Fragrance | Scensorium

Since 2010 I have been making, writing about and spreading the word generally about scent, specifically in context of art. I published the book Nose Dive in the Fall of 2019, and it is a Perfumed Plume finalist for book of the year. The book has been deemed a must read by indie veteran perfumers, and industry experts alike. I am humbled that it has been read throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Ethiopia.

I had my first workshop with Mandy Aftel, where I have since returned and was trained in her method in 2019 to teach natural perfumery. Otherwise I have since been completely self taught. I shared my scent project at the Institute of Art & Olfaction’s AIX Scent Fair at the Hammer Museum in 2016, and this fragrance was reviewed and enjoyed by Luca Turin. In 2018 I gave a workshop to artists on how to use scent in their art practice, and have worked with businesses on various scent projects. In 2019 I was on a panel on American Perfumery at the Exscence Festival in Milan, Italy. I give talks and hold workshops with design professionals and community organizations, and am a presenter for Portland Design Week 2020.

In 2017 I received the Perfumed Plume Award for writing about the use of scent as an art medium, and was nominated again in 2018 for an essay I wrote about the issues of copyright in fragrance, and the need for radical knowledge sharing in this art practice. My approach to scent is unique in that I am interested in asking questions about major assumptions we as Westerners bring to the table about scent, and I see scent as a tool, not a product per say. I do collaborations with other artists, and non-artists, all with the intention of bringing new perspectives to scent making and consumption.

On Forgetting | Filling the Flask, perfumer - Catherine Haley Epstein, box by Rory Sparks, photo by Ann Ploeger

On Forgetting | Filling the Flask, perfumer – Catherine Haley Epstein

Pictured on this page:

In 2010 I began creating artwork around the theme of Psyche’s journey where she encounters four seemingly impossible tasks, all in an effort to reunite with Eros. For the third task she is asked to fill a flask from the rushing waters of the River Styx. The river and waters have many meanings, one of which is the waters of forgetfulness. It is in this context that the idea was born to create fragrances, fill a flask, that would help to erase some of the nuisance and noise of the past to create clarity and room for living in the present.

The fragrances all carry the thread of the woods, and the use of a burn to alleviate the burdens of the past. As you move through the woods and get deeper, the forest becomes even mossier and more burn is required. The four fragrances are a journey where each is more warm than the previous, culminating with a giant bonfire of burnt seashells, amber fossils and cedar. Envisioned as a set that would be at the ready in any well equipped medicine chest, the fragrances resided as such over the course of the exhibition in an imaginary person’s medicine cabinet – the audience was encouraged to try on the fragrance which best suited their time for forgetting.

The four fragrances are:

Forget Last Night
Forget 5 Years Ago
Forget 10 Years Ago
Forget 20 Years Ago

Catherine Haley Epstein, “On Forgetting | Filling the Flask”, installation image,

All fragrances are available to sample. Please contact me if you are interested.

Or please head over to my shop for purchasing inquiries. Thank you!

In 2020 I proudly signed the Perfumery Code of Ethics, an initiative to bring more awareness to integrity and creativity of the art of perfume and scent creation.