In Spring 2019, baker and essayist Pooja Makhijani collaborated with Litrahb Perfumery on a multi-sensory project that brought our favourite ingredients, Rose and Cardamom, together.
Pooja and I know one another since we were introduced by a mutual Sindhi artist-friend in 2015. At the time she lived in Singapore, while I was in and out of the city as I was an art critic still very much a part of the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene. We were supposed to meet for the first time at the National Gallery of Singapore early 2016, but Pooja couldn't make it - as it turns out, we still haven't had a chance to meet but we are plenty familiar with each other's work.
For our project, Pooja in New Jersey, and myself, in Pune, had several conversations around fragrance materials, and the best possible edible pairing.
The result: A 100% natural rose-cardamom solid perfume - The sharp notes of Rose Absolute against the green citrus notes of cardamom, smoothed by the creaminess of sandalwood and ‘mitti’ (earth, the smell of soil after the first monsoon-rains).
I sourced brass boxes traditionally used for storing vermilion powder from Rajasthan and had them gold plated. I also sourced some cotton-silk and silk brocade materials to create hand stitched pouches for each perfume. We produced only 15 solid perfumes which sold out in 30 minutes! To my delight, the new Patrons were all women in the field of art and literature.
Once Pooja received my parcel of perfumes - and could finally smell them, she created Rose and Cardamom Sables Diamant to match the fragrance and flavour notes. The combination of cookies and perfume were such a triumph, she ended up featuring the recipe in her latest cookbook 'Labor of Loaf'. More of Pooja's work can be found here
What Patrons say about Rose Cardamom:
I’d never tried solid perfume before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now I can’t get enough of it! Earthy and herbal and subtle, it sets a whole mood. It’s aromatic rather than sweet, but not musk-y. I feel fresh and fragrant. I love when people sniff me and then try and guess the scent. They never can because it’s like nothing they’ve ever experienced before. But they know they love...and I do too! - Deesha Philyaw, Author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, USA
If romantic love has a scent, it's an old garden rose. I grow heritage roses in my garden and they are so potent that one cut blossom can fill a whole room with scent. Unlike insipidly sweet, overbred tea roses, old garden roses are strong, sharp and spicy, too. This perfume captures those flowers, the kind of tough climber that blooms only once a year and insistently fills your garden with the heady, spicy, sweet scent of true love. -Maia Rossini, USA
The limited edition rose and cardamon perfume I received was beautifully packaged with personal attention and well exceeded my expectations. The scent is complex, luxurious and multilayered. It lasts all day and remains as beautiful and delicate. I have received so many compliments on it! I look forward to trying the other perfumes in the collection! Elena LaDue, USA