Syrian theologian St. Ephrem, who lived in the fourth Century, believed that Divinity has its roots in scent. “Through smell, human and divine could meet, not face-to-face as distinct realities, but intermingled in a communion of being”. In other words, Ephrem found in sensory experience some knowledge about God that could not be gained in any other way.
Since the beginning of times, many ancient scholars believed that scents were connected to the most mysterious spiritual experiences. To this end, just like communion bread, the fragrance was not a metaphorical matter but a life essence, central to the resurrection of souls in paradise.
Just like religious beliefs, scents were something invisible and ineffable but with a huge power of suggestion, crossing boundaries in time and space. People have long developed theological, medical, historical and even philosophical ideas around smell, which is a uniquely evocative human sense.
So, it is no surprise that in the contemporary world, spirituality and perfume have forged such a strong bond in people’s minds and souls. In 2008, niche fragrance provider IBI has launched what was claimed to be the first-ever “spiritual” perfume, a scent that its creators claim, has been formulated and marketed to remind wearers of…God. But beyond gimmicky marketing stunts remains the fact that spirituality and perfume have become a frequent construct of modern days.
In spring 2022, Paris witnessed the birth of a new brand, Spiritum, founded by Jonathan Dufour, an up-and-coming young creator, passionate about esoterism and, pardon my irony, all “things” spirituality.
Meeting Jonathan is a spiritual experience in itself. His warm and kind nature signals a very special kind of empathy which is only surpassed by his competence in the world of perfumery. He founded his new brand after returning from a spiritual retreat he made in Peru, in February 2020. This providential trip revealed to him the wonders of a timeless connection between body, soul, spirit and perfume.
The Peruvian shamanic rituals involve many scents mingled with raw materials aiming to restore the original intrinsic relationship between spirit and perfume. The evocative power of scents was used and sometimes even abused, in ritual ceremonies, so the real mastery is to strike the right balance of ingredients.
Numerus, the brand's first collection, is inspired by “the ancestral link between numbers, perfumes, and human behavior”. We can’t say that this link is an uncharted territory. Many perfumers have been there, trying to find inspiration in occult mysteries and the secrets of the mind.
Jonathan Dufour chose renowned perfumers Bertrand Duchaufour (with an impressive portfolio of more than 256 creations, most of them hugely successful) and Philippe Paparella-Paris (specialized in perfumery at the famous ISIPCA school in Versailles) to bring the collection to life. Together, the perfumers worked on the three main ingredients of the collection: sage, olibanum, and sandalwood.
The names of the fragrances are self-explanatory and very poetic, fitting right in the philosophy of the brand: Solar Soul, Astral Twin, Wisdom Universe, Builder of Future, The Guardian Master, Carnal Spirit, Spiritual Explorer, Mystic Warrior and Final Spirit.
With his new collection, Jonathan Dufour is playing with the concept of “scent numerology” which is inviting people to match their life path number to a specific perfume. The ancient art of numerology is based on the concept that the numerical value of your name influences areas of your personal and professional life.
The science of “scent numerology” is rather intricate and complicated to explain, so I will not get into it in this blog post. Still, the experience of finding your lucky number that can be attached to a perfume is fascinating to me. As an exercise in science and imagination, this game has a huge potential for esoteric pathways.
We can easily calculate our personal numerology number by adding the individual numbers of the day, month, and year of birth. The math calculation is simple and quite accurate. When you add everything up to a one-digit number by adding numbers, it is your personal number that, according to numerology, describes your character, sensibility, and mission on earth. How extraordinary is that… No wonder numerology is still hugely important in countries like China, India, and other such ancient civilizations.
In a world of mercantile obsessions and materialism, overconsumption, and disregard for the health of the Planet, a new brand like Spiritum is a breath of fresh air. Wearing these fragrances is like plunging into a new dimension where we are reminded of ancient practices, of connections with mother nature. The fabulous journey into Self-awareness and Spirituality has started with this collection, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Jonathan Dufour will further pull out of his magic bag of exquisite perfumery.