The Scented Room by Barbara Milo Ohrbach, originally published in 1986.  I’d never heard of it but was thrilled to come across a copy in my local used bookstore.  It’s always fun to expect nothing and discover something special.

There are so many benefits to scenting a room.  I believe a successfully scented room should feel clean, welcoming, and reinforces the function of a space.  The Scented Room is mostly about how to use fresh and dried flowers for fragrance and decor.  The book has great details on how to make potpourri, pomanders, tussie mussies* ( I never heard of those either) and the best ways to grow, gather and dry your own herbs and flowers.

There is some information on essential oils in the book but it’s dated.  The author mentions two types of essential oils, natural and synthetic.  Aside from that, essential oils are featured to be used on their own as well as to extend and strengthen recipes for potpourri, pomanders, and sachets.  One tip I’d never thought of was applying essential oil to a cotton ball and wiping down the sides of wood drawers.  If you’re interested in flower arranging there’s lots of helpful information on that as well.

Taking a look at the resource section I got a little misty-eyed remembering pre-chain store NYC.  Before they closed in 2010 (I think) one of my favorite places to pick up ingredients was Aphrodisia on Bleecker St.  All the dried herbs and flowers were arranged in big wooden bins in the back.  Up front were the herbs and spices used for cooking, and in the middle of the shop were the essential oils and natural beauty raw materials.

I’m always on the lookout for old books on perfume and fragrance.  What are your best fragrant book finds?
The Scented Room is available on Amazon if you’d like to source a copy.

*A type of bouquet that incorporates herbs and flowers inserted into a neat paper doily base.
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