In 2013, husband and wife team Kevin Peterson and Jane Larson formed Detroit-based Sfumato Fragrances to provide scents that emphasize subtlety and complexity using entirely natural materials. Kevin is the nose of the company, engaging the olfactory skills he developed studying culinary arts to blend each composition. Jane is the eyes using her background in art and design to conceive the brand’s visual aesthetic. Their hand-blended scents combine individual ingredients, or “notes”, each with different evaporation rates, to produce a fragrance that evolves as it unfolds in time. The top notes evaporate quickly and are smelled first. The mid and base notes follow more subtly in time.
There are two beautiful ideas we constantly in search of: harmony and resonance. Resonance occurs when two objects share the same natural frequency, they are literally on the same wavelength. Harmony is interesting interplay between vibrations, whether they are musical, aromatic, or otherwise. Sfumato is a search for harmonies between fragrance notes, especially the unexpected ones, and also harmonies that unfold in time. It’s a search for resonance, finding scents that resonate with us, with each other, and ideas that resonate and create a beautiful symphony all based around fragrance.
THE SCIENCE OF SCENT
The science of scent remains an unsolved mystery. Biology, physics, psychology and philosophy all have roles in Sfumato’s scents unfolding with life, from the plants that turn dirt and sunlight into heavenly aromas, to the random walk a molecule takes on its journey to your nose, and the way your brain interprets these scents to the thoughts they inspire, to explore these questions is why we exist.
Natural components give a much more subtle, complex, and interesting product than what is typically available at a department store. Sfumato's preference for natural materials is more than just scent-driven, it is philosophical. Their natural ingredients have been in use for millennia (e.g. frankincense, jasmine), and because olfaction is tied to memory. In many strange ways, breathing in their scents is like a time bomb from pre-history, wafted and whiffed for untold generations, with a shock wave resonating across ten thousand years and a terminal node in your nostrils. Don’t you want to inhale a 10,000 year shockwave?