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Review of Demeter Fragrance Library's spiritual scents

Updated on June 9, 2016

Scent is our most primitive way of connecting: our olfactory (scent receptors) system goes directly to the brain's limbic center, where emotions are formed. Not only does scent play a critical role in attracting a mate, but it also has been a way that we connect with a higher power since the dawn of time. Man has used flower offerings, incense, herbs and oils to send messages of prayer through the ether -- and still does. Scent evokes memory in everything we do and who we are. Demeter Fragrance Library is the hip company that steps outside the box with their vast catalogue. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!

The only two things we can be sure of: life and death. Their Parsley fragrance, available in a number of sizes and formats, including body care, is one of the most ancient significations of renewal, life, food, spring. Parsley is one of the foods on the Jewish Passover seder plate, denoting all of those things. Seder is also said to have been the "Last Supper" that Jesus attended. Demeter points out that parsley was used by the Greeks to adorn successful athletic competitors. I detected an initial fresh, green note, which dried down to a more toasted, sophisticated layer.

As they say, all good things must come to an end. One of Demeter's most press buzzworthy creations is Funeral Home. They describe it as, "a blend of classic white flowers: lilies, carnations, gladiolus, chrysanthemums with stems and leaves, with a hint of mahogany and oriental carpet." I definitely detected notes of wood paneling, freshly cleaned carpeting, a non-romantic scent.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." There's nothing more basic, more elemental than Dirt. This is considered the company's most "emblematic" scent, modeled after the soil of the founder's Pennsylvania farm mixed with last season's corn stalks. There's a freshness, a tiny touch of sweetness and complexity of many plants and organisms. It's compelling!

Picture a cemetery in the rain, the Garden of Gethsemane, regrowth after death. That's Wet Garden in a nutshell! This scent is meant to bring to mind Easter, which in itself denotes death and resurrection. There's grass and blown flowers, leaves and green particles.

The company also has more esoteric scents. Incense is a very stylish scent, with resinous copal and sweet amber notes. I also detected light wood notes. It's definitely not too smoky or "hippie-like" to wear to work. It would be great for all genders, in all settings.

Frankincense is mentioned in the Old Testament as part of Temple offerings and of course, famous in the New Testament as one of the gifts that the Maji gave to the baby Jesus. This scent is woody and sweet. This warm fragrance may suit some people for daytime, but definitely is sexy enough for nighttime.

Holy Smoke is Demeter's interpretation of the granulated resin from the terebinth tree family that is used in Catholic church services. In ancient times, it was also used in Jewish temple rites. I detected light, sharp white pepper notes, deep and funky resin, overhanging smoke. This is a more unusual scent, statement making and gender neutral.

Holy Water is a complex and different scent. Demeter wants you to imagine an old European church off the beaten track. Ozone plus a bit of funk in water, with faint wood and old, a touch of dust and wet stone were among the notes I detected. This is a more provocative than "pretty" scent, for confident people wanting to stand out.

5 stars for Demeter Fragrance Library


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