of fragrance. My perfume descriptions seem to have morphed into light-hearted (well, usually) personal chronicles with a sensory bias: perfumescapes, or perfumed postcards or perfumed letters. More often than not, I end up talking about the overall feeling, the place, the people, the encounter as much as about the scent itself. My interest in smell culture is personal and academic. I’m not connected to the industry and I don’t advertise, but I do like to post about upcoming fragrance events.
About my name:
I’m a.k.a. Cheryl K. who used to write book reviews for Now Smell This. Many, many thanks to Robin for that opportunity.
My real name is no big secret, but I don’t use it here simply to make very clear that the blog is in no way related to my job or my employer. Though I try to keep it in the bottle, occasionally a hint of my academic writing on literature and perfume culture wafts this way.
Quimby was my grandmother’s maiden–and eventually middle–name. I was always fascinated with the big, loopy “Q” in her signature, written almost like a “2” in the prescribed longhand style of her day. Very few children’s words started with a Q. The onomatopoeic quack didn’t count. I hadn’t tried quinoa or quince. Quintessence and quiddity would come much later. I longed to have the elusive letter Q in my signature, too, and made a semi-secret vow to change my name legally one day. That plan never materialized.
This and that:
- Perfumed Letters began with a brief post on August 31, 2010.
- I’m not a very frequent blogger.
- My first perfume was Oh! de London (by Yardley). I still have the bottle with a bit of spoiled fragrance remaining.
- If I were forced to have only one perfume in my collection it would have to be Chergui (Lutens). I’m pretty sure it’s a coumarin thing.
- I think of my perfume samples as a library to browse, organize, expand, revisit and share.
- Although my love of perfume borders on obsession, I’m not especially interested in make-up or cosmetics, and I’m not a good shopper.
- Seeking sparkling superlatives: I simply can’t use the word awesome–not even in its true sense any more. I’m getting ready to hit the delete button for amazing, too. I lean on terrific and wonderful in conversation, but let’s face it–neither of those is copacetic.