I’ve known the gentle-spirited Aquarian Rodney Hughes for a number of years but only recently have I had the opportunity to really sit a spell and enjoy lengthy conversation with him. We’ve tried to coordinate our schedules for some time now so that he might introduce his line of aroma-therapeutic fragrances, Therapeutaté to me in his fragrance studio, the genesis of the magic.
As we descended the stairs to the basement laboratory, I was struck by the desire for deep inhalation, I longed to fully absorb the lovely aromas wafting from below and was elated that I actually perceived them. Formerly anosmic, I savor scent. Post life-saving surgery for a cerebral aneurysm, I lost then gradually regained my sense of smell, though its acuity wavers from time-to-time. Unwavering, however is the intensely evocative nature of fragrance. Scent memory is powerful, from the mother whose breasts cry milky tears at the whiff of her baby’s blanket to the elation I felt on a sweltering day when a group of boys who’d been playing ball–hard–walked by and it all came back to me, the stench of sweat a welcome return to olfaction.
In an afternoon of beautiful discussion about the primal importance of the olfactory sense; the therapeutic power of plant essences, the wonders of Mandy Aftel and the varied paths –both planned and surprising– we find ourselves on in our life’s journey, I felt peaceful and contemplative before we even got around to sampling the gorgeously blended, healing fragrances of Therapeutaté (an ancient ascetic healing order.)
Reiki practitioner Rodney has felt the call to healing from childhood (his initial inclination was toward the clergy) and has studied myriad routes toward that end. An avid student/researcher of history, he embraced the ancients’ belief in the medicinal properties of botanicals, their efficacy extending beyond the physical being to the spiritual self as well. The age-old tradition of incense-burning across many differing spiritual practices attests to this belief.
During the course of many years of overseas travel, Rodney began utilizing the essential oils of Lemon and Rosemary to combat the perils of his growing intolerance for in-flight recycled air. He soon began creating personal blends for his Reiki clients to supplement their attunements and was then urged by a friend to create a line to sell at retail. Immersing himself in every book and article on the subject of aromatherapy that he could find, he developed a line within six months. He further stoked his aromatic passion by pursuing formal studies in aromatherapy and now Therapeutaté has expanded to 3 lines: Pure Essene Oil Therapy™, Parfum au Natural™ and Rx remedies.
I’d read about his Vert 9 on the wonderful men’s fragrance blog, Fragrant Moments, and was curious about that one. I see why blogger Barney Bishop fell for it. In its pure Essene oil therapy myst form, it is light, refreshing, a crisp breeze through verdant hills. The natural parfum iteration is earthier, with a woody, masculine feel that would be absolutely appealing on a man but also intriguing on a woman.
I am wildly enamored of the smoky blend of Vetiver, Citrus and Lavender that is Aur Kasdeem (Light of the Magician) a grounding fragrance purportedly good for use in high stress environments. I believe that it is, as some recent stresses have been abated by a calming inhalation of this divine concoction.
The Hierodulai oil therapy has a balancing effect on the divine feminine, the name a nod to the sacred women of antiquity. As he sometimes does, Rodney has expanded on this fragrance to create a more complex version. HD Extrême Reserve, in the natural perfume line is beautiful, sweet but not cloying. It immediately evokes in me memories of women I’ve loved and lost, my grandmother, a favorite aunt, strong women. A continuum of womanness. It is intentionally symphonic, strongly inspired by a 1957 Miles Davis soundtrack to director Louis Malle’s Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud.
Another popular scent, 775 Through the Smoke Reserve from the Haute Parfum au Natural line was deepened by the addition of a “stinky” note. “Can’t be afraid of the funk,” Rodney says. What might be considered a malodorous element singularly can round out a fragrance synergistically. By bringing in da funk, he created the sensual, intoxicating Extrême version that I love: a magic potion of fruit and flower, root and wood.
What is becoming a must-have for me is the Travel Set from Rx remedies, plant essences blended with botanical alcohol and distilled water for spraying. Consisting of the Jet Set Atomizer with its antibiotic, anti-infectious properties (not to be applied on the skin as it contains oils of Thyme and Oregano) and Purifying Myst to refresh and enliven the air, cleanse crystals and consecrate your space with essences of sage, rose and a hint of citrus.
It is a magnificent treat to be able to visit the studio for a personal fragrance tour, but if time or distance prevents that, the fragrances are available online at the Therapeutaté Etsy shop.
The master at work in the fragrance lab.
An awesome addendum:
In a moment of synchronicity, just before I touched the “publish” button to send this post into the blogosphere, I received word of a new limited edition Therapeutaté fragrance. When I snapped the pics above, I didn’t realize that Rodney was working on what would become une rose pour Sharon. I can’t wait to try it. A bespoke fragrance. For me. I’m honored. Wow!