PaperCity Magazine

November 2018- Houston

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52 Aphrodisiac aromas of old lipstick, cognac, incense, and leather fl aunt their powers. Red currant, coriander, plum, rose absolute, and jasmine pair like Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Notes of oakmoss, benzoin, civet, and musk puddle on the fl oor like a sheer evening gown after a night of riffraff. Dancing with Don Juan, chimeras ready to be borne and burned, thick streams of honey collected from hives and paired with giddy notes of beeswax absolute to perform sensory ballet. An aromatic dance upon ancient polished parquet fl oors, its varnished vapor evoked by sandalwood and styrax resins. Colby Goetschius test-burns winter's candles, allegorical scents, aromatic wood blocks, burning papers, and unguents. We're obsessed. WAX SCENTS OF SALVATION Santa Maria Novella Carta D'Armenia Burning Paper and Potpourri These two holy offerings come from the oldest apothecary in Western civilization, Offi cina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Housed in an adjoining cloister of its namesake church, the Santa Maria Novella pharmacy has been cultivating herbal remedies and dispensing balms, ointments, and perfumes since the Dominican friars arrived in Florence at the beginning of the 13th century. The fragrances of Santa Maria Novella are as storied as the Gothic and Early Renaissance frescoes that line the basilica, most derived from historic commissions that date back to the very first, Acqua Della Regina (Water of the Queen), which was created by edict of Catherine de Medici in the 16th century. Potpourri is one of Santa Maria Novella's signature preparations, rooted in monastic tradition as much as (quite literally) in the church garden, where the fl ora used in this 400-year-old preparation is cultivated. This mix of native grasses, resins, and berries is fermented in terra-cotta pots under the Florentine sun for three years — the same process monks used 400 years ago — before it is ready to scent the home and body. When not turning heads with its essence, I enjoy the rustic refi nement of potpourri around the house in one of Santa Maria Novella's silken sachets or punctured bags that hide b e n e a t h sofas, and d e e p i n the closet. NOSTALGIC Potpourri also comes in three sizes of terra-cotta pots, perfectly ordained objets for crowning a stack of books on the coffee table and scenting holy gatherings (or wine nights!) Santa Maria Novella's Armenian burning paper is just as effective remedying the bad smells of modern life as it was combating whiffs of bubonic plague. When folded into an accordion and lit, these little shreds of heaven emit a slow, smoldering aroma of frankincense and myrrh that tames pet odors and exhausts cooking smells to create a romantic sensory advent at home. The size of a pack of gum (if you can recall the '90s), the Armenian burning papers travel well, scenting your bags along the adventure. Santa Maria Novella Carta D'Armenia Burning Paper $28, potpourri $36 to $95, at Kuhl-Linscomb, Longoria Collection. Cul de Sac Japan Hiba Wood Blocks & Oil and Wild Incense Spray The Aomori Hiba is one of the most unique trees in the world. This cypress- like species of Hinoki is slowly tempered by the rough mountainous climate of Japan's northernmost prefectures, reaching full maturity after 300 years of cold and darkness. Due to the aging process, the hiba tree's relative scarcity, and its naturally rot- and mold-resistant properties, the wood has been valued by the Japanese culture as a precious building material for Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples for centuries. Cul de Sac has developed a way to vapor-extract the essential oil from waste lumber harvested from 250-year-old hiba trees and harness its active compound, Hinokitiol, to bring a bit of Japan's sacred aromatic wood home. Hiba Blocks & Oil can be combined to scent rooms and even fl oat in the bath for a restorative night at home. Naturally antimicrobial, germicidal, and deterrent to insects such as moths and mosquitoes, Wild Incense Spray is a secret TONY SOLIS

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