Today I’m Wearing: A Custom Made Soul Perfume by Ixchel Leigh

Who: Yosh Han, founder of YOSH olfactory sense. Yosh is a multi talented, power house of energy who we virtually-met recently when we participated in the Digital Scent Festival, a wonderful six week long event which she launched in conjunction with Aroma Village, to bring together the US West Coast perfume community during lockdown.

As well as being a hardworking perfume entrepreneur under her own label, Eau de Yosh, she also holds scent workshops, creates bespoke perfumery for private clients and consults for creative agencies on olfactory trends and perfume culture. She’s a pioneer of American Perfumery and helped to produce the first Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco in 2011. She’s also been a judge for  the Art and Olfaction Awards and former judge for the International Chocolate Salon.

She’s produced hundreds of fragrance and scent events, including Women and Whiskies scent pairings, scent dinners, pop-up exhibitions, scented art shows and an intriguing sounding edible scavenger hunt. We wish we’d been able to visit a scent art project Yosh did in summer 2019, in Long Beach, California, where she co-produced The Art Of Bloom, with InterTrend, Daigo Daikoku and Scent Events, a two-month long immersive pop-up exhibition combining art, technology and the senses which won a multitude of awards. We were so energised working with Yosh on the Scent Festival, she’s a real inspiration and we’re thrilled to have you meet her here too.

Today I’m wearing a custom-made soul parfum from Ixchel Leigh which she designed for me after we had a vibrational aromatherapy session. It is a very life affirming fragrance made with sacred oils; she channelled the formulation through Divine Spirit. I am really enjoying the fragrance as I feel it is transforming my energy and supporting me through some big shifts. She is incredibly gifted.

As a Reiki healer and clairvoyant, I read auras privately, remotely and on stage around the world with translators. Each of my fragrances in my eponymous collection is vibrationally attuned to chakra energy and numerology. I have read hundreds if not thousands of people’s energies over the last decade.

I am currently a Creative-in-Residence at The Battery and Creative Director for Scent Trunk, a perfume publisher of Original Edition fragrances. I consult on scent culture and mentor indie perfumers. I am also working with a coterie of Noses on a Diversity in Perfumery database with BIPOC perfumers and scent experts.

During lockdown I have mostly been wearing the June fragrance from Scent Trunk created by Exotic Island Perfumer, Juan Perez. It is a deliciously juicy, tropical beach scent inspired by Puerto Vallarta with Mexican limes, agave sugar, kumquat, pitahaya, blue curaçao, mezcal, cactus flower, sea salt, cilantro, driftwood and ambergris. I love sailing in Mexico and this instantly transports me there.

I have also been experimenting with many fragrances from various presenters from the Digital Scent Festival whom I had not had a chance to smell before like Maya Njie, Mizu Brand, Laromatica, Firn Fragrances, Cogno-scenti, Mindmarrow, SydBotanica, Flower Road and Noteology. I am having so much fun!

How I wear fragrance depends if I am meditating or just using it for pleasure. If I am doing a scented meditation, then I will dab some drops onto my palms, rub and inhale as needed while I’m in trance. If I am wearing scent for pleasure, I actually tend to spray it on the top of my wrist where a watch would be. I get whiffs throughout the day when I have to move my hair off my face or when I am on my laptop or phone.

I love the word Sentir, which in French translates as “to smell and to feel.” I truly feel, “I smell, therefore I am.”

Catherine Haley Epstein, aka Mindmarrow and founder of the Odorbet recently sent me a quote from ancient Taoist principles: “The heavenly door of self-cultivation is the nostril. Nostrils open to breathe out, and close to breathe in. The doors of the nose and mouth are a way for the primordial qi to come in from heaven and earth.” (From “History of Medicine in Chinese Culture”, Boying Ma)

This sums it up for me. Of all our six senses (I always include intuition), olfaction is the only one where in order to experience it, one must breathe. Without breathing, we are not alive. So in a way, olfaction is the most important of our senses, though it’s often overlooked and misunderstood. It connects us with our deepest emotions and intuitive self. I really feel that if we were more olfactive-centric (as opposed to occular-centric), we would be more in touch with our emotions, and also not see the colour of our skin as an issue. Though I feel, there are many who have (un)conscious smell biases and prejudices. Caro Verbeek, Jas Brooks and Anicka Yi have recently made impressions on me with their broader views on scent. I’m widening my scope on what scent means, including anosmia.

For a few years, I couldn’t smell anything! I believe it was due to some aggressive consulting assignments and a random kitchen accident. How I feel about fragrance now is that I feel so grateful to be able to smell again but I feel hyper aware of certain odours now.

My house is unscented because I had a bout of anosmia that I’m still getting over. My office is where I keep all my scents for work which helps me keep things separated. But in the past, I was a serious incense, bukhoor and oud burner.

It was raining the other day in Los Angeles where I am now and it instantly reminded me of childhood. So many people have scent memories of rain in the forest or woods but rain to me smells of LA asphalt. The other scent I have a deep connection with is the scent of a swimming pool. Some people have a serious aversion to chlorine but for me, aquatic chlorine is nostalgia and memories of summer parties, high school swim meets, and children screaming with delight. While I do the majority of my swimming now in the open ocean, sometimes that isn’t accessible to me so I’ll hit the local swimming pool or YMCA and the instant I get in that water, I feel so happy.

Photography by Tommy Ly