September 21, 2011

Brooklyn Perfumers - Therapeutate/Rodney Hughes

Rodney Hughes of Therapeutate is a Brooklyn fine artist and natural perfumer, using fully natural plant essences in botanical alcohol and distilled water.  He has been very busy,  attentively calibrating a number of aromatic experiences that are warm, lush, rich, deep deep deep, and of such luxuriousness as to enter the territory of opulence.

He embroiders the details of his perfumes' top notes with jasmine, fine citruses, reiki energy, crystals and gemstones, prayers and invocations, and as you can tell from that recital, his own spirituality is highly invested in his perfumes' material essences and compositions.  This proves to be a point of view that honors the body and the sensual world as expressions of beauty that are both real and divine.

He is the perfumer behind Royal Water, which was my favorite (and in the top three favorites of all the many patch test bunnies) of the thirteen blind-tested patchouli perfumes of this past 2011 Summer of Patchouli Love. 

HD Extreme is sweet citrus, pepper, rose, geranium, spikenard, labdanum and ylang-ylang.  The mystery of the labdanum wends its way through the geranium and rose up into the top notes, yet still each element retains individuality.  There is an energetic harmony inspired by music and a development inspired by the narrative of film, as he references Miles Davis and Louis Malle. The tang of citrus is balanced by the subtle smart of pepper, the smooth rose contrasted by acrid geranium, the dry herbal earthiness of spikenard and labdanum by the moist floral ylang-ylang.  An enveloping warmth unfolds into the impression of a scented soft suede, perhaps a gloved hand holding an unlit cigar of sweet blond tobacco.

AK Extreme has an orange citrus accord paired with woods, and a smoky center, so it is both light in that it begins with the brightness of true orange and goes deep, especially as thrown into a shadowed relief by the woods' darker tones.  The perfume is aged to bring out all the nuances of the notes.  The citrus beginning holds for much longer than most, finally burning down to the woods with an autumnal  tone of burning leaves in the distance.

Chakra 2 opens with jasmine over blood orange on a base of sustainable sandalwood, and includes the tang of ginger, and again has that smoky heart wafting through it all. This smoke is the pale grey soft kind, that of burning powdered precious wood, while the sweet fragrant strength of the jasmine is maintained throughout the life of the experience.

There is good longevity in these fully natural perfumes, which is not easy to achieve without the heavy use of certain materials that tend to overwhelm others, in the resin and balsam end of the aroma spectrum. These are in the perfumes, but they are well calibrated so that the other notes show themselves with strength and delicacy too.

Rodney, in line with the name of his perfumes, has opened Institut Therapeutate in Brooklyn, with some other practitioners, offering reiki, yoga, massage, instruction in the composition of natural perfume, and spiritual mentoring. Many in the fashion and art worlds have embraced the regular practice of yoga, reiki and such other alternative means to balance the stress and demands of modern work and life. But don't think this means these perfumes are the product of an aromatherapy framework (this is not aromatherapy, though the natural elements in the perfumes will retain their beneficial nature).

Hughes did a good stiff stint in the fashion world and his fine art history background and training at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn shaped a sophisticated worldly and historical awareness. He practices the art of beauty through perfume to induce a sense harmonious balance and luxurious calm for the wearer. In this modern world with its stresses and distractions we need all that we can find that might be beneficial to the wearer in facing it every day.  Therapeutate Parfums shows  both the love of beautiful natural aromatic materials and the inspiration of music, film and the other arts in presenting perfumes to us.

There are a number of other fascinating perfumes in the line, and I intend to revisit them again on this site, because there is much more to explore.  

There are sample sets available online at the Therapeutate site and I encourage you to visit the Institut Therapeutate site online.  Make sure you have your audio on for the delightful piano piece that opens with it (Bob Acri - Sleep Away).

Above photos of Rodney Hughes and smoke from the Therapeutate site.
I received samples from Theapeutate.  This opinion is my own and not solicited or compensated.


lostpastremembered said...

I often wonder if research has been done on the calming effects of scent on us... what individual scents or perfumes can do to center us and lull us and unfrazzle us. Lovely sounding smells in the perfume.

Scent Hive said...

These sound really beautiful! I can't wait to try them, the smoky ones are particularly enticing.


Lucy said...

Lost Past, it works for me, but I like those warm deep ones. Yet another set of things I will bring for you to try next time... I think you will enjoy!

Lucy said...

Scent Hive, they are right up your alley, and I think there is a house style that uses the smoke in different ways...