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Anosmia is the inability to perceive odor. It is usually temporary (due to a trauma, for example) or permanent (very rare), or limited to one or more specific odors. Many people, for example, are anosmic to musks, which because of their molecular structure, can be hard to detect. Temporary anosmia to musk is particularly common – try to smell a musk for a long time and you’ll likely experience a temporary anosmia to the other types of musks.

This to say, I’ve been away from the blog for a while and the trend is not going to change anytime soon. Thing is, the book is taking more than expected, but I’m in the run-up to submission, and can hardly afford distractions. It is not the only reason why I’ve been absent from here though. I have become temporary anosmic. No, I can still smell – I am reminded of it every time a pass by my perfume making station, and this morning my senses were assaulted by a violent scent of honeysuckle and broom (very unusual, for an early February London morning) that make me want to brave a “dirty honeysuckle”. No, my olfaction is alive and kicking. It is my soul that has become anosmic, not permanently, I hope.

Islamic esotericists have developed an articulated physiology of the “subtle body”, in which, by way of analogy, they talk about the “eye of the heart” to refer to that subtle organ that provides the ability to perceive the spiritual realities. I like to think that, besides the “eye of the heart”, there could also be a “nose of the heart” you can smell spiritual smells with (a treatise on perfumery I am translating by Muhammad Karim Khan Qajar, a 19th century Iranian Shaykhi master seems to allude to something along these lines). If that is the case, well: the nose of my heart is somehow anosmic, or perhaps just caught a cold. Whatever that is, I am currently incapacitated to talk about perfumes, think about perfumes, sit down and blend perfumes. I’d probably need to move to a base in the Mediterranean for the nose of my heart to reopen to beauty and sway in the delight of smells again, but that too seems not to be going to happen soon. But oh, how I’d need that.