The Essence of Jerusalem is a non-fiction book about the historical scentscape of Jerusalem from ancient to modern times. Charting Jerusalem’s aromatic history shows its cultural and pluralistic essence, revealing a city that is more deeply interwoven and richer than portrayed by today's binary politics. It asks us, what does peace smell like?
At Lovorika, we have created a fragrance called Jerusalem. The Essence of Jerusalem is the extension of that story.
We know the persona of Jerusalem, the ephemeral mask changing with each new storyteller. We have projected our divine and our diabolical selves onto her. She has become a mysterious phantom, haunting and inspiring us for millennia. But who is she really? Without all the politics, without all the media sensation, at the core who is Jerusalem?
Many of her lovers have done a brilliant job in telling her story already. But after spending time with her, I feel compelled to tell it a different way.
It can be argued that the beauty of Jerusalem is why it’s become such a contentious city. Many have fought for her affection. Many believe she is theirs and theirs alone - and have gone to war to win her over. But she is not a trophy to be won.
She doesn’t want us to fight for her. She’s not interested in our notions of righteousness. She doesn’t care how many followers we bring to her door. She wants one thing only - what we all want: to be loved for who she is.
Her true self is rich in flowers, fruits, resins, leaves and spices which have been borne of her and brought to her. She is pheromonal, secreting an irresistible nectar. Her landscape is pungent with the musk of blood and sweat. Every balmy crevice zings. Each ambrosial strand tangs. Her fruits allure and her flowers hum. Together they blend into an aromatic impression that tells her story.
It is one of mystical balsam and majestic cedar in the time of King David and King Solomon; the allegories of the Odours of Sanctity and the Holy Stench told by the Church; and the delectable spices and incense brought to her by handsome Arab paramours.
Jerusalem, a city beloved and misunderstood by the saints and the sinners alike, has an olfactory fingerprint. Her scentscape is rich in archaeological memories. Rulers come and go, empires rise and fall, wars are waged, and power shifts. Epochs change but the cultural continuity of aroma remains.
About the author:
Daphna Rowe is the Founder and Nose of Lovorika, an ethical fragrance house; has an MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol with a focus on political psychology and the Middle East; is certified in Aromatherapy, and has studied the ancient art of natural perfumery and incense making.
She speaks on eco-conscious panels about sustainable beauty and is working with Baroness Bennett in the House of Lords advocating for better transparency on beauty labels. She has also written numerous articles on political and social issues that promote conflict resolution and a kinder world.
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