Explore New Orleans

Scent of a City

A centuries-old fragrance lingers on in a modern-day New Orleans.

The earthy, dry notes of vetiver are a scent long associated with New Orleans. Brought here from the East Indies, the grass was a popular addition to Creole ladies’ linen closets while doubling as an extremely effective way of fortifying the levees thanks to its deep and fragrant roots. Local maker Kathleen Currie has bottled that aroma, creating her Smoke line of perfume oils in 2010. Available in a roll-on applicator, a candle and a salt scrub, the most unique way to experience the vetiver mix is with the terra cotta diffuser necklace. The porous clay soaks up the scent and releases it throughout the day. The perfume is available in either a 9ml vessel—packaged in a box made from reclaimed local wood—or a 1ml sampler size. All four products can be found at Defend New Orleans, Söpö and West Elm.