Spells and Confessions of a Perfume Witch

When you hear the term “witch”, either one of three images appear in your mind: a hunched silhouette stooped over a brew of potions and herbs, a gypsy adorned with a headscarf and hoop earrings gazing mystically into her crystal ball, or, perhaps, it’s the occult fashion of the goth girls from “The Craft”.

Self-proclaimed ‘perfume witch’ Elisabeth Schaduw, radiates a different kind of light, viewing nature as the ultimate teacher and healer. As someone who has found affinity with the earth, plants, and flowers, she makes her perfumes with a variety of liquids and self-distilled oils. Since graduating from prestigious perfume school, ‘Grass Institute of Perfume’ in the French Riviera, she diverted from the more traditional perfume methods, experimenting with the sensory power of scent in memory.

perfume witch

People tend to underestimate the power of scent. People are twice as likely to recall a memory when it’s associated with an odor, according to research by The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. When asked what her most powerful scent memory was, she immediately gets transported back to her childhood, replying “definitely my grandma’s Indonesian cooking. I can still remember all the smells of her herbs and spices…” She channels the healing element of scent into her project, ‘Stories and Confessions’, transforming people’s confessions into a customized scent as a form of therapy for her clients.

Film maker, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is a Lesotho/South African director, writer and cinematographer, based in Berlin, whose feature film “Mother, I am suffocating” screened at the Berlin Biennale this year. Together with sustainable clothing brand, The Black Market, premiers the second episode of their docu-series “Beyond Club Culture,” as he states, “I am a storyteller. Sharing people’s stories from behind the lens is what I do.” With religious cinematic imagery you’d expect to find in a Martin Scorsese film, Elisabeth’s perfume making process is documented, as she shares the smell of the most universal pain: heartbreak.


Perfume maker: @elisabethschaduw

Filmmaker: @molimo_o_mocha_rapela_oa_khale

Interviewer: @whtnywei

Producer: @lisa.kuro

Styled by: @theblackmarkt


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