Sunday, January 15


Their beautiful names - styrax, patchouli, frangipani, amber, myrrh, geraniol, opoponax, heliotrope - and their familiar/strange aromas attracted my curiosity, and I bought over a hundred bottles. Soon I found myself actively collecting the primary materials of perfumery - in Madrid I found a crumbling apothecary's with dozens of mysteriously labeled phials; in San Francisco I discovered the strange olfactory world of Chinatown, of five spices and jasmine and ginseng; a woman I met in Ibiza gave me a minute bottle containing just one drop of an utterly heavenly material called nardo (I later came to think that this was probably spikenard oil, extracted from a shrub growing at between six and eight thousand feet on the Himalayas and used by wealthy Indian ladies as a prelude to lovemaking).

-- Brian Eno, in "Scents and Sensibilities" Details Magazine July 1992