I grow rosemary. I love the small blue flowers, the grey-green evergreen foliage that resembles needles. But most of all, I love the scent of rosemary. Freshly picked and minced, rosemary adds fragrance and complexity to so many dishes. In ancient Greece, rosemary was thought to improve the mind and memory, a belief later supported by some modern studies of aromatherapy. It later came to signify remembrance: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” Ophelia, in Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5. Rosemary was also carried in a bride’s bouquet or worn in a bridal wreath as a sign of fidelity. All in all, an herb and fragrance with many meanings and nuances. Some lovely quotes about rosemary, and its uses, can be found at the blog The Herb Gardener. Even more detailed information about its varieties and culture is at Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.
Coincidentally, a fragrance that currently fascinates me also has rosemary among its notes: Diorissimo. I used to wear it many years ago, in the 1980s. Diorissimo is another scent that seems to send the perfume blogosphere into orbit — not because people hate it but because they mourn its reformulation. I loved it because of its strong lily-of-the-valley fragrance, another favorite scent and plant of mine. (I grew my own to carry in my bridal bouquet and for my husband’s boutonniere). I hadn’t realized Diorissimo also has notes of rosemary until I did a search for rosemary-inflected perfumes on Fragrantica.com. Another surprise? It appears in Hermes’ Un Jardin Sur le Toit, which I am lucky enough to have received as a gift but haven’t tried yet! Can’t wait, as I have loved the other Jardin perfumes. Tomorrow, perhaps?
Rosemary may be having a cultural “moment.” The most recent catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a gorgeous rosemary necklace with patinated metal “leaves” dangling from freshwater pearls. The jewelry maker is Michael Michaud, and his company makes a whole line of rosemary jewelry. I plan to enjoy this moment while it lasts! And maybe I’ll even try today’s Diorissimo.
Photo: Auntie Dogma’s Garden Spot.